COLLEGE PARK -- The tape must stay.
That was the discovery Laron Profit made about his sprained right thumb last night after he clanked a three-pointer off the backboard and missed two other shots in a dismal 0-for-3 first-half shooting performance that sent him dejectedly to the bench.
"I thought I could come out and play without the tape on my thumb tonight," said Profit. "But I couldn't catch the ball right or shoot without it. I put the tape on for the second half, and it felt much better. They tell me it's going to take three weeks for my thumb to get completely better, so I might as well get used to the tape."
Profit tossed in three shots from beyond the arc in the second half to account for all nine of his points last night, but still there is some concern over the injury.
"It might be bothering him," said Terps coach Gary Williams after the game. "He could answer that better than anyone else. But he did hit three threes in the second half, so it must not be too bad. It's just one of those things you have to go out and play with."
Senior point guard Terrell Stokes said: "Laron's been bothered by it. Anytime you have a thumb injury on your right hand and you have to shoot and catch the ball, it's tough."
Profit originally injured the thumb against Georgia Tech last week at Cole Field House, but kept on playing in that game.
When the Terps traveled to Clemson Sunday and pulled out an overtime victory over the Tigers, Profit wore the tape and scored 15.
But last night, Profit wanted to give it a try without the tape, and the move backfired.
However, the senior forward's teammates helped bail him out with 62.3 percent shooting from the field on the way to a 107-87 rout over Florida State at Cole Field House.
Stokes set up many of the high-percentage shots for Maryland last night with nine assists that enabled him to pass John Lucas (514) for second place on the all-time school assists list.
Stokes raised his total to 516, which is far behind Terps career leader Keith Gatlin (649).
"When I first came here, my goal was to pass a great player like John Lucas," said Stokes. "And now that I've accomplished it, I feel really great to be in the same class with a John Lucas. More than 500 assists is really a lot. Lucas was a great passer. I love to pass the ball."
Williams once again shook his head in disbelief over the lack of recognition that Stokes receives. "He just doesn't get the credit, but he's as important to our team as anybody," said Williams. "He's as unselfish a point guard as I've seen. Terrell has been a program player."
Like anybody else, Stokes said, he wants to be recognized for his accomplishments, but he will not lose a lot of sleep over it.
"The people who know basketball believe in me," said Stokes who had five turnovers last night. "All I can do is keep going out and playing my game and hope that people will realize the job I'm doing. When we win, I believe Gary and I get the credit as the coach and point guard, and when we lose, I feel we both take the blame. So it's simple. Just keep on winning."
Pub Date: 1/28/99