Who says Maryland has no bench? And who says Lefty Driesell can't coach?
Driesell went to his bench twice in the final 16 seconds last night and his substitutes won him a game, 66-62, over North Carolina State in front of 14,500 in Cole Field House.
The Terrapins, leading the ACC with a 6-1 record and 14-2 on the season, had blown an 11-point lead, allowing the Wolfpack (3-3, 11-4) to tie the game at 62 with 36 seconds left on a tip-in by 5-foot-9 De Matha graduate Sidney Lowe.
That marked the first time State had been even since 4-4 in the game's second minute. The Terps brought the ball up the court and called time with 16 seconds left to set up final play.
At that point, Driesell inserted Dutch Morely for Reggie Jackson at guard cognizant of the fact that Jackson, who started over Morley, was two of five from the foul line including a miss with the Terps up by 62-60.
"Reggie had been having trouble from the line so I decided to get Dutch in there," Driesell said.
The move paid off immediately. Before Ernest Graham could inbound the ball, Clyde Austin, trying to deny Moreley the ball, fouled him.That sent Morely to the line for one-and-one with :16 still on the clock.
"I just tried to concentrate," Morley said. "I told myself to follow through and take your time. I had only taken one shot the whole game (a miss) but foul shooting is different. It's just concentration."
Morley swished both shots. After the Terps called another timeout, State came down and Lowe drove the baseline, went under the basket and tried a reverse layup with four seconds left.
The shot never came close to the basket. It was blocked by Taylor Baldwin, the 6-10 backup center. Driesell had put Baldwin in for Morley for defensive purpose after Morley made the free throws.
"Give Coach (John) Kochan credit for that one," Driesell said, passing up the chance to play genius. "He suggested that we get Taylor in there for inside defense."
Baldwin had already played his best game in two years at Maryland with eight points in 11 minutes, including two three-point plays. When Lowe went underneath the baseline he sealed him off from the basket and waited for him to make his move.
"When I saw him go underneath I knew he had no choice but to try the reverse layup," Baldwin said. "It was just him against me. I tried to make sure that I jumped straight up so I wouldn't get called for the foul."
"He just blocked it clean," said Lowe, a seven-point scorer for the game. "There was a little body contact but it wasn't a foul. He made a good play, that's all."
Even State Coach Norman Sloan, who bickered with the officials all evening, had no quarrel with the final noncall that assured reversal of the Wolfpack's 67-62 win over the Terps in Raleigh two weeks ago.
"It was an excellent block," he said.
"It was a fine defensive play. Sidney had no choice but to put it on the floor and take it home and they made a good defensive play."
Albert King grabbed the loose ball after Baldwin had deflected it and was fouled with one second left. He made both free throws to finish off the Wolfpack.
It was a victory that Maryland seemed to have locked up very early. Picking up where they left off Sunday in Chapel Hill, the Terrapins jumped to a 20-9 lead in nine minutes, making 10 of their first 12 shots.
But there was no way the Terps could stay that hot and State crawled back, cutting the lead to 34-28 by halftime.
The Wolfpack quickly cut the gap to 44-42, largely on the hot shooting (11 to 17 for the night) of Hawkeye Whitney, who scored a game-high 25 points.
But King, tying Greg Manning for Maryland's scoring honors with 16, warmed up after a two-for-six first half and the Terps built the lead back to 53-44 midway through the second half. They still led by seven with four minutes left before Whitney scored six straight points to make it 59-58 with 1:35 left.
"I thought we were going to beat them then," Sloan said. "Obviously Hawkeye fouling out was a big play for us and for them.We need him in there to beat a team like Maryland."
Whitney drew his fatal fifth trying to steal the ball from Manning, who made two free throws for a 61-58 lead with 1:30 left. But Kenny Matthews countered with the last of his six baskets three seconds later to make it 61-60.
The Terps ran the clock down to 53 seconds before Jackson was fouled by Austin. He made the first shot but missed the second. when Matthews tried to tie it from the corner 15 seconds later, the ball bounced off the rim only to be tipped in by Lowe, who somehow got inside of King.
That tied the game for the final time. But in the last 36 seconds Driesell coached and his bench played. Another cliff-hanging Maryland victory in what has all of a sudden become a remarkable season.