Maryland still is playing stand up, sit down with its lineup and may go with yet another combination at West Virginia tonight. A more established Georgetown will try to gauge its inside game against New Mexico at Capital Centre, 8 p.m.
An intra-city series that has gone back and forth between American and George Washington will take another turn tonight at Fort Myer (7:30). The host team has been the winner the past couple of years, which would give American the advantage, but GW has the edge in experience.
The Terrapins (4-2) still are mulling Saturday night's one-point overtime loss to Nevada-Las Vegas, a game in which they had a two-point lead with six seconds left in regulation and a game Coach Charles G. Driesell felt they should have won. Driesell was dissatisfied enough to contemplate some major changes tonight, for a second time in two weeks.
Two freshmen may make their first starts: 6-foot-9 Tony Massenburg instead of 6-8 center Terry Long, and 6-4 John Johnson at second guard, which would return Speedy Jones to reserve forward.
"We're young and we're still trying to find our best five," said Driesell, who said he would make a decision by this morning.
Long, a junior, has been ineffective in his three starts, failing to provide forwards Len Bias and Derrick Lewis with needed rebounding help. Massenburg has been aggressive enough in brief appearances to earn a harder look. Johnson has been perhaps the best of the freshmen, averaging 6.5 points.
Driesell was not pleased with the Terrapins at practice Monday, particularly in the aftermath of their 64-63 loss to UNLV. According to Driesell, the game never should have gone into overtime because Maryland, up by two with four fouls to give away tactically, failed to use the fouls. Maryland had another chance to win as overtime wound down, but Baxter's jump shot from the corner fell off the rim.
"We should have won that game. Truthfully, there is no way we should lose," Driesell said. "When you lead by two with 18 seconds left and four fouls to give, they shouldn't get a shot off. And I wasn't real satisfied with the shot we took. If he makes it, he's a hero. But there were still six seconds left and I would've liked to go inside maybe."
West Virginia (3-3), coming off a 20-9 season, would not seem the kind of team to experiment against, especially at the Coliseum, where the Mountaineers have a 77-7 record since 1981. They won their Atlantic 10 opener over St. Joseph's Monday night, 72-45, and have two established returning scorers in guard Dale Blaney, averaging 18.2 points, and forward Renardo Brown, 12.5.
They are without two key starters and a top reserve, however. Point guard Holman Harley, forward Wayne Yearwood and reserve center Wade Smith are under suspension until Dec. 21, on probation for a dormitory incident.
"It's a tough place to play, but we need the experience," Driesell said. "We need to get a good win on the road to get ready for the ACC. It's a tossup. Whoever gets inside and gets the most rebounds will probably win."
New Mexico (5-0) provided one of Georgetown's toughest games last season, losing by 69-61 in Albuquerque. But this will be the 1985-86 Lobos' first test away from the loyal 17,000 or more in their arena, affectionately called the Pit.
"Who scheduled this?" New Mexico Coach Gary Colson joked. "It could be 40 minutes of misery."
Even so, with four starters back, the Lobos could be challenging and the talk in Albuquerque is of the NCAA tournament. Against Oregon State last week they set an NCAA field goal accuracy record, 81.4 percent, and in a 132-95 win over U.S. International they shot 69 percent and set a school record for points. New Mexico's leading scorer is power forward Johnny Brown, a Sporting News preseason all-America who is averaging 23 points and seven rebounds. Kelvin Scarborough, from Eastern High School in the District, is averaging 14 points and 6.4 assists at guard.
This probably is Georgetown's only tough challenge thus far this season, except for George Mason. The Hoyas (4-0) are led by Reggie Williams' 16 points a game, and his eight-rebound average is second only to Ralph Dalton's 8.3. Dalton played only one minute in last year's victory, and likely will get about 30 times as much floor time tonight as the Hoyas continue to try to establish themselves inside.
George Washington (4-2) and American (3-0) match up evenly with virtually no size, but good quickness. The Colonials have four players in double figures, led by Troy Webster with 13.7 points, and good experience returning from a team that beat American, 83-59, last year at home. But both their losses this year have come outside Smith Center. American (3-0) features guard Frank Ross (21.7).
"Each of us has managed to win at home," AU Coach Ed Tapscott said. "We're hoping the pattern holds."