Maryland's extended holiday season ends this week when the Terrapins get back to action against South Carolina Monday and Arkansas Wednesday, both at Cole Field House. And many other local teams will be in action, playing in tournaments in Florida, Ohio and New York.
The Terrapins (5-2) haven't played since Dec. 12, when they lost at LSU on a last-second jumper. They could get back the services of senior guard Keith Gatlin, who practiced with the team last week for the first time. Junior forward Rodney Walker, who sat out practice with Gatlin over the first six games while both worked on meeting Coach Bob Wade's academic standards, is eligible to see his first action against the Gamecocks.
The game marks the first time South Carolina has visited Maryland since the Gamecocks left the Atlantic Coast Conference. They have played road games at Clemson and Georgia Tech.
American faces Miami in the West Palm Beach Classic Monday. If the Eagles win, they could play 10th-ranked Purdue in the final. Wake Forest is also participating in the four-team tournament. The Eagles (3-4) are coming off a 22-point loss to Long Beach State last week, one in which they were outscored at one point, 44-8.
The Eagles will see Miami's 7-foot center, sophomore Tito Horford, who stopped briefly at American two years ago when looking at schools before deciding on LSU. Horford never played a game for the Tigers, moving on to the Hurricanes, who beat Alabama State, 110-107, last Monday for their third win in a row and fifth overall against three losses.
Junior forward Eric Brown leads the Hurricanes in scoring at 22 points a game, including 39 against Alabama State, with 14 rebounds. Horford is second on the team at 12.7 points a game.
Georgetown and Howard also travel to Florida for games. The Hoyas (7-1) will play at Florida International Wednesday and Miami Saturday. Howard will meet North Carolina-Charlotte in the WLKF Classic at Florida Southern Monday. The Bison (4-2) have played only one game in the last two weeks, a 10-point defeat to Campbell which broke a three-game winning streak. Guard George Hamilton added to his team-leading average of 17 points a game with 22 in the loss.
In other local action, George Mason plays at St. Bonaventure. The Patriots scored eight points in the final minute of their game with Long Island to pull out a 109-106 victory, behind 36 points from Kenny Sanders and 26 points from guard Amp Davis.
Navy plays Toledo in the second game of the Toledo Blade Classic Monday (with Butler playing 16th-ranked Iowa State in the opener), and Catholic is in the NYU Tournament.
South Carolina had gotten off to its best start (5-0) since the 1971-72 team before losing to sixth-ranked Temple, 63-50, on Dec. 19. USC is led by 6-7 senior center Darryl Martin, at 14 points a game and 7.8 rebounds. Junior forward Terry Dozier, from Baltimore's Dunbar High, scores 13.6 points a game and had 18 against Temple. Junior forward John Hudson is averaging 12.8 points and 5.7 rebounds a game.
South Carolina also has one of the country's top freshmen, guard Brent Price, the younger brother of former Georgia Tech all-America Mark Price. Brent Price is scoring 13 points coming off the bench.
The Gamecocks are on probation by the NCAA and are ineligible for postseason play.
In women's action, sixth-ranked Virginia plays Miami and Maryland meets Rutgers Monday in the Orange Bowl Classic, American participates in the La Salle Invitational today, and George Washington plays at Colorado on Monday.