Catholic's Impossible Dream died quickly last night in Cole Field House.
The Cardinals, hoping to play a slow, deliberate game against Maryland, couldn't handle the Terrapin press and couldn't handle Albert King and Ernest Graham. The result was a 113-79 rout for the Terps.
"If you had told me before the game that he would shoot 50 percent the first half against Maryland and be down by 21, I'd say you were crazy," Catholic Coach Jack Kyancz said. "But we couldn't handle the press. I couldn't believe we had 14 turnovers the first half."
The turnovers and the inspired play of King and Graham, who finished with 28 points each, put Catholic in a 56-35 hole by halftime. The Cards cut the margin to 59-44 early in the second half but then King and Graham went back into their act and had the lead up to 40 by the time Coach Lefty Driesell removed them with seven minutes left.
"Coach just made it clear after the Brown game that he expected us to play hard whether it was Catholic or Notre Dame," said King, who entertained the crowd of 5,983 with five slam dunks and looked as if he was trying to imitate Darryl Dawkins. He just told us you can't say you're going to blow someone out. You have to go out and do it."
Driesell, who had been visibly up-set by his team's lackadaisical performance last week, was much happier last night after his team had raised its record to 4-1 with the ACC opener against Georgia Tech coming up Wednesday. CU is 2-4.
"We played like a team tonight," he said. "I hope the players know I expect them to play hard against everyone by now. We've only got 26 games, so we should play hard in every one of them."
All the Terps, apparently relieved by the end of exams, played hard last night. They outrebounded the outmanned Cardinals, 51-30, and Greg Manning added 18 points. Even John Bilney got out of Driesell's dog house long enough to play 17 minutes and score eight points and get nine rebounds.
"We killed ourselves not handling the press but they played great," Kvancz said. "I'm not an ACC coach so I can't make judgment but if they play like that the rest of the season they'll be damn good. King and Graham looked great tonight."
Kvancz got 17 points from Bill Dankos, 14 points from John Rogers and 12 apiece from Joe Colletta and Danny Murray, but it was not nearly enough to overcome the rebounding edge of the Terps and CU's 22 turnovers.
Catholic's only hope coming in was to force Maryland to play at its own pace -- slowly. But the Terrapins made certain from the outset that the Cardinals would not have that chance, pressing full court from the start and forcing the visitors into numerous errors.
Murray kept Catholic even, 6-6, during the first two minutes and three straight short jump shots.
Then the Maryland press got to the Cards, whose five consecutive turnovers led to Terps layups. Suddenly, with only five minutes played it was 16-6. Any Catholic hopes of slowing the game and keeping the Terps close were shot.
From then on, the score continued to build. Catholic made one brief run, cutting a 22-8 lead to 22-14 but then King and Graham began clicking and there was no way CU could combat the onslaught.
Many of Maryland's points came off the fast break as the Terps forced CU into 14 turnovers and got the ball off the boards. By Halftime the score had mounted to 56-35, with Maryland shooting 57 percent, and Kvancz's hopes for a miracle had vanished.