MORGANTOWN, W.VA., DEC. 5 -- The state of West Virginia got hit with snow squalls today and the University of Maryland basketball team got plowed under.
The Terrapins made most of the mistakes that can be made on a basketball court, and although West Virginia made almost as many, the Mountaineers did enough right to defeat Maryland, 75-49, in front of 11,045 at West Virginia Coliseum.
This game made playground ball look disciplined. The teams threw the ball away like it carried bubonic plague, and except for a couple early touch fouls, the referees took a no-death no-call stance. The 45-second clock was not a factor.
The Terrapins' first road trip was not pleasant, although their ragged play caused as much of the unpleasantness as the fans. The crowd was almost 3,000 under capacity, partly because of the snow and partly because the game was shown live on television in most of the state. Except for the musket fire by the Mountaineers mascot, the yelling and screaming was nothing Maryland hasn't seen, or won't see, in the Atlantic Coast Conference. They can expect a tougher crowd next Saturday when they play Louisiana State in Baton Rouge.
Maryland (3-1) has plenty to work on before it plays Mount St. Mary's Tuesday and East Carolina Thursday. The Terrapins made bad decisions, bad passes and bad shots. Many of the good shots didn't go in as the Terrapins shot 37 percent in the first half, 25.8 percent in the second half and 31 percent for the game.
Freshman center Brian Williams, who came into the game shooting 80 percent from the field, was two of seven and missed two dunks. He finished with six points. Senior Derrick Lewis, who has spent three years making inside shots, had relatively few of them. Not once did he get to launch his little jump hook. He, too, missed his share (six of 13), finishing with 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
And speaking of rebounds, Maryland shouldn't. In the first half, the smaller, quicker Mountaineers had more offensive rebounds (12) than the taller Terrapins had defensive rebounds (11). Overall, West Virginia had a 50-40 edge.
"Defensively, I thought they did well," Coach Bob Wade said. "But we didn't do a good job on the second and the third shots."
Some of West Virginia's first shots were pretty good, too, as the Mountaineers scored many backdoor baskets. Then there was the West Virginia press, which greatly contributed to 22 Maryland turnovers and helped distract the Terrapins from their main goal, which is to get the ball to Lewis and Williams.
"The press didn't bother us," Wade said. "We just made poor decisions as a team. We did a lousy job handling the basketball."
Maryland trailed, 33-25, at halftime. After Lewis scored on a turnaround with 15:53 left to cut the deficit to 43-33, the Terrapins went 4:29 without scoring. The Mountaineers responded with 10 straight points for a 53-33 lead. The closest Maryland got after that was 16 points on a couple of occasions, but down the stretch West Virginia increased the lead to as much as 27 points.
Herbie Brooks led West Virginia (3-0) with 17 points. Steve Berger and Chris Brooks had 14 each and Dunbar High School's Darryl Prue had 13.
Rudy Archer led Maryland with 16 points, but he also had six turnovers and no assists. He did score seven in a row to cut West Virginia's biggest lead of the first half to 22-15.
Maryland was frustrated by West Virginia's 2-2-1 press. The Terrapins tried to attack it by using Williams and Lewis in the back court.
"Coach thought that if we could get the ball to me in the middle, we could attack them better, get the advantage and get some shots," Archer said.
"We walked the ball up and should've attacked," said Williams.
"It gave us more trouble in the front court than the back court," Lewis said.
But once the Terrapins got the ball across the stripe, they didn't go to Williams and Lewis as often as usual.
After Thursday's win over Winthrop, Wade said he would have preferred his team take more outside shots. Today it did, but the strategy backfired.
Steve Hood, who entered the game with a 31.5 shooting percentage, was two of nine, but he had company. Lewis would not criticize his teammates' shot selection, but he acknowledged that there had been no decision to avoid going inside.
"I guess they took the shots that were there," Lewis said.
"I felt we had an advantage in height and I thought we were a little better inside. But no one's shots were falling. Mine weren't and I never got into the game offensively."
The same could be said of the whole team, and as the day wore on the Terrapins got more ragged.
"It definitely snowballed," said Lewis. "It snowballed enough to make a snowman."