Friday, December 29, 2006

Champs Bowl Roll. These young Terps fans brought some of their holiday spirit into the Comcast Center tonight, helping to cheer Maryland on to a 92-57 win over UNC-Greensboro in their first game of the two-day Terrapin Classic. And while the fans were plentiful (more than 7600!), most of the band and cheerleaders were M-I-A (no doubt in Orlando with the football team). Tonight's musical contingent consisted of what appeared to be four students and some AARP recruits (possibly taking full advantage of Maryland's new 50% AARP discount on tickets!).

Despite the final score, for long stretches it appeared that the Terps themselves were still on their holiday break. They struggled early, but regrouped before halftime with a 35-5 run to take a 48-25 lead into the locker room. However, the starting five began the second half with little energy or focus, prompting Coach Frese to resort to an unprecedented (as far we can recall) wholesale substitution of the entire lineup about two minutes into the half. Coach B didn't have to say anything to them; sitting all 5 down spoke for itself. The team continued to play unevenly, allowing the Spartans to close to 64-48, but another big offensive run allowed the Champs to roll to victory.

There were two aspects of tonight's game that were exceptional . . . The Terps set a Maryland record by making 12 (!!!) three-pointers, including four by Kristi Toliver (all in the first half) and three each by Ashleigh Newman and Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood (in her Comcast Center debut). In addition, the Terps were almost perfect from the free throw line, sinking 24 of 25.

In the first game of tonight's double-header, the Marist Red Foxes doused the Liberty Flames by a score of 76-43. As their prize for the win, the Red Foxes get to play Maryland on Saturday, the first time they have ever played any reigning National Championship team. Maryland and Marist will be playing the second game tomorrow, at approximately 6pm, while Liberty and UNCG will play the consolation match at 3:30pm.

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases


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