- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 24, 2005

Another flat start, another staggering comeback.

For the second straight round in the NIT, the Maryland Terrapins spotted a visiting opponent a double-digit lead in the first half. And for the second straight game, the Terps came back to win by a comfortable margin as Maryland beat Davidson 78-63 last night before 12,126 at Comcast Center.

Maryland used a 20-point run that bridged halftime - keyed by freshman James Gist - to erase a 34-18 deficit and advance to the NIT quarterfinals.

“I don’t really know what transpired at the beginning,” said Terps forward Nik Caner-Medley, who had 12 points and 11 rebounds. “We made some adjustments defensively and really turned the pressure up, and that changed things.”

The Terps will play host to Texas Christian on Saturday at noon for a trip to the semifinals in New York. Saturday’s winner will meet tonight’s Georgetown-South Carolina victor on Tuesday in Madison Square Garden.

Gist led the Terps with 15 points and seven rebounds. Sterling Ledbetter, filling in for injured point guard John Gilchrist, had a solid outing with 10 points and eight assists. And Ekene Ibekwe scored 11 points to go with nine rebounds, five blocks and two steals.

“The guys are learning things now that will help them next year,” said Maryland coach Gary Williams, whose Terps missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in 12 seasons. “There was pressure to make the NCAA tournament. We were down, but now we’re back.”

For the second consecutive game, Maryland (18-12) shook off a lackluster start - a stark contrast from other games in this disappointing season. The Terps allowed N.C. State and Clemson, among others, to take huge leads but failed to rally. But that changed against Oral Roberts in the NIT’s first round, when the Terps came back from a 13-point deficit.

Davidson (23-9) lost for only the second time in 20 games. The Wildcats went 16-0 in the Southern Conference but lost their NCAA tournament hopes after getting upset by North Carolina Greensboro in the conference tournament.

Brendan Winters scored 16 points for the Wildcats, who made just 10 of 35 3-pointers. Winters, the Southern Conference player of the year, had just three points at halftime after scoring 22 in the first round.

The Terps played a second game without Gilchrist, who sat on the bench in street clothes with a sprained ankle and wrist. However, Maryland may be starting its life without the star point guard, who has suggested he will enter the NBA Draft.

“This has been real big,” said Ledbetter, a junior-college transfer who started his second consecutive game. “I have been patient and waiting to get my chance. I am trying to make the most of it.”

Note - This was the first meeting between the two schools since Dec. 27, 1968 when coach Lefty Driesell led the Wildcats to an 83-69 victory. Driesell took the job at Maryland three months later. Driesell took Davidson to two Elite Eights in his nine seasons there.

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