Maryland Looks for Redemption, Cavaliers Look for a Win
Posted January 6, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Maryland needed a litmus test to see just how far along the program has come and got just that over the weekend, as the Terrapins played host to second-ranked Duke.
Unfortunately for the Terps, they failed the test, as their three-game winning streak came to an abrupt end. After being tied at half, Maryland was blown out in the second stanza, falling 82-64. The Terps will try to get back in the winning groove on Thursday, when they go on the road to take on Virginia.
The Cavaliers lost their conference opener last Saturday, getting whipped by Wake Forest, 69-53. The loss brought an end to Virginia's own three-game winning streak.
The Terrapins' 64-point total against Duke marked their lowest offensive output of the season. Despite that showing, Maryland still ranks second in the conference in scoring, averaging 88.7 points per game.
The team is shooting 51.1 percent from the floor. Four of the team's five starters are averaging double-figures for the Terps, led by Juco transfer Steve Francis. The 6-3 junior guard is averaging 16.5 ppg. Francis has been a complete player this season, adding 4.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. He is shooting 52.3 percent from the floor.
Guards Laron Profit and Juan Dixon continue the siege from the perimeter, adding 13.5 and 9.3 points per game, respectively. The inside game is also effective, with forward Terence Morris (15.9 ppg) and center Obinna Ekezie (13.0 ppg). Morris ranks fifth in the conference in field goal accuracy, converting 62.8 percent from the floor (91-of-145).
Virginia will do everything in its power to match Maryland's offensive fireworks and has all the weapons necessary. Four players are averaging double-digits for the Cavs, led by the ACC's leading scorer in freshman swingman Chris Williams and his 18.9 ppg. He is followed closely by 5-11 sophomore guard Donald Hand, who adds 17.2 ppg. Hand doubles as the team's top distributor, dishing out 4.1 assists per game.
Two other young players are making an impact -- 6-5 freshman swingman Adam Hall and 6-2 sophomore guard Chezley Watson, who are adding 12.3 and 10.1 points per game, respectively. Virginia is strictly one-dimensional this year, as the defensive end of the court is a world away from the offensive end. The Cavaliers are yielding a league-high 69.1 points per game this year, allowing opponents to shoot 43.2 percent from the floor (last in the conference).
Site: University Hall (8,457) -- Charlottesville, Virginia. Home Record: Maryland 7-1; Virginia 6-2. Away Record: Maryland 0-1; Virginia 1-1. Neutral Record: Maryland 6-0; Virginia 2-2. Conference Record: Maryland 1-1; Virginia 0-2. Series Record: Maryland leads, 89-60.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Maryland 87, Virginia 72