Sunday, March 23, 2003

Maryland 77, Xavier 64


Frigid first half too much to overcome

The Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - This was going to be the greatest comeback in Xavier history.

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Xavier's Dedrick Finn walks past celebrating Maryland players after the game.
(AP photo)
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After trailing Maryland by 20 points in the first half, when they couldn't buy a basket, the Musketeers kept whittling away as National Player of the Year David West either shot or passed off to teammates who could score. With 6:06 left, Romain Sato hit the first of two free throws to cut the gap to 60-57.

But that was as close as they got, and the Musketeers were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament in the second round.

The Terrapins did what defending national champions do. They stopped the Musketeers' run with a big shot. Drew Nicholas, whose fall-away 3 at the buzzer against North Carolina-Wilmington got the Terps into this game, hit a 3-pointer from the top of key.

That started Maryland on an 11-4 run, and that was that.

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Maryland's Ryan Randle yells after dunking over Romain Sato and David West.
(AP photo)
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"They were making a great run at us, putting us on our heels," Maryland guard Steve Blake said. "Drew came up and gave us a lot of confidence with that shot. We just went from there."

"We did a tremendous job getting back in the game, but we weren't sharp," Xavier coach Thad Matta said. "Against Maryland, you have to be clicking every possession of the game."

"We dug ourselves a grave early," West said. "We let them get out and get going."

West, the three-time Atlantic 10 player of the year, finished with 22 points and nine rebounds for No. 3 seed Xavier (26-6), but most of it came way too late.

Xavier, trying for the school's second trip to the regional semifinals and first since 1990, shot itself out of the game early, hitting 28.6 percent from the floor in the first half (8-of-28).

Sato finished with 17 points on 4-of-14 shooting, and Lionel Chalmers had 12.

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Maryland's Steve Blake is cut off from the basket by West.
(AP photo)
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Nicholas and Ryan Randle scored 17 points apiece for sixth-seeded Maryland, which will play the winner of Sunday night's Florida-Michigan State game in the South Regional semifinals Friday at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Blake, the most experienced player in the tournament, had nine points and nine assists as the Terrapins (21-9) shot 51.7 percent (30-of-58) from the floor.

"We're the only team in the tournament who's the defending champs," Blake said. "We want to prove how good we are and make a name for ourselves."

"If Maryland is a sixth seed in this tournament, man, they're the best one I've seen," Matta said.

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Maryland's Drew Nicholas shoots over Lionel Chalmers.
(AP photo)
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Just making the NCAA tournament was the challenge Williams gave his Terrapins this season after losing four starters - including Lonny Baxter, Juan Dixon and Chris Wilcox - from last year's championship squad.

The Terps came in with their lowest seed since a No. 7 in 1996. Now, they're in the round of 16 for the 13th time, and they want much more.

"We felt like the Sweet 16 wasn't a really high expectation," senior Tahj Holden said. "The Final Four isn't a really high expectation. The national championship is our goal."

Why not when Williams has plenty of experience left? He started four seniors with a combined record of 12-2 in tournament games Sunday.

The Musketeers scored the first five points, but Maryland answered with a 19-4 run. Then Xavier made it interesting as West, held to 2-of-8 shooting in the first half, got going in the second.

He hit the boards hard on the defensive end, started driving to the basket and got Randle, Jamar Smith and Travis Garrison in foul trouble. West scored nine straight points to trim the lead to 54-44 with 12:21 left.

MARYLAND (77)

                          fg    ft    rb             
                   min   m-a   m-a   o-t   a  pf   tp
N Caner-Medley      24   3-5   0-0   0-2   1   2    6
T Holden            34   1-8   3-4   0-6   2   3    5
R Randle            19  8-12   1-1   1-5   0   4   17
D Nicholas          36  6-16   3-4   1-8   5   2   17
S Blake             37   3-7   2-2   1-7   9   0    9
J Smith             15   6-6   0-0   0-2   0   4   12
A Collins            3   0-0   0-0   0-0   2   0    0
T Garrison          12   2-3   1-2   2-5   0   4    5
C McCall            12   0-0   0-0   2-3   0   1    0
J Gilchrist          8   1-1   4-4   0-1   0   1    6
  
_____________________________________________________
TOTALS             200 30-58 14-17  7-39  19  21   77
_____________________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.517, FT-.824. 3-Point Goals:
3-13, .231 (N Caner-Medley 0-1, T Holden 0-3,
D Nicholas 2-5, S Blake 1-4). Team Rebounds: 
0. Blocked Shots: 6 (N Caner-Medley 2, T 
Garrison 2, T Holden, D Nicholas). Turnovers:
8 (S Blake 3, T Holden, D Nicholas, R Randle,
N Caner-Medley, J Smith). Steals: 2 (S Blake 
2).

XAVIER (64)

                          fg    ft    rb             
                   min   m-a   m-a   o-t   a  pf   tp
R Sato              40  4-14   6-8   1-3   3   3   17
D West              39  6-17 10-14   0-9   3   3   22
A Myles             32   4-9   0-0   1-3   0   3    8
L Chalmers          40   4-9   1-2   1-4   1   4   12
D Finn              36   2-4   0-0   0-2   5   2    5
K Jackson            5   0-2   0-0   2-2   0   1    0
W Caudle             8   0-2   0-0   1-3   0   0    0
  
_____________________________________________________
TOTALS             200 20-57 17-24  6-26  12  16   64
_____________________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.351, FT-.708. 3-Point Goals:
7-18, .389 (R Sato 3-8, L Chalmers 3-7, D 
Finn 1-3). Team Rebounds: 2. Blocked Shots:  
0.  Turnovers: 7 (D West 3, D Finn 2, W 
Caudle, A Myles). Steals: 2 (L Chalmers, R 
Sato).


-----------------------------------
MARYLAND             45  32   -  77
XAVIER               28  36   -  64
----------------------------------- 

Technical fouls: None. A: 17,484. Officials: David
Hall, Ed Hightower, Kerry Sitton




NCAA TOURNAMENT
Full coverage at Cincinnati.com

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Maryland 77, Xavier 64
Underdog Xavier has upset in mind
Daugherty: Bookends on XU's roster
Coaches experts on Terps
Majerus has the big blues
UK, Utah still have ties to '98
Apology ahead for UC's Machock
Gators-Spartans: Things could get rough
Cowboys will test Orangemen
Butler now faces Louisville's press
IU ready to mount a charge
After spurning Spartans' offer, Gators' Roberson must face them

MEN'S TOURNAMENT - SATURDAY'S GAMES
East: OU's Bookout covers for ailing Price
Midwest: Little-known Novak burns Mizzou
South: UConn turns to top guns
West: Hot-shooting Irish burn Illini
NCAA Tournament at a glance
NCAA Tourney notebook
NCAAs: The Skinny
NIT: Providence tops College of Charleston

WOMEN'S TOURNAMENT
New coach rebuilds XU from guards up
UC faces an uphill battle at home
Living legend roams Texas sidelines
Wright happy to be home
Women's tournament at a glance
Lady Vols have no problems at home

REDS / BASEBALL
Reds fans get first look
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Blue Jays 4, Reds 1
Harnisch is pleased with performance
Reds Q&A
It's the same old Angels, champs or not
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BENGALS / NFL
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Bengals Q&A
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PREP SPORTS
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Princeton's Davis joins elite crowd

GOLF
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Sorenstam closes in on 1st win of season

HOCKEY
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Mighty Ducks beat Norfolk in overtime

NBA
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PLAN YOUR DAY
Sunday's sports on TV, radio

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