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Updated: Tuesday, February 1, 2005 11:09 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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Clemson 88, (24) Maryland 73

CLEMSON, South Carolina (Ticker) -- After taking two huge steps forward last week, Maryland and Nik Caner-Medley had a major setback against Clemson.

Caner-Medley scored just nine points as No. 24 Maryland had its 13-game winning streak against Atlantic Coast Conference foe Clemson snapped in an 88-73 loss.

The Terrapins, who dropped out of the top 25 a day after a crushing 109-75 defeat to North Carolina on January 8, returned to the USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll Monday after a pair of stellar ACC victories.

Holding its opponents to just 34 percent (50-of-146) shooting, Maryland knocked then-No. 2 Duke from the ranks of the unbeaten at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Wednesday and beat then-No. 21 Georgia Tech on Sunday.

In this one, it was the Terrapins (13-6, 4-4 ACC) that could not put the ball in the basket.

Maryland went without a field goal for the first three minutes as Clemson grabbed a 10-0 lead as Cliff Hammonds scored five points. Using a 12-2 run, the Terrapins pulled into the lead at 23-22 with 6:32 remaining, but missed their final 11 shots of the half.

"There is no question that our defense and rebounding were ahead of everything tonight," Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said. "We really played well in the first half on the defensive end and gave up only three or four offensive rebounds."

"I don't think that we were very good mentally at first, but you have to give Clemson credit for playing well and scoring early," Maryland coach Gary Williams said.

Forcing Maryland into numerous tough shots, Clemson held their opponent to 31 percent (10-of-32) shooting and stayed even with the Terrapins on rebounding at 21-21. Maryland entered the contest first in the ACC with 42.8 rebounds per game.

Clemson (11-10, 2-7) ended the opening half on an 18-3 run for a 45-29 lead. Sharrod Ford scored 13 of his career-tying 25 points in the first 20 minutes for the Tigers, who shot 52 percent (17-of-33) and scored 12 points off eight turnovers by the Terrapins.

"Ford killed us," Williams said. "We couldn't stop him. We played bad defense and then Clemson shot 50 percent from the floor, then we play bad offense and Clemson plays good defense. You have to give Clemson a lot of credit."

Caner-Medley, who entered the game averaging 24 points over his last five games, went scoreless in the opening 20 minutes, going 0-of-5 from the floor. The Terrapins as a team shot 39 percent (24-of-61) for the game.

"Defensively, we kept Caner-Medley scoreless in the first half and did a good job of keeping (John) Gilchrist out of the lane," Purnell said. "Sam Perry brought some energy for us on defense and gives us everything he has. It was a great team defensive effort."

In the second half, Clemson pushed its lead to 64-42 when Hammonds made two free throws with 11:12 left. Maryland got no closer than 15 points the rest of the night.

Ford shot 10-of-17 from the field and grabbed 10 rebounds to notch his third consecutive double-double. Shawan Robinson scored 22 points and Perry chipped in 14 for the Tigers, who shot 50 percent (34-of-68) to snap a five-game losing streak.

"We did a great job of handling their pressure all night and we were able to make some shots," Purnell said.

Freshman point guard Hammonds, the son of Georgia Tech great and former NBA player Tom Hammonds, finished with 10 points and seven assists against three turnovers for Clemson, which had 13 steals and scored 15 points off the 16 turnovers by Maryland.

Gilchrist scored 18 points and Chris McCray added 11 for the Terrapins, who dropped to 1-3 in conference road games.

Sterling Ledbetter, who provided the early spark with four points to help Maryland get back into the game after its slow start, scored 10 and Caner-Medley grabbed eight rebounds for the Terrapins, who will play at Miami on Saturday.


© 2005 STATS, Inc
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