Saturday will not go down as the most successful day for local college basketball teams. Georgetown, George Mason, George Washington, American, Navy, Howard and Virginia were among the losers. But Maryland came away smiling.
The Terrapins (10-4, 3-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) checked in with the biggest victory in Coach Bob Wade's two-season college career as they defeated seventh-ranked Duke, 72-69, in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
For the first time since the 1985-86 season, Georgetown has lost two Big East games in a row. The 11th-ranked Hoyas (11-3, 1-2) fought to the end but lost to Boston College, 68-66, on Dana Barros' jumper with two seconds left. The Hoyas, who lost to Providence Wednesday night, also got into their second Big East fight of the season. After tangling with Pittsburgh in their first league game, the Hoyas had a tussle with the Eagles Saturday night in Boston Garden.
Charles Smith, who led Georgetown with 21 points, got wrapped up with Boston College's Doug Able with 16:18 left in the game. Players from both sides came to the aid of teammates, with Barros and Georgetown's Jaren Jackson leading the way. Somewhere along the way, Barros' girlfriend came on the court, and later said she was just "trying to protect my man."
"That was really the only bad thing about the game," Georgetown Coach John Thompson said of the fight. "I'm sick of fights and I made that clear when I went to the bench. Jaren shouldn't have gone on the floor and Charles overreacted. That was frustration."
The Colonials of George Washington were frustrated, too. They dropped their fourth straight game Saturday night, losing to Penn State, 74-61. The defeat leaves the Colonials 10-6 overall and 1-3 in the Atlantic 10.
American (5-9, 1-2 in the Colonial Athletic Association) can look with hope to this week's opening of Bender Arena. Surely, the Eagles will not want to look back on Saturday night's 67-64 loss to North Carolina-Wilmington, in which the Eagles were nine of 25 from the foul line.
Elsewhere in the CAA, East Carolina ended a nine-game losing streak to Navy Saturday night with a 61-49 victory. The Midshipmen are 3-9 and 0-3. George Mason faced a tougher opponent but had the same result as Navy. Richmond is 12-2 and 3-0 after beating the Patriots, 86-70.
Howard (7-6, 2-2 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) has been up and down this year and Saturday night definitely was down. The Bison were beaten by Morgan State, 82-64, as the Bears broke a nine-game losing streak.
The North Carolina Tar Heels pushed their ACC record to 2-0 with an 87-62 victory over Virginia (8-8, 1-2) in Chapel Hill. This game also had some rough play and nearly had fights. When referee Dick Paparo called North Carolina Coach Dean Smith and Virginia Coach Terry Holland together and told them to calm their teams, Smith and Holland argued briefly.
Maryland had lost to the Tar Heels Thursday night, but Saturday seemed to have overcome many of the problems that contributed to the loss. In beating the Blue Devils, Maryland played with poise, showed patience on offense and made free throws.
"I think Duke is a tough place to play," said Rudy Archer, who hit a free throw with seven seconds left for the final margin. "But we held our composure, kept our heads and came out with a win."
It was the Terrapins' first conference road victory under Wade and their first at Cameron since 1984. They achieved it by patiently working the ball inside to Derrick Lewis (team-high 20 points) and Brian Williams (14).
"We recognized from the Carolina game that we weren't getting inside," Archer said. "Duke likes to sag and help, so we spread out. We put in a new play called, 'Blowout,' where we had Brian out on the wing and isolated Derrick inside."
Lewis shot seven for 11 from the field. What was surprising was his accuracy from the foul line. A 54.5 percent foul shooter going in, he made six of nine.
"I couldn't tell you," he said with a laugh when asked why he was more successful. "One time I saw this little girl behind the basket. She was probably only 4 or 5 years old but she was the only one who wasn't yelling. I just concentrated on her and blocked everything else out."
Down by five with less than three minutes left, the Terrapins rallied to tie and then did all the things good teams are supposed to do in the clutch.
"It was a great win for the program," said junior forward Dave Dickerson. "We've played up and down this year. We had LSU down and made mistakes. We've shown we've matured as a team."