Less than an hour after Maryland University suffered a humiliating defeat by George Washington earlier this month. Steve Sheppard, the Terrapin's fiery scoring leader, had his ankle placed in a cast.
The 86-76 loss to GW dropped Maryland's record to 13-5 and cast a shadow on the remainder of the season. To further complicate matters, freshman Billy Bryant suffered a fractured wrist two games after earning a starting berth.
The Terrapins have regrouped and reeled off seven victories in their last eight games including decisions over Clemson and Wake Forest.
Maryland closes out the regular season tonight at Virginia and a Terrapin victory coupled with North Carolina and Wake Forest losses would throw the Atlantic Coast Conference race into a four-way tie for first place. The three teams, along with Clemson, would finish 8-4.
If, that were the case, coin flips would decide the seedings for the ACC tournament opening Thursday.
North Carolina (8-3) is at North Carolina State.
Maryland (19-6), getting excellent play from Mike Davis and Jo Jo Hunter, is playing the best basketball in the conference, except for North Carolina.
The 6-foot-10 Davis has begun to dominate inside, freeing Larry Gibson to become more offensive minded, Hunter's outside scoring has taken some of the pressure off point guard Brad Davis.
A triumph over Virginia (1-10) would give Maryland coach Lefty Drisell his sixth straight 20-victory season.
George Washington (14-10), the yo-yo team of the area, can win the mythlcal metropolitan college title with a victory over American tonight at Ft. Myer.
The Eagles (12-12) are coming off an 89-80 overtime loss to Farleigh-Dickinson. GW has beaten Maryland, Navy, Catholic and Georgetown for a 4-0 mark over other area schools.
Georgetown will attempt to rebound from its 74-73 heartstopper to the Colonials, hosting Manhattan tonight. The jaspers, 12-12, with victories over St. John's, South Carolina and Penn. remain in contention with Iona and Richmond for the fourth playoff spot in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference New York-New Jersey region.
The Hoyas, 18-6, are also awaiting word from the ECAC regarding the site of their confrontation with Old Dominon on Wednesday for the Southern Division title. Georgetown will be without the services of starting guard John Duren, who severely sprained his ankle in the closing minutes against GW.
Catholic (12-12) hosts State University of New York at Buffalo (4-20) in its final home game. Glen Kolonics, who holds six school records and will finish as the second leading scorer in Catholic history, is averging 22-4 points per game. The senior, along with Stan Cooper, has kept the Cardinals, competetive in their first year in Division I of the NCAA.
Catholic which ends its season Tuesday at Long Island University, has not finished .500 or better since the 1970-71 season.
Navy, 10-1 at home, can clinch its first winning season since 1972 against a strong young Army team at 3 p.m. today in Annapolis. It is their 54th annual basketball matchup. Army leads, 28-25.
The Cadets (18-7) are led by junior forward Gary Wynton, 18th in the nation with a 23-point average. He is also the squad's leading rebounder with 10.7.
The Mids (12-10) have their leading scorer in sophomore forward Kevin Sinnett, averaging 15.8 and 8.5 rebounds, backed up by center Hank Kuzma with 14.3. They end their season at home Tuesday against St. Francis, N.Y.