Men's Hoops Cruises Past Georgia Tech
March 6, 1998
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) - Overlooked, unappreciated, lost in the shuffle. The Maryland Terrapins could be classified as all the above.
"We won 10 games in the conference and you would have thought we finished ninth," said Laron Profit, who scored nine of his 19 points over a two-minute stretch of the second half as No. 21 Maryland probably ended Georgia Tech's NCAA postseason hopes with an 83-65 victory Friday.
"We don't even think about it anymore," Profit said. "It's the toughest conference in America and we win 10 games and people don't even say anything about you."
The Terrapins have the hardest-rated schedule in the nation this year and are one of only 16 teams in the country to have participated in the NCAA tournament each of the last four seasons.
Yet the Terrapins believe they haven't been given enough respect.
"It's like Duke, Carolina and then the (ACC) teams that are on the (NCAA) bubble," Profit said. "They skip right over us. It's definitely an insult with the success we've had over the last four or five years.
"We're going to use that as motivation. Respect is going to come when you win the ACC championship."
The No. 3 seeded Terrapins (19-9) swept the Yellow Jackets this season and beat them for the fifth straight time in the quarterfinals game of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. Georgia Tech (17-13), seeded sixth, ended its season on a four-game skid.
Maryland led by 10 points at halftime thanks to a 5-for-5 shooting effort from reserve Terence Morris, the strong inside play of Obinna Ekezie and a zone defense that seemed to confuse the Yellow Jackets.
The defense also shut down Matt Harpring for the third straight game. The three-time all-ACC forward and league's second-leading scorer came into the game a combined 8-for-30 from the field in two previous meetings with Maryland. The senior started this one 1-for-6 as the Yellow Jackets fell into a hole.
Maryland's lead reached 15 with 14 minutes left when Profit converted on a three-point play, then sank consecutive 3-pointers 46 seconds apart.
Georgia Tech closed to 67-59 with 6:27 left. But Sarunas Jasikevicius, who scored 18, hit a 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down, Ekezie sank a pair of free throws and Rodney Elliot hit a 14-footer and a fastbreak layup to push the lead to 17.
"They've gotten lost in the shuffle because of Duke and North Carolina. They're tough," Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins said of Maryland. "What makes them so tough is if you don't break their pressure they kill you and if you break their pressure and you don't score they go right back at you."
Harpring, who had 15 points on 5-for-12 shooting, left the game with 1:06 remaining. He received a standing ovation from a crowd of more than 23,000 at the Greensboro Coliseum. He acknowledged the fans with a wave.
"I played in this league, and that's one of the nicest things I've ever seen," said Cremins. "What a real compliment. That was unbelievable the way they applauded for Matt Harpring."
Harpring was caught somewhat off guard.
"I probably won't realize it right now, but when I look back on it tomorrow or the next day it is a really big honor," he said.
Morris came off the bench to score 12 first-half points, including seven straight, and closed the half with a three-point play, a follow shot and a layup as the Terrapins grabbed a 43-33 edge at the break.
Maryland stayed in a zone most of the half, and Harpring and the rest of the Yellow Jackets had their third straight difficult shooting game this season against the Terrapins.
Georgia Tech had a six-minute stretch during the first half in which it went
0-for-5 from the field with five turnovers. The Yellow Jackets also went
without a basket for 5 1/2 minutes near the end of the game.