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March 15, 2007

Maryland rallies past fiesty Davidson

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- D.J. Strawberry waited three years to get Maryland back into the NCAA tournament. His patience paid off.

Strawberry, son of the former major league slugger, had 12 points and Mike Jones scored 17 to help the Terrapins hang on for an 82-70 win over Davidson on Thursday. Reserve forward Bambale Osby added 11 points and played a key role in sparking an 11-4 run that put the Terps ahead 69-63 with 7:27 remaining.

Freshman guard Stephen Curry scored 30 points for Davidson (29-5) before fouling out with 21 seconds left. The Wildcats had a 13-game winning streak snapped and also lost for only the second time in their past 27 outings.

Maryland (25-8) overcame an eight-point second-half deficit and outscored the Wildcats 24-11 over the final 10 minutes to advance to the second round for the 20th time in school history. The Terrapins rebounded after losing to Miami in the opening round of the ACC tournament.

It came as no surprise that Curry and Strawberry were dominant for their teams - both are sons of famous athletes. Curry's father is Dell Curry, the former NBA 3-point shooting expert.

Together, they helped produce a wildly entertaining game between two of the nation's top offensive teams, and a game that featured 14 lead changes.

The Terps went ahead for good courtesy of Osby, who was a force in the middle filling in after starter Ekene Ibekwe ran into foul trouble. Osby's putback with 9:53 remaining gave Maryland a 60-59 lead, and he followed that by scoring on a baseline drive. Then, after blocking Jason Richards' shot, Osby set up James Gist for an easy layup at the other end.

Curry was the star for Davidson, finishing two points short of a career high before running out of gas down the stretch. With the Wildcats down 75-68, Curry missed three consecutive attempts, part of a Davidson offense that managed just one basket - Curry's transition layup - in the final 5:51.

Curry received a standing ovation from both Maryland and Davidson fans.

Davidson, the Southern Conference champ, was making its ninth NCAA tournament appearance. But the Wildcats have lost seven straight first-round games, their last tournament victory coming in 1969 when they beat St. John's 79-69 in the East semifinals.

Maryland had six players with double-digit scoring, including Ibekwe, who had 11 points and added 10 rebounds.

Richards scored 11 for Davidson, while Boris Meno had nine rebounds.

The back-and-forth game reflected the high-tempo style played by both teams. Davidson entered the game averaging 81.7 points - seventh best in the nation - while the Terrapins had the 13th-best offense, averaging 79.5.

Maryland had a 44-43 halftime lead after a period that featured 10 lead changes.

Curry overcame a tough start. After missing three of his first four attempts, he hit four of his next five to finish with 18 points in the opening half. He also helped key a 13-2 run that put the Wildcats ahead 35-27 with 6:13 left in the first half.

The Terps then responded with a 10-0 run of their own, capped when Strawberry intercepted Richards' pass and laid it in for an easy basket.

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