- The Washington Times - Friday, March 20, 2009

KANSAS CITY, Mo. | He’s listed at 6-foot-7, at least on a good day. And he isn’t particularly known for his dunking proficiency.

Still, Maryland forward Dino Gregory had more than enough hops to finish off California in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Gregory slammed home a miss with about five minutes left in Thursday’s 84-71 victory, elevating himself and the Terrapins into a second-round meeting with Memphis at Sprint Center.

“When I jumped, I thought I was going to tip it back in, and I brought it up to my head and put it back in,” Gregory said. “It was crazy.”

It was an otherwise typical game for Gregory, who is hardly a stat stuffer. His four points and five rebounds, though, were crucial as Maryland pulled away in the final 10 minutes. The sophomore also made a save of a loose ball earlier in the game, flipping it to Eric Hayes while falling out of bounds.

“He’s a spark plug off the bench, and when coach [Gary] Williams knows we need something, he’s going to put him in the game and Dino will make a great play for us,” senior forward Dave Neal said. “He had one play I saw where he looked like Dennis Rodman for a second. That’s what Dino will do.”

Bowie’s big day

Sophomore guard Adrian Bowie giddily scanned his phone in the locker room after Thursday’s victory to find plenty of well-wishers after he scored 12 points and matched a career high with seven assists.

“About nine texts and a few voice mails,” Bowie said. “I feel like a superstar right now.”

It’s a timely sensation for Bowie, who played 36 minutes - his most since Jan. 27 against Boston College. It was probably his best game since January as well.

Bowie emerged as an early surprise, seizing the starting point guard job in December and never relinquishing it. But his playing time diminished as the winter progressed, and he yielded more time to Eric Hayes, Sean Mosley and Cliff Tucker in the season’s final six weeks.

Thursday, though, provided a glimmer of the old Bowie. He twice gave Maryland the lead with drives to the basket in the second half, then added another toward the end of a 13-2 run that gave the Terps control of the game.

“I thought I was aggressive, and I felt I got my hand in on a lot of balls,” Bowie said. “I provided a spark for my team.”

Past and present

This tournament appearance is one that many who are associated with Maryland’s program are relishing more than any other since perhaps 1994. After Thursday, the similarities between the two teams got greater.

The 1994 team was a No. 10 seed sent to a Midwestern city (Wichita, Kan.) that pulled away for a first-round victory. The Terps’ reward that year? A meeting with second-seeded Massachusetts, then coached by John Calipari. Maryland proceeded to pull a surprise and win 95-87.

This season’s bunch is also a No. 10 seed in the heartland that stretched out its lead late against California in the first round. Awaiting the Terps in Saturday’s second round: second-seeded Memphis, a Calipari-coached team.

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