- The Washington Times - Friday, November 12, 2004

At this point, Maryland’s just hoping it doesn’t get undressed in its final rehearsal for the regular season.

The No.15 Terrapins play Carleton University of Canada in an exhibition today at Comcast Center. After a surprisingly close 100-85 victory over Bryant University on Nov.5, Maryland spent the past week working on defense. Coach Gary Williams doesn’t want to see another uninspired effort in the team’s last exhibition before it opens the season against Jackson State on Friday night.

“We shouldn’t have wake-up calls,” Williams said. “Maybe you need them, but everybody knows the deal with the ACC and who we play in December. If we needed it, it was a good wake-up call, but I was disappointed we needed a wake-up call.”

Said guard Mike Jones: “The first game of the season is always a wake-up call whether you play well or bad. We underestimated Bryant a little bit … but now we have to look at every team like they’re ACC teams.”

Williams spent the week telling players defense is 75 percent effort and 25 percent ability. That means the Terps need to pressure ballhandlers more and jump into passing lanes.

“Everything picked up more,” forward James Gist said of recent workouts. “Gary got more fired up. It seemed like how practice should be from now on. We were going hard constantly.”

After nearly a month of practice, Williams has seen steady improvement. The Terps should be ready for seven nonconference games before meeting Florida State on Dec.19 in their ACC opener. Maryland plays back-to-back games against Memphis and Wisconsin before a possible matchup with Michigan State in the BB&T; Classic final Dec.5.

“I was worried we had stopped improving,” Williams said. “But we got better this week and hopefully will do it against next week before playing Jackson State.”

Meanwhile, Williams said he purposely hasn’t scouted Carleton, the defending two-time Canadian national champions who won 50 straight games entering this season. The Ravens are 8-5 in exhibitions, losing 82-33 to Old Dominion on Thursday.

“If you don’t know the plays the other team’s going to run, then you have to rely on your defensive principles,” Williams said. “You can’t cheat plays.”

Notes — Guard Sterling Ledbetter is limited by a bruised calf. … The Terps secured a verbal commitment from junior forward Eric Hayes of Potomac (Va.) High for the 2006-07 season.

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