Jan. 22, 2000
By DAVID GINSBURG AP Sports Writer
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) – Playing without Terence Morris was no problem for No. 24 Maryland, which simply turned up the defense and unleashed freshman Tahj Holden on unsuspecting Clemson.
Holden had 12 points and 10 rebounds in his first career start and the Terrapins allowed only eight first-half baskets Saturday in handing the Tigers a 74-62 loss, their sixth straight.
The Terrapins (13-5, 2-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) prevailed despite the absence of Morris, who sprained his left ankle Wednesday against Wake Forest. Morris, Maryland’s No. 2 scorer, had played in 83 straight games, including 51 consecutive starts.
“Playing without a (preseason) All-American, before the game I was very concerned,” Maryland coach Gary Williams said.
Holden performed more than adequately in his place. Holden, a 6-foot-10 freshman, backed up a 17-point performance against Wake Forest with his first career double-double and also blocked five shots.
“I guess I made a little statement that I can do a little bit of everything,” Holden said.
He certainly isn’t lacking in confidence, either.
“I guess you can say I did anticipate it because I look at myself as one of the better players around,” Holden said. “Coming into the ACC I wasn’t really backing down to anybody. I pretty much expected myself to compete at this level. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have came here.”
Andrius Jurkunas scored 16 for Clemson (6-12, 0-5). The Tigers, who last lost their first five ACC games in 1993, are winless since Dec. 29.
Will Solomon, who came in averaging an ACC-best 21.6 points per game, scored 12 on 4-for-14 shooting. The Tigers, who have yet to have a full compliment of scholarship players at a practice this season, started a smaller lineup in anticipation of the tenacious Maryland press.
But Clemson still had 17 turnovers, including six by Solomon.
“Their halfcourt pressure was excellent,” coach Larry Shyatt said. “Credit Maryland’s strength and aggressiveness.”
Juan Dixon scored 18 points and Danny Miller 15 for the Terrapins, who have won two straight after a three-game skid.
“It’s a good feeling to be kind of back in the mix,” Williams said. “We can’t do anything about the way we started, but we can do something from here on out. There are some pretty big games coming up and this past week was very important to us.”
The Terrapins shot just 40 percent and made only 10 of their school-record 31 attempts from 3-point range. But Maryland became the third team to outrebound Clemson (41-38) and held the Tigers to 30 percent shooting in the decisive first half.
After falling behind 38-22 at halftime, Clemson closed to 52-41 with eight minutes left. Maryland erased any doubt with a 9-0 run to go up by 20.
“We were really getting shots and I felt that if we kept executing, we would really be in good shape,” Shyatt said. “But we missed shots down the stretch.”
The Tigers got the first basket of the game, but that was their only lead. The Terrapins scored the next 10 points and led 15-6 after holding Clemson to 2-for-13 shooting.
It was 17-11 before Drew Nicholas and Miller made successive 3-pointers to put Maryland up by 12.
Solomon’s first two shots were air balls, and he was 0-for-5 before finally connecting with 2:47 left in the first half. The 17-footer made it 28-17, but Dixon followed with a 3-pointer and Miller got a putback to boost the margin to 16.
Maryland freshman Steve Blake shadowed Solomon for much of the game, with exceptional results.
“Coming into the game I knew he was going to shoot a lot and I knew I just had to keep pressure on him and not let him get the ball back every time he gave it up,” Blake said. “It was just a good defensive effort by the whole team.”
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