JACKSONVILLE, FLA., DEC. 8 -- After battling for 39 minutes and 51 seconds, Maryland blinked -- and tonight lost another winnable basketball game. Jacksonville center Tim Burroughs scored an easy layup on an inbounds pass from Danny Tirado with nine seconds left to give the Dolphins a 71-70 victory.
The game-winning basket marked only the second time that Jacksonville (3-3) held the lead. The first came with 1:11 left in the game on two free throws by Tirado. However, on the ensuing possession, Walt Williams drove the length of the floor, scored on a hanging layup and drew a foul, the subsequent free throw giving the Terrapins (2-3) a 70-69 edge.
Jacksonville forward Reggie Law missed a jump shot on the Dolphins' next possession but tied up the rebound to keep the ball on the alternate possession rule. After a timeout, Tirado hit Burroughs with the simple pass for the last of his 15 assists.
"It's distressing that we weren't able to get set up properly," said Maryland Coach Gary Williams. "We were playing a simple man-to-man. We knew their out of bounds play but we didn't get set up in time -- he just walked in like nobody was guarding him."
Maryland took a timeout after Burroughs's basket, then another after Evers Burns threw a midcourt pass to Walt Williams. After the second break, the 6-foot-8 guard took an inbounds pass and drove to the basket, but his shot was batted away by Law as the buzzer sounded.
"This team has got to learn to love basketball a little more," said Gary Williams. "Any team that I've been with, the players have done anything they could to watch games to get ready for games. So far, I haven't been able to motivate them to play the way I want them to."
The victory marked just the second time that Jacksonville has beaten an ACC school; the Dolphins beat Georgia Tech in 1981.
Walt Williams scored 20 for Maryland (2-3) with Burns contributing 15.
In a 100-85 loss to Boston College last Monday, Maryland was up by nine points with 15 minutes remaining; tonight the visitors held a 58-50 advantage with 11 minutes left.
"We don't take good shots in key situations and we had trouble rebounding in the last 30 minutes," Williams said. "They scored that last basket after a jump ball on the rebound -- we should have gotten the ball cleanly." Maryland was outrebounded, 44-24.
The climactic play was just one of a series of troubling happenings for Maryland. In the opening half, guard Kevin McLinton, who started in place of Vince Broadnax, threw an alley-oop pass to Walt Williams from well behind the three-point line. The attempted pass went straight into the basket but the officials credited Maryland with only two points. With 8:32 remaining, Burns appeared to hit a tough shot under pressure from the right baseline. However, the sophomore was called for an offensive foul and Gary Williams was given a technical for protesting too vociferously.
The free throws by Willie Ivory brought Jacksonville to 60-58, but Maryland seemed as if it could hold the lead, answering each Jacksonville basket with one of its own.
But with 2:49 left, Law (21 points) hit a jump shot and at the 1:57 mark, Junior Hanna hit another jumper to tie the game at 67.
"We were so worried about winning that we didn't seem to take into consideration that they might," said McLinton. "Before we came back on the floor Coach Williams told us to watch the pass inside and we just didn't do it."