- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 8, 2002

Notre Dame coach Mike Brey opened with a risky 2-3 zone, figuring it wouldn't take long before Maryland started beating it regularly. He figured wrong, so the Irish never switched.
Maryland shot a dismal 37 percent and never gained any offensive rhythm as Notre Dame stunned the No.9 Terrapins 79-67 in the BB&T; Classic yesterday before 15,778 at MCI Center. Maryland went scoreless for more than five minutes late in the first half and handed Notre Dame a 10-point halftime lead that was never really threatened.
"We wanted to see the other guys make shots," Brey said. "We wanted to see [Drew] Nicholas and [Steve] Blake make two in a row before we made adjustments."
He is still waiting.
Torin Francis scored 20 points to lead four Irish players in double figures. Matt Carroll added 19 and Dan Miller, who transferred to Notre Dame after playing three years at Maryland, scored 17 points against his former team.
Maryland (3-2) faces George Washington (3-2), a 100-92 loser to No.2 Texas (5-0), in the consolation game today.
The Terps' second straight loss left them more concerned about their poor effort than their poor shooting. Coach Gary Williams was upset he found "no magic" in any of the combinations he tried. The Terps often were outhustled by the Irish on the break and never beat the zone for more than a few straight possessions.
"This loss is a lot tougher to take because we didn't play hard in all facets," Nicholas said. "There haven't been too many times in my career that it happened. I don't understand why when we get in game situations we can't play hard."
Williams dismissed the idea that Notre Dame's zone caused Maryland's woes, but the Terps missed nine 3-pointers in the first half and seldom penetrated for easy inside shots. Williams was more upset that his team didn't pass enough to create open chances.
"We couldn't make a shot," he said. "We didn't have the patience when we weren't shooting well to make the extra pass. They could have played any zone, and we wouldn't have had any better results. You have to be tough enough to run the offense properly. Then we started jacking it up too quickly."
Nicholas shot poorly for the second straight game, hitting two of eight and missing all five of his 3-pointers. He finished with 11 points. Blake led the Terps with 15, while forward Tahj Holden scored 13 points with eight rebounds.
"Sometimes you just can't put the ball in the basket," said Blake, who scored only two first-half points before leading a brief late charge.
Williams even tried multiple combinations to revive the offense. He used 11 players, started freshman forward Nik Caner-Medley and gave freshman Travis Garrison 20 minutes off the bench.
"We're just trying to get the right mix of players who are going to go out there and play hard every game. We didn't do that," Williams said.
The Terps trailed 35-25 at halftime because they were unable to shake the Irish's aggressive zone or stop Notre Dame's 3-pointers.
Notre Dame (7-1) used a 9-0 run, all the points by Francis, to take a 28-20 lead with 3:22 remaining. Torin scored all those points inside after the Irish relied heavily on 3-pointers earlier in the game. Notre Dame didn't even hit a two-point field goal until 9:54 remained in the first half. It used four 3-pointers for a 13-10 lead with 11:41 left.
Maryland struggled inside until Holden scored three straight baskets for an 18-17 lead. However, the Terps soon went 5:04 without scoring, turning a 20-19 lead into a 28-20 deficit before Blake finished a fastbreak.
"We gave up dunks early in transition, and that hurt us the most," Holden said. "Give a team confidence that it can shoot the ball and you're going to lose."
Maryland's only serious second-half run came when it scored the first five points after the break. Notre Dame countered with five unanswered points to start an 18-7 run for a 53-37 lead with 11:48 remaining. The Terps then scored seven unanswered points capped by Blake's 3-pointer as the pro-Maryland crowd sensed a comeback. Instead, Notre Dame soon scored nine straight, most of them inside, for a 63-46 edge.

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