- The Washington Times - Friday, January 17, 2003

The ACC is investigating Maryland coach Gary Williams' charge that an official intimated retaliation in a coming game during the final moments of the Terrapins' 81-72 loss to Wake Forest on Wednesday night in Winston-Salem, N.C.
ACC associate commissioner Fred Barakat declined comment yesterday other than to say the league would have a decision soon after reviewing the incident. Barakat wouldn't offer a timetable or details of talks with Williams, saying the league wanted first to understand events completely.
Williams claimed during postgame interviews that one official, whom he wouldn't name, said he'd "see us next week" without indicating whether it would be for Maryland's game at North Carolina on Wednesday or at Clemson on Jan.25.
ACC sources said Williams was referring to Doug Chowes, who called technicals on the coach and senior point guard Steve Blake. Both calls came in front of Maryland's bench during the second half. The one against Blake occurred with 16 seconds left and the Terps trailing 79-72.
By complaining, Williams ended his long public silence on officiating, saying ACC policy no longer seemed restrictive after Virginia coach Pete Gillen wasn't censured for criticizing officials. Earlier in the week, Georgetown coach Craig Esherick wasn't penalized by the Big East for saying refs weren't adequately protecting Hoyas standout Mike Sweetney in a game against West Virginia a MCI Center.
Williams didn't criticize the game's calls that sent Wake Forest to the foul line 42 times to Maryland's 18. But he did say, "I'm a little tired of that supposedly there's rules in the ACC about coaches commenting after games about officials, [but] it seems like it's OK if you do it."
The bitter loss even spilled over to the postgame. Players were involved in a shouting match, and Wake Forest band members were moved away from the court when Maryland's players headed for the locker room.
"It was emotional," Blake said. "[Wake Forest] came at us hard."
But Maryland must quickly overcome that emotion and get ready for No.1 Duke tomorrow at Comcast Center. The No.17 Terrapins (9-4) could fall from the Top 25 for the first time since Nov.15, 1999, if they lose to the Blue Devils (12-0).
Maryland beat six No.1 teams at Cole Field House since 1959, including Duke last season, but the Terps are 0-4 against ranked teams this season. Though Maryland's field goal defense (35.3 percent) leads the nation and the team is second in steals, the Terps have lacked a finishing run in close losses.
Cutting No.19 Wake Forest's 16-point lead to two with 2:43 remaining after a 26-12 streak, coupled with the emotional finish, could re-energize Maryland. Afterward, players appeared more frustrated than disappointed.
"We showed some signs of being able to come back in a tough situation, and hopefully we'll learn from that," Blake said. "[Duke] is a huge game for both programs. I look forward to it."
Said forward Tahj Holden: "We were obviously a better team when we played like that for the five or 10 minutes [it took the Terps to rally]. We should have come out with that effort at the beginning of the game."
Certainly, Maryland will be backed by a fanatical crowd of 17,950 tomorrow for the hated Blue Devils' first visit to Comcast Center. Students have worn anti-Duke shirts since the season's start in anticipation of the game. Duke beat Maryland three of four last season, with the only loss coming at Cole.
Maryland needs stronger efforts from freshmen forwards Nik Caner-Medley and Travis Garrison to counter Duke guard J.J. Redick, whose 34 points in a 104-93 victory over Virginia on Wednesday broke the school scoring record for freshmen. Caner-Medley scored only four points and Garrison none in a combined 19 minutes against Wake Forest.
"That's the edge that Maryland and Duke have in the league," Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser said. "We all have young players, but they have veteran guys around their young guys. Maryland has great synergy between veteran guys and young players. They seem to be playing well together."
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said the Maryland game will help gauge whether the Blue Devils can win their second national title in three years.
"I don't know if we've reloaded," he said. "I don't think we're a dominant team. We're hoping to be a good one. We'll find out against the competition the next two weeks how good we'll become."
After tomorrow's game, Duke plays at N.C. State on Wednesday and Georgia Tech at home Jan.25.


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