(DiamondbackOnline.com) Dixon remains positive despite loss
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March 11, 2002
Dixon remains positive despite loss
Senior guard says loss may be just what Terps needed to stay focused
By Patrick Stevens
Diamondback staff writer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Before Saturday's 86-82 loss to N.C. State in the ACC tournament semifinals, it had been a long time since the Terrapin men's basketball team had lost a game. Juan Dixon wants to make sure it doesn't happen again.

The senior guard, who was handcuffed for much of the game and finished with 13 points, believes the end of the Terps' 13-game winning streak could end up working in team's favor for the NCAA tournament. The Terps will begin NCAA play Friday at the MCI Center against the winner of Tuesday's opening round game between Alcorn State and Siena.

"Maybe it's good for us because it brings us down off that high," Dixon said. "We were very confident. I wouldn't say were cocky but we were confident in our ability to win this tournament. But we came up short. Maybe guys can commit a little more to the team in the next few weeks. I'm certainly going to try my best to help everybody get through it and we'll take it from there."

Dixon, who is now 36 points from breaking Len Bias' program scoring record, says he sees the defeat as a signal he needs to assume an even greater leadership role on a team that has faced adversity far less often than the other four Terrapin teams Dixon has been a part of.

"In a situation like this I have to be more of a leader and let guys know we need to be ready to play," Dixon said. "We need to grow up some. I'm definitely going to have some words to say."

It was the team's first loss since Jan. 17, when Duke dominated the final 10 minutes at Cameron Indoor Stadium en route to a 99-78 win. Since then, the Terps averted losses to Clemson, N.C. State, Virginia and Wake Forest despite trailing all four in the second half.

The Terps were not spectacular in either of their tournament games. Florida State pestered them for 25 minutes before the Terps reeled off a 21-0 run to cruise to a 85-59 win in yesterday's quarterfinal round.

Saturday they were never sharp aside from a brief stretch in the first half when they turned a 24-12 deficit into a 31-26 lead.

"We didn't play great but I think we did some things that were positive. It wasn't all negative," coach Gary Williams said. "You never like to lose but we've won a lot in a row. The last year or so we haven't lost a lot. The feeling of a loss is sometimes a great motivator."


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