KANSAS CITY, Mo. —- The media was starting to clear out of the Maryland locker room when forward Dave Neal called out for a couple ice packs for his knee.
The Terrapins’ resident graybeard —- or “Grand Pa-Pa,” as Neal himself said jokingly —- is the old man in the room. But in reality, he’s been as lively as anyone since March arrived.
It was startling to look at yesterday’s postgame notes and see Neal had 15 double-digit scoring games in his career, all this season. Six of them have come since the start of March.
He averaged 7.5 points coming into March. He’s been tossing up 12.3 a game ever since.
There’s no obvious explanation for it, perhaps other than a smart, decisive approach reflected by his 54.0 percent shooting (34-for-63) in that span.
As a result, the ice packs are well-earned —- and the pain a little easier to ignore —- as the Grand Pa-Pa heads into round two of the postseason.
—- Patrick Stevens