They have fallen to fourth in the Atlantic Coast Conference standings. They have fallen to 10th in the national rankings. But now the Maryland Terrapins have something to fall back on in preparation for Thursday's game against Florida State at Cole Field House.
Maryland coach Gary Williams gave his Terrapins two days off after Saturday's 80-68 defeat at Clemson, the first time he has had that luxury in a while and perhaps the last time he will be able to do it for the rest of the regular season.
But with the time off comes the expectation, at least from its coach, that Maryland should be able to play the kind of basketball it did until losing three of its last four ACC games.
"You look at 7-4 [in the ACC] and we're in pretty good shape," said Williams, whose Terrapins are 18-5 overall and also will play a nonconference game Saturday against red-hot Massachusetts in Worcester, Mass.
"But Thursday night will have a lot to say on where we stand. We've got a chance to come out and give them our best shot, to be mentally and physically ready."
The Terrapins received good news Sunday when X-rays on sophomore point guard Terrell Stokes' right foot turned out negative. Stokes appeared to sprain the ankle in the closing seconds Saturday, but the injury turned out to be to the foot itself.
The defeat by the Tigers didn't hurt Maryland that much. The Terrapins fell three spots in the national rankings, Clemson moved up from 10th to seventh and Duke, off the strength of its upset of Wake Forest, went from eighth to sixth. Despite the loss, the Demon Deacons remained No. 2 behind Kansas.
"Every team in our league seems to have gone through a stretch like ours," said Williams. "North Carolina started out that way. Wake Forest had a little lull. Clemson and Duke lost a few games. In a league like the ACC, you try not to get carried away with any one game. You just move on."
NOTE: Maryland's trip home from Clemson proved as arduous -- and quite a bit longer -- than the time the Terrapins spent at Littlejohn Coliseum. After leaving the arena around 3 p.m., the team's flight was delayed for more than an hour and then diverted by bad weather to Atlantic City, N.J. From there, the Terrapins bused home, arriving in College Park at around 12:30 a.m. Sunday.
Pub Date: 2/11/97