COLLEGE PARK -- Garfield Smith came to the University of Maryland from Coffeyville (Kan.) Junior College before this season with a reputation for offense. That assessment, and Smith's performance, proved nearly perfect last night.
Smith, a 6-foot-6 junior forward, kept the Terrapins in their game against Southern Cal when guards Walt Williams and Matt Roe were struggling to find their shots. Smith continued to hit his, and it resulted in a 72-59 victory before 10,110 at Cole Field House.
Williams led the Terps with his second-straight 20-point game, including 16 in the second half, but Smith's offense and Vince Broadnax's defense proved to be the difference for Maryland (2-0).
"All my shots were open, and I was just trying to shoot," said Smith, who hit his first nine shots before being blocked late in the game. "I think I can shoot a little bit."
Smith, who is a deceptively strong 225 pounds, also can rebound a little. Shooting is something he learned to do back home in the Bronx, but going to the boards is a recently acquired trait.
As Smith put it: "The coaches are on my butt, saying I'd better get some rebounds. [Assistant] coach [Billy] Hahn gave me a little lecture at halftime, a man-to-man talk."
Smith, who had three rebounds in the first half, finished with 12. Maryland's undersized front line took over the boards in the second half, with Cedric Lewis collecting a career-high 14 rebounds and Broadnax finishing with nine.
"We don't have a lot of height, but we have a lot of heart," said Roe, who finished with 16 points.
Said Maryland coach Gary Williams: "I really like our team in terms of their effort. We found something to play for and some reserve to get us going. I'm really proud of these guys. A lot of people asked us what we were playing for this year. Well, we were playing for tonight."
Maryland, which can't go to postseason tournaments for two years because of National Collegiate Athletic Association sanctions, played well down the stretch, going on a 17-6 run to break open the game. And the Trojans (1-1) just seemed to tire out.
With Maryland trailing, 42-40, early in the second half, Williams and Roe began to find their range, Lewis and Smith began to crash the boards and the combination of Broadnax and Kevin McLinton tired out Southern Cal's shooting star, Harold Miner.
"In that stretch, I felt that we didn't take good shots," said Southern Cal coach George Raveling, whose team shot 27 of 70 from the field, including 10 of 20 by Miner. "I thought Lewis was a big factor."
Said Gary Williams: "Cedric Lewis is one of the best defensive players around, but he doesn't get a lot of credit because he's judged on other things. He's the strength of our defense."
And considering the depth of Maryland's offensive talents, the Terps will need some defense to win a few games this season. That, too, is something Smith is first learning about.
Consider that Smith went to four different high schools, playing only one year, and then took his game to Coffeyville. Though his team played more defense than most junior colleges, it didn't prepare him for his first few practices at Maryland.
"It was intense," said Smith.
Said Gary Williams: "I think the other players really helped Garfield along. They tell him, 'Don't do anything crazy.' "
The craziest thing Smith might have done last night was to finish 9-for-9. Though many at the game didn't think he missed a shot, it was probably better that one of his was blocked.
Had he finished nine of nine, Smith would have erased the record of four other Maryland players who had shot 8-for-8, including one prominent alum named Gary Williams.
"If I had known he was going for the record, I would've yanked him," said Williams, who as a senior had a perfect game against another USC -- South Carolina -- in 1967.
Williams was only kidding. After all, Maryland needs all the offense it can get.
NOTES: Maryland will play at West Virginia on Saturday, then takes on Boston College in Richmond, Va., on Monday in the ACC-Big East Challenge. . . . Lewis has 13 blocked shots.