CLEMSON, S.C. -- The smallest man on the court came up big at Littlejohn Coliseum last night.
Clemson junior guard Terrell McIntyre scored the last four points in regulation, then maneuvered the Tigers through overtime for a 78-65 victory over Maryland in the Terps' earliest Atlantic Coast Conference opener ever.
No. 23 Maryland (3-2, 0-1) lost its third straight at Clemson (4-2, 1-0), which had to show it really was good enough for its No. 17 ranking after losses to Gonzaga and Kentucky. The Terps, meanwhile have to wait more than three weeks for their next ACC game, Jan. 3 against No. 1 Duke.
McIntyre, 5 feet 9, got the Tigers some breathing room with a three-pointer with 3: 29 left in overtime. It was all they really needed, as Maryland was outscored 13-0 in overtime. The Terps had 27 turnovers.
Both teams had chances to win at the end of regulation, but Maryland point guard Terrell Stokes was called for a charge into Harold Jamison in the lane with 6.6 seconds left, and Clemson junior Doug Christie missed badly from the left corner at the buzzer.
"We played hard enough to win, but we weren't smart enough at the end. We have to get the ball inside and finish," UM center Obinna Ekezie said. "They stayed tough and got the ball inside and scored, and I wish we would have done the same thing. We got back in the game by going inside. In the end, we got away from that. It's the second game we got away from that. It cost us again. It's a game we should have won."
The Terps had a 65-61 lead with 1: 17 left in regulation, but McIntyre hit a three-pointer from the top of the key with a minute left, then got double-team help and forced a turnover by Maryland counterpart Stokes with 28 seconds left. He was fouled with 16.7 seconds left, and hit one of two free throws, forcing the overtime.
The Terps trailed 52-44 with just less than 10 minutes remaining but scored eight of the next 10 points. They went ahead 57-56 with 5: 48 left on Stokes' three-pointer from deep in the left corner. It came on an inbounds play, one of the few situations in which the Terps' prospered on offense.
That was the first of five lead changes in just over three minutes, the last coming when freshman forward Terence Morris grabbed a loose ball and hit a short jumper for a 61-60 lead. Ikur Iturbe tied it with a free throw, but then senior forward Rodney Elliott's follow of a Stokes' miss put the Terps back on top, and the lead grew to 65-61 when Laron Profit stripped Greg Buckner and fed Stokes for a breakaway lay-in.
It doesn't get any easier for Maryland, which faces No. 2 Kansas on Sunday in the semifinals of the Franklin National Bank Classic at the MCI Center in Washington.
Profit, who came in with a 21.8 scoring average that made him No. 2 in the ACC, was shut out in the first half because of two early fouls, and didn't get his first points until nearly three minutes into the second when he got the ball on the left side, drove past Buckner and banked in a shot over 7-footer Adam Allenspach to give the Terps a 36-33 lead.
It was one of the few instances in which Profit got the best of Buckner in the first 30 minutes. In addition to the defensive he put on Profit, the 6-foot-4 senior from Hopkinsville, Ky., had a game-high 21 points.
Profit said: "I don't really know what happened. Early on, they threw me out of my rhythm and I just couldn't hit shots. We had a great opportunity to win and we didn't, and I have to take a lot of responsibility for that."
Buckner's driving basket got the Tigers the lead at 37-36 with 15: 40 left. His then stripped Elliott, which led to a three-point play by McIntrye. The Terps got within three on freshman center Mike Mardesich's nice post move, but then Clemson built that 52-44 lead.
Considering that the Terps didn't get a single point from either Profit or Ekezie in the first half, they couldn't have been that displeased to be down 28-27 at the break, a lead the Tigers got on Buckner's hanging jumper in the lane with only two seconds remaining.
Maryland was cruising with a 19-11 lead, but then Clemson coach Rick Barnes used a TV timeout with 11: 35 remaining to put the Tigers into a zone. The Terps didn't solve it the remainder of the half.
The Tigers went on a 12-2 run over the next seven minutes, and Maryland's only points came on a Stokes layup after Clemson had thrown the ball away. The spurt ended with two three-pointers by Temple transfer Johnny Miller that put Clemson on top 23-21. But the Terps finally got something off of a set play when Stokes' three-pointer pushed them back in front with 4: 44 remaining.
The Terps looked every bit like a team playing for the first time in nine days at the opening tip. They failed to get off a shot on their first three possessions.
NOTES: The Terps failed to stop their losing streak against teams from the Carolinas. Maryland's last two losses of last season were to North Carolina State in the ACC tournament and the College of Charleston (S.C.) in the NCAA tournament. They began this season with an overtime loss to No. 5 South Carolina. Clemson's roster got thinner before the game. Freshman guard Jason Pryor decided to transfer to another school. The Florida Player of the Year last season, Pryor did not appear in the first five games.
Pub Date: 12/05/97