Maryland's basketball survived a determined effort by a Chinese all-star team and a small earthquake that halted play with 12 seconds remaining for an 84-78 victory and the championship of a three-nation basketball tournament today.
With Maryland ahead, 82-78 with 12 seconds left, the gymnasium began shaking and overhead lights swung. Referees called a halt to the game because of an earthquake that actually stopped trains and damaged homes 100 miles to the south.
"That thing really scared me," said Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell. "It was the first time I ever experienced anything like that. I was waiting for the lights to fall."
The shaking went on for nearly 30 seconds before play resumed and Maryland scored one more field goal for the final margin.
Ernest Graham scored 25 points and Reggie Jackson and Taylor Baldwin 20 apiece for the Terps, who won five of their six games in the tournament.
The Terrapins lost their only game to the Japanese national squad, 79-77, in the second game of the second round Saturday.
The Japanese nationals finished second at 4-2, China third with a 3-3 record and the winless Japan collegiate all-stars last with an 0-6 mark.
Maryland led, 49-39, at halftime and built a 72-60 lead at the halfway mark of the second half. The Chinese reduced the margin to four points toward the end of the game, but never seriously threatened.
If Driesell was disappointed by his team's performance today, he did his feelings beneath polite comments about the other teams, the tour and Japan.
"The Chinese gave us a real good ball game just like the Japenese," he told Japanese reporters clustering around him afterward. "Every time you beat a team real bad the first time, they're gonna come back."
Was he satisfied with Maryland's performance? Driesell hesitated just for a moment before responding, "we played well enough to win." One key difference, said Driesell, was that his team played at a faster pace today than Saturday.