Williams warns Terps: Beware of Bears


Let the favorite beware.

That is the message Maryland coach Gary Williams hopes his undefeated team received Thursday night in an 89-80 victory over UMBC that showed the young Terrapins' vulnerability to an early-season upset.

"We might not know yet what it takes to play against everybody," Williams said. "We can get up and play against Georgetown, but not other teams [of lesser caliber].

"We're not the type of team that rolls over people because of our size and strength, and we can't expect to walk over teams because we beat Georgetown. We have to realize how up they're going to be for us."

Three sophomores and two freshmen start for the Terrapins, who get an opportunity to apply lessons learned tonight at Cole Field House against Morgan State.

On paper, this looks like a greater mismatch than the seasoned Retrievers presented, and a rerun of their last meeting, a 103-63 Maryland romp, is entirely possible.

But only if the Terps bear down.

"We got a little name for ourselves, and now teams are pumped up for us," said freshman Keith Booth, a Dunbar High graduate. "If we're not ready, some team could get a win on us."

As an All-American prep player, Booth performed many times at Morgan, often before sellout crowds in battles against Lake Clifton. His second straight game against a Baltimore opponent will be a little special.

"I'll be pumped up for Morgan, but one guy is not enough," he said. "We're young, and everybody has to be ready. Coach is really stressing going into every game with the correct mental approach."

This will be the fifth game in nine days for Maryland, which is on the threshold of breaking into the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time since the beginning of the 1985-86 season.

Morgan figures to be in a bearish mood after losing at home to Division II Bowie State, but coach Michael Holmes has his own problems with four new starters, Terrance Hunter injured again and Kevin Young trying to qualify academically.

"We started Nov. 1 with seven players. Our front line didn't even practice the first couple of weeks," Holmes said. "So, we're going to be really tested by Maryland.

"Their kids are freshmen, but they've been playing since they were 7 or so. Joe Smith came out of Norfolk, a hotbed for talent, and Keith [Booth] has played against older guys all his life."

Point guard Chico Langston is the catalyst for the Bears, who are trying to jell. "We're not making any excuses for our loss to Bowie," Holmes said. "We're going in there [Cole] to be competitive and try to win.

"I know those Terrapins will be snapping at us. They're on fire after beating Georgetown. But if they bite on us too hard, they might be biting a claw or two."

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