Saturday, March 20, 2004

Maryland sets sights on 'Cuse's sharpshooter

The Associated Press

DENVER - Maryland doesn't need to study game film to figure out where its focus needs to be against Syracuse. The way Gerry McNamara shoots in the NCAA Tournament, it's obvious.

Sure, the Terrapins will need to pay attention to Hakim Warrick and some of the other Orangemen, but stopping the sharp-shooting McNamara will be a top priority in the second round of the Phoenix Regional.

It won't be easy.

McNamara made a name for himself in last year's NCAA championship game, hitting six 3-pointers against Kansas to help Syracuse win its first national title. He kept it going in Thursday's first round against Brigham Young, adding nine more 3s and scoring 43 points in an 80-75 victory.

McNamara is 15-for-23 from 3-point range in his last two NCAA Tournament games.

"I don't think you have to be a basketball coach to realize you have to stop McNamara after what he did," Maryland coach Gary Williams said Friday. "That was one of the great shows I've ever seen."

The Orangemen (22-7), the fifth seed, might need an encore to get by fourth-seeded Maryland.

The Terrapins (24-7) were in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a decade but closed the season with wins over North Carolina State and Virginia before beating three ranked teams to win the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament as the No. 6 seed.

Maryland didn't slow down once the NCAA Tournament started, hitting key shots down the stretch to hold off pesky Texas-El Paso 86-83 in Thursday's first round.

The Terps are young, with four sophomores starting and Mike Grinnon the only holdover from the 2002 championship team, but they're confident and athletic. Maryland also has never lost to Syracuse in five tries, with the most recent win coming in 1980.

"It's not one or two guys that you can stop and think you're going to be all right," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "They've got different guys that can hurt you. Their size hurts us, their depth hurts us and just the level that they've played at the last three weeks at times has been higher than anybody in the country."

The game will be just the third between the two previous national champions in NCAA Tournament history and first since 1994 champ Arkansas beat 1993 title winner North Carolina in the 1995 semifinals.

The second game today in Denver pits Texas (24-7) against North Carolina (19-10) in the Atlanta Regional. The teams don't have much of a history - North Carolina leads the series 2-1 - but Longhorns coach Rick Barnes certainly has had his run-ins against the Tar Heels.

Barnes coached four years at Clemson before moving to Austin in 1998 and his feisty nature rubbed North Carolina and its fans the wrong way.

NCAA TOURNAMENT (Special section)
XU: Musketeers fight back to advance
Patient Sato picks his spots, hits his shots
UC: Bobbitt hits game-winner
Daugherty: Little guy not so little in Tourney
ETSU's Smith plays big
Hicks gets job done as Bearcats' stealth sub
UK: 'Cats pull away in 2nd half to win
Hayes just misses triple-double
Murray St. gets taste of Illini's Big Ten
Cowboys get Sutton's angry halftime message
Wolfpack uses defense to subdue Ragin' Cajuns
Pacific waves goodbye to 5th seed Providence
Maryland sets sights on 'Cuse's sharpshooter
Calhoun could do without matchup
NCAA Tournament at a glance
It's not exactly home, but it's close for the Buckeyes
Tournament chase is all about class
Team by team in the women's field
WNIT: Scoring drought ends MU's season
Victory sends Wilmington to title game

Reds pitcher lost for season
2003 Reds finances may have finished in the black
Inside Reds camp
Lidle in Opening Day hunt
Aching Nixon, Garciaparra out of action for Red Sox

Bengals, Sapp close in on deal
It's official: Keyshawn, Parcells reunited

MND plays nation's top-ranked team for state title
C-J storms into Division I title game
Colonels discover that the 3 is king
Royals win one for the ages
Mason Co. pushed to the 3-OT brink
Prep sports results, schedules

Silver Minister, Bejarano aim to play spoiler

Maruyama moves ahead
Sports digest
Sports this weekend on TV, radio