Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell and his Terrapin basketball players did not feel good about themselves last night. And deservedly so.
Maryland needed last-minute free throws and several lucky baskets to turn a ridiculously close game into a 76-64 victory over winless Maryland-Eastern Shore before 7,325 at Cole Field House.
Freshman Adrian Branch scored a game-high 21 points, Charles Pittman had 16 points and 16 rebounds, and Herman Veal had 11 points and 15 rebounds to lead undefeated Maryland to its fifth victory. But the Terrapins looked lethargic, undisciplined and disinterested.
"If we don't play any better than that, it'll be our last win of the season," Driesell said.
The Hawks (0-5) have not played a home game this season, and last night started a 6-foot-4 center and a 5-8 guard. But they won the opening jump and took a 12-8 lead four minutes into the game on a 20-foot jumper by guard Robert Boney.
Maryland, behind guards Jeff Adkins and Steve Rivers, took a 19-14 lead with 11 minutes to play in the half. But the Hawks stayed within two points, 30-28, on center Allen Davenport's 20-foot jumper.
The Terrapins led, 39-33, at halftime on 56 percent shooting, but didn't look sharp on defense.
Four straight points by Branch to start the second half gave Maryland a 43-33 lead, and the Terrapins seemed in control. But a pair of free throws by Larry Farrare and a layup, in heavy traffic, by 5-8 Eric Spencer cut Eastern Shore's deficit to 47-41.
After Davenport drove around Veal for a layup, Maryland found itself leading by only three, 48-45.
A three-point play by Adkins (14 points, three assists) and a basket by Pittman increased the Terrapins' lead to 53-45. But the Hawks scored eight of the next 10 points to pull within 55-53 with nine minutes remaining.
The Hawks were still within four, 60-56, with 5:55 to play, when Marlow Barkley, their best all-court player, fouled out.
Pittman scored a free throw for a five-point lead, and Branch hit a jumper and sank two more free throws to give the Terrapins a 63-56 lead with four minutes left. Eastern Shore never got closer than five points after that.
With 3:13 left, Driesell had to call time out and tell his players to hold the ball because they were taking such terrible shots.
"We should be more enthused about these games," Veal said. "It's a 'W,' but we can't play like that and win in the ACC. We didn't have poise or intensity, and we squandered a 10-point lead. They were getting a lot of second shots early, and I knew it was going to be one of those nights. I hope Coach doesn't get mad at me. I just consider this constructive criticism."
Veal also criticized his own play. "No. 44 (Davenport) was going around me to the basket as if I weren't even there. I don't think I had enough intensity.