In its final tuneup before its season opener, the Maryland men's basketball team came out a little flat. But timely pressure defense and a standout performance by junior forward Terence Morris lifted the Terrapins to a 105-98 victory over the California All-Stars in an exhibition game before 9,809 at Cole Field House.
Morris finished with 34 points and 20 rebounds and the Terrapins forced enough turnovers to finish the exhibition season 2-0.
Against a hot-shooting team, Maryland trailed by 64-53 early in the second half. But the Terrapins' defensive pressure sparked their offense and they went on a 17-2 run to take control.
"The thing I really liked tonight the most was our ability to dig in when we were down 11," said Coach Gary Williams, noting that he did not think his team had much energy at the game's outset. "I didn't see any quit anywhere. Sometimes you have to go through that situation before you find out a little bit about your team. I was pleased with how we responded."
Morris scored many of his points in transition or in the post, making 13 of 17 shots. The Atlantic Coast Conference preseason player of the year also made his only three-point attempt and was 7 of 9 on free throws.
"He is so smooth," Williams said. ". . . He does so many things so quickly out there that sometimes you miss some things."
Maryland rallied to tie the score at 81 on a pull-up jumper from the left wing by Juan Dixon (15 points) and a three-pointer from the left side by freshman Drew Nicholas.
It was Nicholas's only basket of the game following a 20-point, six three-pointer performance in the Terrapins' first exhibition victory.
California (16 of 29 from three-point range) responded to take a 91-85 lead. But Maryland again answered, with its press creating turnovers. Maryland eventually took the lead on a tap-in by Dixon after freshman point guard Steve Blake made a steal but missed a layup. The Terrapins' press forced another turnover and Blake fed forward Danny Miller for an open three-pointer from the right wing that made it 96-92 with 4 minutes 28 seconds left.
Colonials Win, 98-83
Led by freshman guard Val Brown (Lee High School), the George Washington men's basketball team launched a three-point barrage against the Five Star Hawks to win its first exhibition game of the season, 98-83, before a crowd of 2,756 at Smith Center.
The Colonials attempted 32 three-point baskets--two shy of the school's regular season record. GW took 13 more shots from behind the three-point arc than the Hawks, a team of former college and professional players. Point guard Bernard Barrow, guard Mike King and Brown were a combined 10 of 29 from three-point range.
"We can hold the ball and mess around with it for 30 seconds of possession and you can all walk away saying what a great defensive coach," Coach Tom Penders said. "But that doesn't sell tickets. That doesn't get players like Val Brown and Bernard to come here."
Brown scored 25 of his 29 points in the second half. He missed all but eight minutes of the first half after picking up three fouls by the 14-minute mark. Penders sat him down until 5:54 remained in the first half.
"I wanted to let him know I had confidence in him to use him with three fouls," Penders said. "It's something that Red Auerbach still says. He gets mad at me when I take a kid out with three fouls in the first half."
-- Kathy Orton