- The Washington Times - Monday, February 9, 2004

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

A week after Maryland coach Gary Williams addressed the Comcast Center crowd about its behavior, the Terrapins fans again were well behaved but somewhat subdued yesterday during a victory over Florida State.

The student section in particular came under scrutiny following the Jan.21 game against Duke when it chanted profanity at the Blue Devils’ J.J. Redick. Some students also had signs and T-shirts displaying vulgar messages toward Duke. The chants clearly were heard on ESPN’s broadcast, and the signs and T-shirts caused the network to refrain from crowd shots, a staple of college basketball broadcasts.

Williams, who spoke to the crowd and encouraged better sportsmanship before his team’s loss to N.C. State on Feb.1, believed the students were uncharacteristically quiet for that game, too.

There was a backlash by some students before and during the N.C. State game. Williams said some students didn’t attend the game against the Wolfpack as a show of protest against the university and the media.

Last week Williams urged the students to resume their enthusiasm and support, and yesterday Williams praised the crowd in his postgame interview, which is broadcast over the arena’s public address system.

“Thanks for coming out,” he said. “We have had some tough times out here, and to get this feeling [of support] really helps us play.”

There were a few handwritten signs of protest similar to the ones held up during the game against N.C. State. A student’s sign read “I disagree with that call” on one side and “Expletive” on the other.

The Terps have had crowd trouble in the past. In 2001, the mother of Duke player Carlos Boozer was hit with a water bottle during a game at Cole Field House.

Maryland again has started playing a videotaped message from Williams before games in which he encourages good sportsmanship.

The Terps’ next home game will be Feb.19 against Georgia Tech.

Jon Siegel

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