The Maryland Terrapins, appearing unshaken by the dismissal of cocaptain Mike Davis, re-enter Atlantic Coast Conference competition tonight at 11th-ranked Virginia.
Maryland Athletic Director Jim Kehone gave Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell a vote of confidence yesterday after a few reports that Driesell's job was in jeoparty.
"Lefty's in no danger," said Kehoe emphatically. "You can quote me on that."
Driesell contested Davis' statement in yesterday's Washington Post in which the 6-foot-8 senior said he suspected he had become a scapegoat for the team's problems after six losses in the last eight games.
"It's not true," Driesell said. "He knows that's not right. Attitude wasn't the whole thing. I didn't make this decision on the spur of the moment. I gave it a lot of thought. Mike and I have an understanding, and that's it."
Driesell had private discussions with reserve forward Erntst Graham with guard Jo Jo Hunter Monday but would not say what they talked about. "I always talk to my players," Driesell said.
Hunter said, "he was just asking me what I thought about the team."
Graham said, "My mouthissealed."
Hunter added that "everyone has been kind of quiet," but other than that, it appeared to be business at usual at College Park.
In another important local game tonight, American University hosts. East Coast Conference opponent. St. Joseph's in a game that will probalby help determine when and where AU will compete in the East Coast playoffs.
Fourteenth-ranked Georgetown (15-2), travels to Boston College and George Mason, (7-9), is at Towson State.
At Maryland, Lawrence Boston, now the only senior and captain of the team, said "the team is all right," and declined further comment.
Judging from the team's practice yesterday, Driesell may make two changes in his starting lineup in tonight 7:30 game against the defense-minded Cavaliers, who are 4-2 in the ACC and 14-2 overall.
Driesell worked forward John Bilney and guard Billy Bryant with the first team exclusively yesterday while normal starters Boston and Hunter remained on the second unit. Boston has been in three-game slump, and Driesell usually starts whoever works on the first team in practice.
Bilney said he felt bad about Davis's dismissal. "I personally would like to see him back," said Bilney. "We really don't know why he was dropped. It seems to be something between Mike and Lefty. If there was a personality conflict, I didn't see it. I think the coach has to draw a line somewhere, as far as discipline is concerned. He has to do something to restore order .
"I don't think Mike was disrupting the team.Even if Mike was down I think it affected his own play, not ours. I talked to him and offered to do what I could, talk to coach for him, but he said he was going to talk to Lefty himself."
Driesell indefinitely suspended James (Turkey) Tillman last season and then brought him back four game later when injuries depleted the Terp's depth. But Driesell indicated yesterday that he had no plans of allowing Davis back on the team.
Asked how Davis's dismissal affected the team, Bilney said, "I don't think there will be a difference, realy. It will just hurt out depth. I found practice a little quieter. Mike used to talk a lot."
Diresell worked extensively on zone defenses during practice and indicated he may make more use of a full-court press, which he said enabled Clemson to beat Virgina.
AU, 1-0 in the ECC, will be St. Joe's first conference opponent. St. Joseph's, 8-8 overall, was picked to finish high in the ECC, and AU next faces La Salle, ECC leader at 3-0.
The game will match up the league's two best rookies, AU's 6-4 Russell (Boo) Bowers and St. Joe's 6-8 Boo Williams.
This game is very big, for many reasons," said AU assistant Alan Srebnick. "The whole key to our conference is where you're seeded in the playoffs. The first and second-place teams have byes, and the third and fourth teams play at home. So each game is crucial.
"Our kids believe they are for eal, Georgetown takes the nation's longest major college win streak (13) into tonight's game at Boston College, 127. Georgetown is ranked 11th in the United press International poll and 14th by the Associated Press.
The Eagles, who have lost to Georgetown three straight years, are led by mercuiral guard Ernie cobb, who burned Georgetown for 34 points last year and averages 22 points. Guard Derrick Jackson is George town's leading scorer, 14-1 points per game.