Expect to see a quieter Terence Morris tonight when the Maryland men's basketball team hosts Winthrop and tries to rebound from a 74-69 loss to George Washington on Sunday night.
Morris, who had his slowest start of the season and finished with just 12 points in the loss to GW, was one of several players on both teams trash-talking throughout the game. And Maryland Coach Gary Williams said he thought the talk might have contributed to Morris's decreased productivity.
However, Williams declined to blame Morris for the loss, pointing to other factors, including a season-high 28 turnovers.
"We made mistakes," Williams said yesterday. "We made mental mistakes. We let a couple individual things take us out of what we were doing. Terence was out of character in terms of how he usually is on the floor. There was a lot of woofing going on both ways and Terence was one of the people involved in that and he hardly ever does anything like that. You have to stay in character, whatever your character is. That's part of your game."
Williams said opponents have tried to play physical defense in an attempt to rattle the 6-foot-9 Morris, one of the country's best all-around players. Normally, Morris is one of the most reserved players on the court. On Sunday, however, he was extremely animated. On one occasion during the second half, after GW forward Chris Monroe stepped on Maryland center Mike Mardesich, Morris took exception and shoved Monroe. Later, after making a steal and a layup while being fouled, Morris celebrated gleefully. A few seconds later, he fouled out for the second time this season.
"Terence is the guy that is targeted this year," Williams said. "If there is going to be physical play, they're going to try to put it on Terence. And he has to understand that he is the marked man this year."
Williams said GW's defense led to Morris picking up his fourth foul with 9 minutes 27 seconds left. Morris, who was called for three offensive fouls in the second half, eventually fouled out with 1:52 left.
"The fouls were not a result of him [being aggressive on offense], they were a result of him throwing an elbow or pushing a guy because of what happened a play before that or something like that," Williams said. "You can't retaliate in that way. It's just like in football, you hear announcers say they caught the second penalty. It's the same thing in basketball."
After the game, Morris said he did not think the trash-talking had affected his performance, but said it might have affected the way officials called the game.
"I think with all the talking and stuff going on, they started looking closer," Morris said.
While it does not have the name recognition of Maryland's past five opponents--GW, Illinois, Iowa, Notre Dame and Kentucky--Winthrop has a strong team. The Eagles, who won the Big South Conference tournament last season and lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament to Ohio State, are 4-1 with their loss coming at Dayton, 76-49, on Saturday. Winthrop trailed 28-23 at halftime before falling far behind.
Williams is hoping that Maryland (6-2), which climbed to No. 21 yesterday, will be better prepared to play than it was Sunday.
"We've taken it light [in practice] for the past few days really, getting ready for these games," said Williams, who said he arrived in his office at 7 a.m. yesterday to watch tape after having difficulty sleeping. ". . . It's going to be interesting to see [tonight] if we can get it back up because that was a tough loss [Sunday] and it is tough to get over. But you have to. . . .
"We'll see how tough we are mentally going into Winthrop. There is nothing wrong with us if we play hard. We have to play at a certain level this year. We can't get by with not doing that."