- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Seen and heard last night at Comcast Center:
PARTY TIME: With most season-ticket holders stranded and free admission, Comcast Center turned into a spirited student party for Maryland-Wake Forest's ACC first-place showdown. Political pundit Robert Novak was probably one of the few fans who remembers the 1960s as the courtside student section stretched into the upper levels.
Students didn't need tickets and sat anywhere. Several even boldly took the expensive courtside seats. Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow said a state tax credit would be given season-ticket holders who didn't attend, though returned tickets will be refunded.
Security guards became show shovelers. Few concession stands opened. A long line of cars waited while bulldozers cleared the lots. The cheerleaders didn't even come. A flurry of e-mails helped to generate the crowd of 14,222.
"This is general insanity," Yow said. "I was amazed at the number of people."
Maryland officials expected to reschedule the game, especially since the home-court advantage of 17,950 was compromised by the late reshuffling. Another date was considered during a three-hour conference call between the schools and ACC officials. However, there wasn't a mutual opening before season's end.
ACC regulations don't permit postponements because of an expected small attendance. A 1996 league policy said the game must be played as long as both teams and officials are present. Wake Forest wasn't able to travel from a nearby hotel on Sunday because of a state ban on non-emergency vehicles.
SECRETARY OF HOOPS? Wake Forest leads the nation in rebounding margin (12.5) and is first in field goal percentage defense (39.5 percent) and second in scoring defense (70.0) in ACC games. However, coach Skip Prosser still was looking for some defensive help from some of Washington's political leaders.
"We may have to bring in [Secretary of State] Colin Powell to talk to our guys about defense or maybe [Secretary of Defense] Donald Rumsfeld," Prosser said.
Rick Snider

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