Maryland Season Remains Strange

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Byline: Rick Snider, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

For Maryland, perhaps madness already has begun.

After several blowout losses, the Terrapins beat two ranked teams, escaping nemesis Duke with a last-minute win on the road and handling Georgia Tech at home Sunday. Maryland returned to the polls Monday following a month-long absence and appeared ready to march toward its 12th straight NCAA tournament bid.

A day later, Maryland was routed 88-73 by Clemson, the ACC's worst team, putting the Terps back on the bubble heading to Miami on Saturday.

Maryland (13-6, 4-4 ACC) never showed anything at Littlejohn Coliseum on Tuesday as Clemson jumped ahead 13-2. After rallying, Maryland missed its final 12 shots of the first half and trailed 45-29 at the break.

The Terps were ghosts wandering a half-empty arena instead of the conquerors of Cameron Indoor Stadium.

"We obviously weren't in a great frame of mind at the start of the game," coach Gary Williams said. "I hope we learned about getting ready to play. It's hard to play Sunday at 5:30, have to travel to Clemson and then play at 7 o'clock Tuesday. There's no room to say, 'Well, I wish we had another day.' We didn't."

The Tigers entered the game with a five-game losing streak but outplayed Maryland from tipoff to postgame celebration, when the few students in attendance swarmed midcourt, barely covering the Tiger paw. Clemson (11-10, 2-7 ACC) probably will end the season with a losing mark, but the highlight probably will be the victory that ended a 13-game losing streak to the Terps.

Maryland got little from its frontcourt as forwards Ekene Ibekwe and Travis Garrison fouled out with more than eight minutes remaining, and center Will Bowers had his second poor start. Combined, the trio mustered only 12 points and nine rebounds, while Clemson center Sharrod Ford had 25 points and 10 rebounds alone. …