One game, one loss, one very upset basketball team.
That was tonight's opening night review for Maryland. The Terrapins blew an eight-point lead in the last six minutes, made silly mistakes down the stretch and lost their opening game in The Great Alaska Shootout to Kansas, 58-56.
The winning basket came on a 20-foot jump shot from the right wing by Calvin Thompson with four seconds left. The Terrapins got one last shot, a 22-footer by Jeff Adkins, but it clanged off the rim and, shockingly, Maryland will play a consolation game Saturday against Alaska-Anchorage, a 61-54 loser to Oregon tonight.
The loss was shocking because, everyone in the Maryland locker room agreed, it never should have happened.
"Thompson made a tough shot but we never should have been in that position," a distraught Coach Lefty Driesell said.
"We got tentative at the end, made mistakes and we turned it over there at the end. That never should have happened."
The crucial turnover came after Thompson, who finished with 13 points, had made an 18-footer with 2:05 to go to cap a Kansas comeback that had turned a 54-46 Maryland lead into a 56-56 tie.
The Terrapins, who played poorly in their spread, double-high-post offense, ran the clock down to 1:03 and called time. During the timeout, Driesell took Terry Long -- who had missed the first shot in a one-and-one moments earlier -- out of the game and inserted junior college transfer Speedy Jones, opting for Jones over a guard.
Adkins passed inbounds. As Keith Gatlin broke back toward center court to take the pass, Kansas' Cedric Hunter overplayed him, preventing him from getting the ball. Adkins turned to Jones, coming toward the ball and flipped a short pass to him. Jones was immediately double-teamed.
"I was looking for Keith but their guy broke quickly and he was covered," Adkins said. "Speedy came to the ball so I got to him. We were too close, though, I guess because he never really got control. It's my responsibility to get the ball inbounds. I take the blame."
Jones had the ball slapped loose before he could control it. "They slapped at my arms right away," he said. "I never had the ball really. I dived for it after it got loose, but they had it."
Tad Boyle picked up the ball for Kansas. Without calling time, the Jayhawks set up their offense. Kansas Coach Larry Brown called his "three play," a double screen, but Ron Kellogg, who led his team with 14 points, didn't hear the call. As a result, when the ball swung to Thompson on the right side, time was running out and Thompson could do only one thing: shoot. The ball swished through.
"I like to shoot in those situations," said Thompson, who won one game and sent another into overtime last year. "Once I got my rhythm going at the end, I felt like I could make anything. All I needed was a second. I got it."
The Kansas comeback wiped out a superb first-half performance by Adrian Branch and Len Bias. Branch had 17 of his 22 points and Bias 12 of his 18 as the Terrapins built a 38-30 lead, dropping one jumper after another over the Kansas zone.
Brown changed his defense in the second half, mixing man to man and zone. It worked. The Terrapins shot a horrendous 22 percent in the second half -- six of 27.
Mistakes hurt but so did the inability of anyone outside of Bias and Branch to score. The rest of the Terrapins made a total of five field goals -- three by Gatlin, one by Adkins and one by Lewis.
Starting center Long was zero for three from the field, zero for one from the line and had three rebounds in 35 minutes. Lewis may start up front Saturday.
Heralded Kansas freshman Danny Manning, who did not shoot particularly well in his college debut (four of 14, 12 points) did an excellent job on Bias, who ended up making only five of 17 shots. Manning also led Kansas, which dominated the boards by a 42-27 margin, with 12 rebounds.