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After Ibekwe is T'd up, Irish tee it off
BB&T Classic: Maryland vs. Notre Dame

 Maryland players console Ekene Ibekwe (center) after he got a technical foul. The foul led to a Notre Dame game-winning rally.
KEVIN WOLF/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Date published: 12/4/2006

By JIM McCONNELL

WASHINGTON--No. 23 Maryland was well on its way to a 9-0 record, leading Notre Dame 42-34 with 14 minutes left in the finale of yesterday's BB&T Classic tripleheader at Verizon Center.

Then forward Ekene Ibekwe blocked a shot by Russell Carter, got hit with a technical foul for taunting, and the Terps never recovered their mojo.

Point guard Kyle McAlarney scored 10 points in Notre Dame's 28-9 scoring run that followed Ibekwe's technical, and the Fighting Irish dealt Maryland its first loss of the season, 81-74.

"I was hoping for this group that we could get one this week to help their confidence and we got that tonight," Notre Dame coach Mike Bray said. "We took a lot of big punches from a very good basketball team, but I think we grew up a little and that's all you can ask in December."

McAlarney was 4-of-6 from 3-point range and scored 18 points for Notre Dame (6-1), which exploded for 52 second-half points. Rob Kurz added 16, Colin Falls had 15 and Carter 13.

Maryland (8-1) also placed four players in double figures, led by 16 points from D.J. Strawberry, but was unable to sustain the momentum after winning an ACC-Big Ten Challenge game at Illinois last week.

"You have to learn from wins and losses. We didn't do a good job of learning from the Illinois situation," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "We didn't play good defense, and we didn't have the intensity necessary to win."

Maryland got off to a slow start last night, missing its first three shots and turning the ball over three times. Notre Dame jumped out to a 7-0 lead before the Terps finally got on the scoreboard 3:10 into the game.

Still, the heavily partisan crowd of 16,294 roared its approval when freshman Eric Hayes hit a 3-pointer with four seconds left to give Maryland a 32-29 halftime lead.

The Terps extended the lead to eight on a 3-pointer by Strawberry, and that's where it stood when Carter drove to the basket and was emphatically denied by Ibekwe. The senior forward appeared to be celebrating his defensive effort when an official whistled him for a technical foul that Williams called "strange."


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12th ANNUAL BB&T CLASSIC

Notre Dame 81, No. 23 Maryland 74