Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell and star forward Al King agreed that the ACC wars following an impressive display in their Holiday Invitational Tournament over the weekend at Cole Field House.
"We have a lot better team than people think," said a beaming Driesell after his team has ripped a good Temple squad, 85-63, to win the MIT for the eighth time in nine years. "We played good defense, the rebounding was excellent and we shot well. Anybody we play now better be ready for us."
King, who had two-night totals of 36 points, 15 rebounds, eight steals and five assists and was voted the tourney MVP, said, "The tourney served as a good start toward winning in the ACC. We're ready."
The Terps, now 8-1, ran their offense fairly well, played good defense and, above all, showed intensity much of the time. Driesell's best Christmas present was seeing his 6-foot-8 intimidator, Buck Williams, back on the court. Williams had been out with a broken finger.
The sophomore, voted the ACC's rookie-of-the-year last year, looked as physical as ever in his season debut. Williams had two-game totals of 28 points and 17 rebounds.
Only a total of 6,444 folks turned out to watch the Terps, who will get back to Acc business Thursday at Georgia Tech. Maryland then will travel to Wake Forest and N.C. State.
Except for Howard, which lost both games in the Evansville Tournament, the Yuletide was kind to local schools.
Virginia ran its season mark to 9-1 after whipping Old Dominion, 79-58, in the Richmond Times-Dispatch Invitational title game. Junior forward Lee Raker knocked to the floor and suffered a partial separation of his left shoulder in the game. Raker, who was out cold for five minutes, is questionable for the Cavalier game against Wake Forest.
The University of the District of Columbia needed three overtimes to turn back host Maryland-Baltimore County, 89-84, to take the Gino's Classic tournament. The Firebirds (5-4) got 27 points from Steve Smith, voted the tourney MVP, and 20 rebounds from Mike Britt.
American trounced Air Force, 84-57, to salvage third place in the Manufacturer's Hanover Trust Classic. The Eagles (5-5) could easily be 8-2 or 9-1, having lost close games to Wake Forest, St. Bonaventure, Lafayette and Navy.
Howard, winner of six of its first seven games, is still looking for someone to help 6-8 James Ratiff. Thus far, the former Eastern High All-Met is doing it all alone. He didn't get much assistance in the Bison's 74-68 loss to host Evansville in the first round of the tourney Friday night.Ratiff who had 44 points in the two games, got even less help in the consolation game as Howard lost to Samford, 69-64, in overtime.
Craig Shelton, Georgetown's power forward, converted all six of his field goal attempts in Friday's 65-60 triumph over Lafayette, marking the third time in December he was perfect from the field. Shelton, who enterest last week 11th in the nation in Division I field goal percentage now has made 61 of 86 attempts from the field for 70.9 per cent accuracy. He is averaging 18.6 points per game.
On the national scene, second-ranked Kentucky, despite the absence of 7-1 freshman center Sam Bowie and guards Dirk Minifield and Dwight Anderson, handled third-ranked Notre Dame, 86-80, in a game that was never close.
Bowie and Minnifield were suspended by Coach Joe B. Hall for breaking team training rules. Anderson dropped out of school last week.
Top-ranked Duke had to go to overtime to get past Cincinnati, 87-75; No. 4 DePaul, led by Mark Aguirre's 25 points, whipped Bradley, 68-61; No. 5 LSU pummeled Delaware, 92-62; No. 6 North Carolina bested Ziebert of England in the 12-team Phillips International championships in London; No. 7 Ohio State punished Northwest Louisiana, 71-46; No. 8 Purdue trounced Tulsa, 82-58; No. 9 Syracuse stopped Villanova, 92-84, in the final of the Rochester Classic, and No. 10 Indiana won the Cabrillo Classic with a 61-52 victory over Brown.
Notre Dame Coach Digger Phelps, who has only one victory to show for his nine trips to Kentucky, said when Bowie returns, "The Wildcats will be as good as any team in the country."
Kentucky (11-1) handed the Fighting Irish their first loss in eight games.
In other local action, Navy breezed by Millersville State, 70-54, and George Madison is still looking for its first win after losing to previously winless South Carolina State, 91-75.
Former O'Connell All-Met Melissa Mahony topped off her school-record 29-point performance by scoring the winning basket to get Virginia past St. Peter's, 52-51, in a women's game.