Maryland, playing a vertuoso second half, rallied behind sure-shooting Greg Manning for an 86-75 victory over Tennessee in the NCAA East Regional today.
The Terrapins surged into the round of 16, where they will meet the winner of Sunday's Georgetown-Iona game in the regional semifinals in Philadelphis Friday.
Iowa won today's first game, 77-64, over North Caolina State and also moves on to the Spectrum, to play the winner of Syracuse-Villanova.
Manning survived a punch in the mouth and a jolt to his tender back and scored a carrer-high 28 points-22 in the second half-to lead the Terps, 24-6.
Albert King, although suffering a twisted left ankle in the first half, hit 10 of 16 shots for 20 points, and Buck Williams, on his 20th birthday, had 19 points, 15 in the second half.
For the Vols, who finished 18-11, Reggie Johnson and Gary Carter had 21 points each, Johnson's all coming in the first 24 minutes.
Maryland survived today in spite of playing perhaps the worst first half in a month.
"We never got the ball inside the whole first half," said Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell. "They were doing what they wanted. I told the team at halftime not to hang their heads, that we were still in this thing."
The Terps clearly were tight in the early going of their first NCAA appearance in five years. they committed 12 first-half turnovers-seven of them during a 4:14 stretch when Tennessee outscored them, 15-2.
That spurt turned a 16-14 Maryland lead into a 29-18 Volunteer advantage with 5:58 left in the half. Things looked dark for the Terrapins.
"We were tight," admitted King, who had five of the first-half turnovers. "This was the first time for any of us in the NCAAs. It was a new experience. It took some getting used to."
Driesell called a wise timeout after the Tennessee spurt and his team quickly regrouped to cut the margin to four. But with Johnson, who had 17 of his points in the first half, clicking on all cyclinders, Tennessee upped the margin to 40-32 at intermission.
"Johnson was as tough as anyone I've faced all season," said Williams. "He's stong and physical, but he can hit from outside. The first half he did a great job at both ends of the floor."
That didn't last, however. Johnson got his last two points of the game with 16:24 left to put the Vols up 46-39. Then, he made two straight mistakes and it turned the game around.
Manning, who made 11 of 15 shots in what has become a typical shooting performance (the terps shot 63 percent as a team) hit a jumper to make it 46-41.
Johnson, trying to post Ernest Grahm down low, was called for a pushing foul -- his third. The 6-foot-9 senior lost his poise andf promptly was called for elbowing Williams at the other end. Consequently, he went to the bench with four fouls and 15:06 remaining.
Quickly, Williams hit layup. Bert Bertelkamp swished a jumper for the Vols to make it 48-43. Then followed the game's crucial sequence.
Tennessee's Steve Ray was called for pushing Graham as the Maryland forward drove the left side. Tennessee Coach Don DeVoe jumped from his seat and appeared to be giving instructions to one of his players.
In doing so he walked past center court in front of the Maryland bench. Dresell, who had drawn a first-half technical, immediately pointed out DeVoe's location to referee Peter Pavia, who called a technical foul on DeVoe.
"In two years at the University of Tennessee I had never drawn a technical before I got to Greensboro," said DeVoe, furious about the officiating. "I never said a word to that Pavlev (sic) or whatever his name is. I was talking to Reggie Johnson (who was not in the game at the time). There was no warning or anything.
"We very much get the short end of the officiating in the second half. The two fouls on Johnson and the technical were the turning point."
Deserved or not, the technical foul turned around the game. Graham hit one of his two free throws and Manning hit both technicals.That made it 48-46. Maryland still had possession because of the technical and King hit a 12-foot bank shot and the Terps were even with 14:06 left.
Now, the crowd of 13,210 was solidly behind Maryland, feeling that Atlantic Coast Conference pride was at stake. Howard Wood hit a jumper to regain the lead for Tennessee 50-48 but that was the last time the Southeastern Conference team was on the long end of the score.
Manning followed his own miss to tie the game again at 50 and Wood missed the same shot he had hit a moment before. This time Williams followed his own miss and the Terps led, 52-50. Dale Ellis missed another jump shot and Graham swished one from 20. The Terps were up, 54-50.
"We finially got to playing our game," said Grahm. "We took good shots the second half, didn't force anything, didn't make and dumb mistakes. We hadn't play like that because they were tough."
Tough in deed. Instead of fouling, the Vols fought back, knotting the game at 56 and another Wood bomb with 9:21 left. After a Williams dunk and two free throws by Kevin Nash kept things even at 58 to Terrapins made their big move.
The Vols had a chance to go ahead when Wood tried a short jumper. But Taylor Baldwin deflected the ball to Manning, who fed Grahm. He made the layup and was fouled by Ellis, and finished the three-point play. With 8:04 left, Maryland was up for good, 65-58.
A King jump shot and a layup by Williams-off a pretty pass from King -- made the score 65-58 with 6:45 to go and Tennesse never got closer than three. "Our guys never got rattled when we got behind," Driesell said. "They didn't let anything get to them. That's been the mark of this team all year."
One clear mark of this team has been to get the ball to Manning, a 90 percent foul shooter, down the stretch while holding a lead. The Terps did just that during the final five minutes and Manning came up with three three-point plays to prevent Tennessee from getting any stong ideas about a comeback.
I definitely want the ball in that situation," Manning said. "I've shot free throws pretty well this year and I like having the ball then.Sometimes, though, they don't foul me. Today I got open going to the hoop."
With Manning providing the icing, the Terps survived this physical struggle, which ended with the coaches exchanging angry words, and prepared to move on to Philadelphia.
They will be joined there by Iowa, a team that has survived a plethora of injuries to make it this far.
Today, the Hawkeyes, who are 13-0 in games where star guard Ronnie Lester has been healthy (he had knee surgery in February) shook off 38 percent shooting in the first half to blow out State in the second.
Sixth man Vince Brookins had all 17 of his points in the second half. Kenny Arnold had 18, Lester 1m. Clyde Austin led State, playing its last game under Norman Solan, with 18. Solan now departs for Florida after 14 years at State during which he complied a 266-127 record.