Albert King, who did it best for Maryland tonight, said it best too: "Under the circumstances, I thought we played fairly well."
That was about all Coach Lefty Driesell could have expected. His team was clearly not very interested in playing Georgia Tech tonight, but it didn't really matter as King scored 28 points and the Terps cruised to a 66-55 victory in front of 1,865 in Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
"We didn't play great but we won and that's all I wanted," Driesell said. "The guys are going home for a couple of days and I think they were thinking about that as much as the game."
To a man, the Terrapins, now 2-0 in the ACC and 7-1 overall, agreed they had trouble getting up to play Tech (0-1, 3-4). After all, it's hard to take a team seriously three days after it loses to Wofford.
The reasons for that loss were apparent the first seven minutes. Tech didn't score, didn't even look at the basket much and the Terps were up 10-0 before Fred Hall finally scored for the Yellow Jackets.
From that point on, Maryland went through the motions, leading by just seven at the half but stretching the lead to 49-30 with 12:24 left in the game. Driesell then went largely with his subs, allowing Tech to cut the lead to 11 by game's end.
"I thought we played pretty well," Tech Coach Dwane Morrison said. "We're improving and that pleases me. We did everything we could with King but he was having a pretty fair country night. He just jumped over us. There were times he was doubleteamed and still hit the shot easily."
Lee Goza led Tech with 13 points and Hall had 10. For Maryland, Buck Williams tossed in 16 points and had nine rebounds and Greg Manning had 10 points, although he shot just three for nine from the floor. Ernest Graham did not score and said afterward, "I can't remember ever playing in a game without scoring."
What happened to Graham was symptomatic of what happened to the entire team -- with the exception of King. Tech, with its deliberate style and grabbing, slashing defense, often frustrates teams into taking bad shots and committing silly fouls.
"It's tough to play against them," King said. "They make you lackadaisacal on defense because they don't look to shoot and they don't let you run. They make you play their pace."
"They lull you to sleep," Williams said. "It was hard to stay fired up."
Playing in a cold, near-empty gym, it was apparent from the beginning that the Terps were just here to get this game over with.
It has been said that Georgia Tech forces teams to play down to its level and the first half was testimony to that -- with the exception of King. While his teammates looked like sleepwalkers searching for the ice box, King tossed in almost every shot in his arsenal -- straight jumpers, bank shots, drives, twisting underhand layups.
By the time the first 20 minutes were over, King had 20 points on eight-of-11 shooting. That matched the total for the Yellow Jackets and should have been enough to end the suspense completely. But the rest of the Terps decided to score just seven points themselves, five by Williams, two by manning, so Tech trailed only 27-20 at the intermission.
Considering the fact that his team didn't score until 7:07 had been played and considering that it was 20-8 with six minutes left, that wasn't a bad sign for Tech Coach Morrison.
For Driesell, though, the half was less than delightful. He had to endure watching his team, other than King, shoot two for 11, get outrebounded, 16-11, and look sloppy enough on defense that he was forced to play some zone against a team that drew applause each time it broke the Maryland press and got across the midcourt line.
But this wasn't an evening for artistry. It was an evening to get a victory, without too much worry, and an evening to get over with so the players could head home for a two-day holiday.
That much the Terps accomplished.