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Updated: Saturday, December 7, 2002 8:10 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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Notre Dame 79, (8) Maryland 67
MARYLAND TERRAPINS
Maryland Terrapins
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NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
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WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Dan Miller showed Gary Williams he could produce on the court.

Miller exacted a measure of revenge against his former coach, helping Notre Dame post another impressive win, a 79-67 victory over No. 8 Maryland in the first round of the BB&T Classic.

Miller began his collegiate career with Maryland, starting every game in his sophomore season. In his junior season, Williams relegated Miller to the bench and he transferred to the Fighting Irish.

On Saturday, Miller got his first crack at his old team and was booed nearly every time he touched the ball. But he put the boos out of his mind, scoring 17 points, including a key 3-pointer with under five minutes left that all but sealed the victory for Notre Dame.

"It definitely wasn't just any other game," Miller said. "It was a game I was looking forward to for a year and a half."

Miller also said he was not bothered by the crowd.

"Boos and stuff don't bother me," Miller said. "I expected them when I came in. I just shake it off."

Freshman Torin Francis scored 20 points to lead Notre Dame (7-1), which beat a top-10 team for the second time in six days. The Fighting Irish rolled to a 92-71 win over No. 10 Marquette on Monday.

"It's a great win for us," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "For this team in December, we're still trying to figure out our identity.

"One of the challenges we set for ourselves was we did what we did Monday against Marquette. We played very similarly Monday night, but now could we take it on the road in someone else's building? We knew Maryland would have more fans and be poised. I thought we did that for 40 minutes. It was a great team effort, and it's something to build on."

The Fighting Irish get another chance to dethrone a power on Sunday, when they meet second-ranked Texas in the championship game.

Steve Blake netted 15 points to lead defending national champion Maryland (3-2), which suffered its second straight loss. The Terrapins endured an 80-74 overtime loss to Indiana on Tuesday.

Maryland, which has lost consecutive games for the first time since February 2001, meets George Washington on Sunday in the consolation game.

"We're in a situation where we're trying to see how we're going to play this year after losing four starters from last year," Williams said. "We're just trying to get the right mix of players who are going to go out there and play hard every game. Today we didn't do that. We don't have much time to get ready for tomorrow, but hopefully we'll come out with more energy."

Francis and Miller led the way in the first half, combining for 25 points, helping Notre Dame build a 35-25 lead. The Fighting Irish closed with a 16-5 run over the final 7:18 of the half.

Notre Dame was able to build its lead while getting no production from electrifying point guard Chris Thomas, who went scoreless and missed all five of his shots in the half.

Maryland struggled the entire half on the offensive end of the floor, shooting just 29 percent (11-of-38) while missing all nine of its 3-pointers. The Fighting Irish went 5-of-15 from the arc.

Williams criticized his club's performance on the offensive end.

"We just couldn't make a shot, we didn't have the patience to make the extra pass," Williams said. "I think without offense we could have had better results, because we weren't willing to work hard to run our offense. There is no magic. You have to work hard every year, you have to create a team each year."

Drew Nicholas scored the first three points of the second half and Tahj Holden made a basket inside, pulling the Terrapins within 35-30.

But the Fighting Irish were able to regain control, using an 11-4 to take a 46-34 with 14:21 remaining on a two foul shots by Thomas.

Thomas controlled the tempo in the second half and finished with 10 points and nine assists. He battled through a tough shooting game as went just 3-of-14 from the floor.

A 3-pointer by Matt Carroll, who scored 19 points, gave the Fighting Irish a 53-37 cushion with 11:52 remaining.

Showing some of their championship mettle, the Terrapins tried to rally, pulling within 54-46 with 9:09 to play on a turnaround jumper by Tahj Holden.

Notre Dame showed some toughness of its own, reeling off the next seven points, capped by Carroll's layup off a pass from Thomas for its biggest lead at 63-46 with 6:42 remaining.

The Fighting Irish executed their offense in the second half, shooting 50 percent (14-of-28).

Miller, who used to go by the first name Danny at Maryland, provided the dagger with 4:26 remaining, drilling a 3-pointer from the left side that made it 70-55.


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