Terps, Yellow Jackets ride big wins into weekend
By Ryan Young The Diamondback

College Park, MD (U-WIRE) -- The Terrapin men's basketball team faces a 2004 Final Four participant for the second game in a row Sunday when Georgia Tech visits Comcast Center.

Similarly to the Terps, the Yellow Jackets enter College Park off a win over a top five team. Entering its contest Thursday night against the Demon Deacons, Georgia Tech had lost three straight following an 11-2 start to the season.

The Terps entered Durham, N.C., on a down note Wednesday, but left rejuvenated after a 75-66 victory.

"This win is a definite boost to our confidence," junior point guard John Gilchrist said. "It's going to help us out. It's going to help our season in the eyes of many people who do the rankings and stuff like that. It's going to help us out at tournament time. It's a big win."

The upset over Duke also reasserted the Terps (12-5, 3-3 ACC) in the conference. The team had lost three of its past four ACC games before becoming the first to best the Blue Devils.


"I think you have to win a game against a class, quality team to have credibility in the league that you're a good team. I don't think there's any doubt about that," coach Gary Williams said.

The squad responded defensively after allowing N.C. State to shoot better than 48 percent from the field. Duke shot a season-low 33 percent (24 of 72), including a paltry 28 percent from 3-point range.

Ekene Ibekwe and Travis Garrison also responded after being removed from the starting lineup for the first time this season. The duo combined to score the Terps' final 11 points Wednesday.

Despite their impact at the end of the game, Williams said he didn't know if either would return to the starting lineup Sunday.

In Ibekwe's place, sophomore center Will Bowers made his first collegiate start, played a career-high 23 minutes and tied his personal best with seven rebounds.

"That was crazy. This is a great place to play," Bowers said afterward of Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium. "Everyone talks about how tough it is here because of the Cameron Crazies or whatever, but it just gets you pumped up, too. I've never felt so pumped up to start a game in my life."

After a shaky freshman season, Bowers has proven a capable option in the post for the Terps -- either off the bench or as a starter. He logged more than 20 minutes in three of the past four games.

The 7-footer should continue receiving significant playing time Sunday against a Georgia Tech team that features 7-foot-1-inch center Luke Schenscher.

Last season Schenscher averaged 11 points and 10.5 rebounds in two gmes against the Terps -- both Yellow Jacket wins.

TERP NOTES: The win over Duke moved Williams into fifth place all-time on the ACC's career victories list with 327. He trails former Terp coach Lefty Driesell by 21 wins for fourth place.

(C) 2004 The Diamondback via U-WIRE

Men's Basketball Home