Georgia Tech couldn't overcome foul trouble or Maryland's Jordan Williams on Sunday night. The Terrapins' center caused the Yellow Jackets all sorts of issues on defense, scoring 21 points and grabbing 15 rebounds to lead his team to a 74-63 win.
The loss snapped a three-game home winning streak for the Jackets (10-10, 3-4 ACC). North Carolina, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech had shot a combined 31 percent in the Jackets' previous three games at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
Maryland had no such trouble, mostly because of Williams, a sophomore and candidate for conference player of the year honors. He entered the game tied for the NCAA lead in double-doubles with 17 on the strength of 17 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. He had his 18th double-double a few minutes into the second half. He hit eight of his 12 shots.
"He got them established in the game, and all the rebounds and put-backs kind of got us on our heels," Tech coach Paul Hewitt said. "He establishes a presence around the basket that we just didn't have an answer for."
Williams also got Tech's Daniel Miller into foul trouble. The 6-foot-11 center picked up his second foul trying to stop a Williams layup with 15:50 remaining. Things got worse a minute later when Kammeon Holsey, the last big man that Tech had left, picked up his second foul, both coming on the offensive end. The foul forced Holsey to the bench and made coach Paul Hewitt go with a small lineup. Five Jackets had two fouls by the end of the first half.
It took less than a minute into the second half for Miller to collect his third foul, and he was whistled for his fourth with 14:34 remaining and Tech trailing 49-44.
"He is a big, good player and I came out and didn't do my assignment, which was to front him and keep him off the boards," Miller said. "I just have to focus and be ready all the time. There's lots of players like him out there."
The foul-ridden Jackets couldn't stop the Terrapins inside. Maryland scored all 35 points in the first half in the lane or at the free-throw line. The streak stretched to the Terps' first 57 points, and finally was broken on a jumper from Sean Mosley from just outside the lane that gave the Terps a 59-48 lead with 10:29 left. The Terps didn't hit a 3-pointer.
Williams, at 6-10 and 260 pounds, followed with a one-handed dunk to give the Terrapins a 13-point lead, their largest to that point, with 10:01 remaining. It also re-started the points-inside bonanza, which, combined with the foul line, topped out at 72.
"Pretty typical game for him," Maryland coach Gary Williams said of Williams.
Tech cut Maryland's lead to 65-59 on Lance Storrs' 3-pointer with 4:13 remaining. Iman Shumpert stole the ball, but was called for carrying it. The Terps missed a fast-break layup on their next possession. Mfon Udofia drained a jumper at the free-throw line on Tech's next possession to to cut the deficit to 65-61 with 3:30 remaining. But two free throws and another Williams layup increased the lead to 69-61 with 2:14 left.
The Jackets were trying to keep their home streak going without two key players: center Nate Hicks, who is out 2-3 weeks (appendectomy), and guard/forward Brian Oliver (flu). Tech needed Oliver for his shooting. After struggling with his shot for most of the season, the sophomore scored 28 points in a win over Virginia Tech on 11-for-18 accuracy. The Jackets needed the 6-10 Hicks for his defense on Williams.
"Having Nate might have helped, but I thought we had enough to win this game," Hewitt said. "I was very confident because of how we were attacking our assignments the last few games."
About the Author