February stumblers Maryland and Georgetown hope to get their feet planted firmly on home ground today on a busy afternoon and evening of local college basketball.
The Terrapins bring a three-game losing streak and 3-5 Atlantic Coast Conference record to Cole Field House at 2 p.m. (WJLA-TV-7) against streaking Clemson. The Tigers are winners of six straight since being forced to change their starting lineup.
Eighteenth-ranked Georgetown halted its two-game losing streak with Wednesday's 62-60 win at St. Peter's. Tonight the Hoyas entertain Seton Hall (14-6) at 8 o'clock in McDonough Gymnasium.
In other area games, George Washington (10-10) hosts Richmond (8-12) at 8, and American (12-10) plays William and Mary (8-12) at Fort Myer at 8.
Seton Hall's attack features the nation's seventh-leading scorer, guard Nick Galis. He is shooting 57 percent and averaging 26.6 points a game.
Seton Hall has a two-game winning streak at McDonough but will be playing without defensive specialist Mare Coleman, the 6-foot-6 forward who also sets hefty picks for Galis.
While Coleman's broken hand has been mending Galis still has managed to score 26 and 28 points. Nevertheless, Seton Hall lost two of the three games Coleman has sat out.
Seton Hall has defeated Georgetown (17-4) in four of the team' last five meetings. The Hoyas broke the streak last year on the road.
Georgetown's troubles have been simultaneous with those of freshman guard Eric Floyd, who was six-for-25 from the field in the two losses. He broke out of the slump with 21 points (nine of 17) in the St. Peter's victory.
The game is important to Georgetown's hopes for a berth in the ECAC's Southern Division playoff. Southern Division rivals Old Dominion (17-4) and Virginia Commonwealth (19-3) also are in contention. Only two of the three teams will qualify. The Hoyas also need a win to keep their chances for an NCAA at-large bid.
Maryland already is preparing for the ACC tournament and needs a victory to bolster its confidence.
The Terps' streak has coincided with the woes of leading scorer Ernest Graham. He totaled 40 points on 19 of 48 shots in three losses since the upset of top-ranked Notre Dame.
Graham reportedly was asked to pass more and limit the 20-to 30-foot jumpers he had been making in earlier games. As a result, Graham was visibly hesitant and did not shoot or pass well in the last three games.
Graham made five of 12 shots and had six turnovers in the 76-67 loss to North Carolina. Later he said, "I have no excuses. I'm just playing bad."
Driesell has been imploring his club to be more patient, to pass the ball more before shooting and to get the ball into the double low post men more.
Clemson, meanwhile, has catapulted to 16-5 after stumbling on a potent lineup. When center Bill Ross came down with pneumonia, Coach Bill Foster moved big forward Larry Nance to center and inserted freshman Horance Wyatt for Nance.
"I don't really know why it works," a Clemson official said. But since the switch, Clemson's ACC record has improved to 4-4 with victories over North Carolina, North Carolina State and Wake Forest.
In their six-game winning streak, the Tigers have shot 50.4 percent and averaged 40 rebounds and 80.7 points a game. In one January stretch when they lost five of six, they shot 46.7 percent and averaged 61 points and 25.7 rebounds.
In AU's final regular season home game, senior guard Mark Garlitos has a chance to move up among the nation's top foul shooters. He also is 12 assists away from tying the school season record.
Garlitos is fourth in the nation in foul shooting, having hit 61 of 67 (91 percent), including his last 16. He has 138 assists this year. William and Mary is winless in 10 games on the road.
Howard also has a home date at 8 with North Carolina A&T, Navy plays at Penn State at 2:10 and Virginia plays Virginia Tech at Roanoke at 8 (delayed telecast on WNVT-TV-53 at 9).
GW leads the series with Richmond, 43-17, but last year beat a struggling Spider team by only six points. After last year's 4-22 season, new Coach Lou Goetz, former Duke assistant, has Richmond up to 8-12.
Richmond is led by 6-5 sophomore forward Mike Perry, averaging 18.6 points and 8.6 rebounds a game. GW looks to 6-10 center Mike Zagardo, and his 17.3 points and 9.5 rebounds a game.