- The Washington Times - Friday, November 9, 2001

NEW YORK For starters, this was a bust.
The Maryland Terrapins opened the season last night with their highest preseason ranking ever but didn't hold it for long as unheralded Arizona pulled a shocking upset.
The Wildcats used a stellar performance from point guard Jason Gardner combined with a sloppy performance from Maryland to stun the second-ranked Terps 71-67 in the semifinals of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at Madison Square Garden.
Maryland now will play in the consolation game tonight against No. 16 Temple, which lost to fifth-ranked Florida 72-64.
"We got outrebounded by a younger team and it hurts," Maryland center Lonny Baxter said. "We didn't execute, we didn't hit the boards well and it cost us. We have to get more focused and be ready to play tomorrow."
Arizona was a step closer most of the night and kept the Terps at bay with a confusing matchup zone. The Wildcats outscored Maryland 10-6 to take command after the Terps had battled to tie 61-61.
It was Gardner, the Wildcats' only returning starter, who nailed the go-ahead 3-pointer and turned it into a four-point play after Lonny Baxter barreled into him after the shot in front of Arizona's bench. Gardner, who finished with a game-high 23 points, made it 65-61 with 3:17 left, and the Wildcats led the rest of the way.
Juan Dixon led Maryland with 21 points, but the Terps struggled with shooting all night as Dixon found himself in foul trouble. Maryland shot 39 percent, and made only seven of 27 3-pointers and four of 12 free throws. Arizona outrebounded Maryland 46-40, led by Luke Walton with 12. The Wildcats outrebound the Terps 24-14 in the second half.
The Terps, fresh off their first Final Four appearance last season, couldn't muster another comeback, although Dixon did cut the deficit to 65-63. Maryland had a chance to tie after Rick Anderson was called for charging into Baxter, but Steve Blake badly missed a 3-pointer as the shot clock wound down.
Maryland cut the lead one last time to two at 67-65 on Chris Wilcox's layup with 1:45 left. But the Terps couldn't stop the Wildcats, who executed an inbounds pass for a score with :03 left on the shot clock. Freshman Isiah Fox caught the pass, and initially missed a layup before getting his own rebound and scoring to make it 69-65 with :44 left.
The Terps missed three shots before winning a jump ball, and Wilcox sank a baseline jumper to cut it to two with :04 remaining.
But Arizona inbounded the ball, freshman Anderson was fouled and made both free throws to ice the game.
Wilcox made a surprise start instead of Tahj Holden for the Terps and finished with 10 points. Blake, who struggled all night covering Gardner, had eight points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Baxter finished with 14 points and nine rebounds. Walton finished with 12 points for a double-double.
The Terps overcame sloppy play early in the second half with a 10-point run to give them a 58-57 lead with under seven minutes left. Dixon was the catalyst and began the stretch with two 3-pointers. Maryland found a seam in Arizona's match-up zone and cut the lead to three off an alley-oop from Wilcox to Baxter. A steal by Dixon led to a 3-pointer by Blake, and a layup by Baxter gave Maryland a one-point lead.
The Terps managed to tie the game at 33-33 at halftime despite struggling to shoot against Arizona's zone defense. Maryland shot 37 percent in the half, making just three of 15 3-pointers and two of eight free throws. Meanwhile, Gardner had 14 points as the quick point guard regularly beat Blake to the basket. The Terps had 12 offensive rebounds in the half, but only four points on follow shots.
Arizona used a 7-0 run near the end to build a 33-29 lead on Gardner's 3-pointer from the left side. But the Terps rallied to make it 33-33 after Baxter's slam off a Blake entry pass and pretty break as Drew Nicholas hit trailer Baxter in the lane for another dunk.
The Wildcats had shown their resiliency earlier in the first half as they scored seven straight points for a 20-20 tie. A putback by Walton cut the lead to five before a 3-pointer by Salim Stoudamire and short jumper by Gardner tied it.
Maryland started impressively when Blake hit Wilcox in transition, and the sophomore took off from the foul line before a hammering down a spectacular dunk to give Maryland a 2-0 lead.
The Terps later used a 14-6 run to build a seven-point lead. Two jumps shots by Byron Mouton started the stretch, and Dixon's second 3-pointer closed the run to give Maryland a 20-13 advantage.


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