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‘Shaq-less’ Terps hold off Bahamas All-Stars

Bahamian squad gave the NCAA D-I school all they could handle
  • Maryland University took on The Bahamas All-Stars during the BBF's 'Summer of Thunder' on Tuesday night. TORRELL GLINTON

Guardian Sports Editor

Published: Aug 07, 2013

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To the dismay of many, the star attraction didn’t suit up on Tuesday night because of a strained muscle in his lower back but the fans in attendance were still treated to a dandy of a game between the Maryland Terrapins and The Bahamas All-Stars.

The all-stars gave the NCAA Division I school all they could handle, even taking a second half lead at one point in the game last night, but they simply ran out of gas down the stretch to fall 92-84 on Day Five of the Bahamas Basketball Federation’s (BBF) 2013 ‘Summer of Thunder’ at the Kendal GL Isaacs National Gymnasium.

Quite a number of fans at the gym showed up to see Terps sophomore center Shaquille ‘Shaq’ Cleare, a native of North Andros here in The Bahamas. However, Cleare was restricted to bench duty due to tightness in his lower back. He is expected to miss both of Maryland’s remaining games on the ‘Summer of Thunder’ schedule.

“I’m just glad to be home. It’s just a great opportunity to be home - for my university to be here, and to play in front of the Bahamian fans,” said Cleare last night. “I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t get to play, but I have to save my back for the future. I’ll have a chance in the future to play in front on my family and in front of the Bahamian fans, and I’m looking forward to it, whenever that day comes.”

The Bahamas All-Stars trailed just 40-39 at the half last night, and were down 64-57 at the end of three.

They got within five points a couple times in the fourth, but could get no closer as the Terps feasted off some late turnovers and converted them into transition opportunities.

Jake Layman paced the Terps with a game-high 28 points last night. Dez Wells added 19 points and nine rebounds, and Seth Allen contributed 12. After the All-stars pulled with five points late in the fourth, Wells ignited a Terrapins’ run with three rim-rocking dunks - two in transition and the other, a one-handed alley-oop over the top of a defender.

Michael ‘Furley’ Bain scored 21 points to pace the All-stars last night. Gamaliel Rose and Jaraun ‘Keno’ Burrows scored 17 apiece, and D’Shan Taylor dropped in 13.

“Anytime you lose a game, as a coach you shouldn’t be happy. I’m not happy, but I’m proud of the way we competed,” said All-stars’ coach Mark Hanna last night. “We played tough, we fought hard, and we didn’t back down. Anytime you play against a team that big and that physical, after a while, the body shots will get to you and you will wear down. When I took my starters out, they started to pull away, but that was expected because I had a lot of guys in there from the junior national team. When the starters went back in, it was too late.

“A lot of our guys have high basketball IQ, so I expected that they would be competitive. They adjusted pretty well to the physical style of play and they were able to compete. It’s just that they wore down in the second half. Like I said, I’m not happy with the loss, but I can’t fault the effort that they gave me tonight.”

As for the Terps, they have missed the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament in each of the past three seasons. Cleare, who averaged 3.7 points and 2.7 rebounds as a freshman last year, said that he is ready to have a coming out party this year and lead the Terps to a strong season. He is confident that they could advance to the NCAA Tournament this coming school year.

The Terps will play the Commonwealth Bank Giants in their second game of the BBF’s ‘Summer of Thunder’ at 7 p.m. tonight, and the Grand Bahama All-stars in their final game at 11 a.m. on Friday morning.

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