Herman Veal didn't smile until he was in the locker room, and even then it was quick and reluctant.

Veal made a 14-footer from the right base line with five seconds left tonight, giving Maryland a 55-53 victory over Holy Cross in the Centrum.

"Herman knew he had the shot made as soon as he took it," said teammate Mark Fothergill. "He wouldn't smile, though. Herman's tough. He's also our money player."

Veal almost had nothing to smile about.

Holy Cross erased an eight-point Maryland lead and tied the game, 53-53, on two foul shots by Chris Logan with 2:27 to play. Holy Cross got the ball back at 2:05 when Jeff Adkins was called for a violation.

The Crusaders played for the final shot, but Larry Westbrook was whistled for another five-second violation, turning the ball over to Maryland (10-5) with 52 seconds left. "I think both those five-second calls were pretty quick," Westbrook said.

Maryland ran the clock down to 12 seconds, then called time.

Adkins passed inbounds to Adrian Branch, who was immediately double-teamed. "We knew we were going to Adrian and they knew we were going to Adrian," Veal said. Branch, who later said he didn't want to force a shot, dribbled across halfcourt and passed to Veal.

"I wanted to drive but one of their players (Walter Coates) popped out on me," Veal said. "It was definitely a longer shot than I usually take. But I knew it was a good shot or I wouldn't have taken it."

Holy Cross had a chance to take the game into overtime, but Westbrook's 20-footer hit the front rim and bounced away, as the triumphant Terrapins followed Veal into the locker room.

"Herman's clutch," said Maryland center Ben Coleman. "He's Mr. Intense. We look to him for intensity and big plays in close situations."

But as Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell pointed out, "Herman's a money player, but he had to hit that jumper to make up for missing the one-and-one foul shot earlier."

Veal, a 75 percent foul shooter, made two free throws with 3:40 left to put Maryland ahead, 51-49. But he missed one 12 seconds later that allowed Holy Cross (10-6) to tie the game at 51 on a turnaround jumper by Logan.

"I knew that wouldn't bother Herman," Branch said, "because he's a veteran."

Veal scored 12 points and played good defense against Logan in the second half. Logan finished with a game-high 19. But he had 11 in the first half (over a Maryland zone) and was not so effective after halftime.

Coleman scored a game-high 16 for Maryland, but the Holy Cross guards did a good job of playing in front of him, denying him the ball, to shut off Maryland's inside game.