Manhattan edges listless Maryland by three in NIT

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- If the result of the game hinged solely
on talent, Manhattan probably wouldn't have stood a chance of
beating Maryland.

The Jaspers were far more inspired than the Terrapins, however,
and that's one big reason why Manhattan eliminated No. 1 seed
Maryland from the National Invitation Tournament with an 87-84
victory Saturday.

Jeff Xavier scored a career-high 31 points and Jason Wingate
added 21 for the Jaspers, who finished first in the Metro Atlantic
Athletic Conference before losing in the MAAC tournament.

Instead of sulking, Manhattan decided to make up for the
disappointment of missing the NCAA Tournament with an inspired
performance against an Atlantic Coast Conference foe.

"It's very rare that a team in the MAAC goes on the road to
beat an ACC team," Jaspers coach Bobby Gonzalez said. "The bottom
line is, it came down to who wanted to win the game more."

Angered over being left out of the NCAA Tournament, the
Terrapins (19-13) initially declined the NIT bid late Sunday night.
But coach Gary Williams reversed the decision after speaking with
NIT committee chairman C.M. Newton.

The disappointment, however, lingered.

"It was tough to refocus because we thought we should have made
the NCAA Tournament," Maryland senior Nik Caner-Medley said. "The
way we played today didn't prove it, but it was a tough, emotional
hit. It was tough to prepare, and I think Manhattan was looking
forward to it more."

Without question.

"This was monumental, and a national win," Gonzalez said.
"Maryland is a powerful program. We would kill for their eighth
man. But I'm sure they had a letdown because they didn't get into
the NCAA Tournament. We didn't get their A-game."

Manhattan (20-10) will next face Old Dominion on Monday night.
The Jaspers opened the NIT with an 80-77 win over Fairleigh
Dickinson, a team Maryland beat by 26 points in November.

Xavier went 12-for-24 from the field, made four 3-pointers and
sank all three of his foul shots in topping his previous career
high of 25 points.

Travis Garrison had 21 points and 12 rebounds in his final game
with Maryland and Caner-Medley added 16 on 6-for-16 shooting. The
Terrapins had 20 turnovers and were 3-for-13 from 3-point range.

The Jaspers led by 14 with 13 minutes left, then had four
players foul out. But Manhattan overcame that -- and some shoddy
free throw shooting -- to end the Terrapins' 29-game non-conference
home winning streak.

"In a game like that you expect Manhattan to play with a lot of
emotion. They did," Williams said. "We didn't play with enough
emotion. That can make the difference."

Maryland made a run at the end, but couldn't overcome its sins
over the first 35 minutes. Wingate missed the front end of three
straight one-and-one opportunities down the stretch before
seldom-used sophomore Franck Traore sank two free throws with 32
seconds left to make it 84-79.

"We really didn't have our heads into it. We made silly plays
the whole day," Maryland guard D.J. Strawberry said. "It was
frustrating, because we're a better team than that. We definitely
should have beat them."

Following an opening-round bye, the Terrapins displayed their
indifference in the first half, when the Jaspers used 16-for-33
shooting to take a 47-37 lead. It was the most points yielded by
Maryland in the first half this season.

The Terrapins opened the second half with a 6-0 run to close to
47-43 before Xavier scored eight points in a 14-4 surge that made
it 61-47.

It was 75-65 before a 3-pointer by Mike Jones and a layup by
Caner-Medley got the Terrapins within five points with 5:42 to go.
Xavier followed with a three-point play to ignite a 7-0 run that
gave the Jaspers enough breathing room to weather Maryland's last
comeback bid.

Playing in a half-filled arena, the Terrapins appeared lethargic
from the outset. They missed their first four shots, then built a
12-8 lead before Wingate scored seven points in a 17-3 spurt that
put Manhattan up by 10.

With 9 minutes gone, Maryland had seven turnovers and six