COLLEGE PARK -- In size and style, Vince Broadnax and Walt Williams are as different as basketball players can be. Both are anomalies: Broadnax is a 6-foot-3 forward, and Williams is a 6-8 guard. Broadnax is efficient, and Williams is explosive.
The manner in which the two University of Maryland captains complement each other, as well as their teammates, was evident in yesterday's 93-68 victory over American at Cole Field House. The win helped the Terrapins to their first 3-0 start under Gary Williams.
"I was glad to see Vince back to where he was last year," said Gary Williams. "The effort he gave in the first two games would have been great for most players, but I thought he was sluggish for Vince. Today was the type of performance he has been giving since the first practice I had here when I didn't even know his name."
Said American coach Chris Knoche: "Basically we got out-everythinged today. We were out-worked, out-played and out-coached. We also got out-Broadnaxed."
With Walt Williams on the bench in foul trouble for the last 9 minutes, 21 seconds of the first half, Broadnax helped stretch Maryland's four-point lead to 39-22 by halftime. He scored nine of his 19 points in the half.
With the Eagles threatening in the second half, cutting their deficit to 54-47 with 12:17 left, Williams scored 12 in a 14-1 run to break open the game. Williams finished with a game-high 24. Brian Gilgeous led American (1-2) with 20.
"You know what you're going to get from Walt," said Knoche. "He's a lottery pick, one of the top five players in the country. You know what you're going to get from Garfield Smith because he really knows how to play. But Broadnax seems to get the absolute most out of seemingly very little. That is not to take
anything away from Vince, but he got every loose ball, every rebound. He was doing everything."
Even in a blowout victory, one loose ball retrieved by Broadnax was particularly important. It came shortly after Williams had gone to the bench. With Maryland leading 24-18, Smith missed a short baseline jumper. Broadnax dived out of bounds to save the ball, which found its way to reserve guard Cougar Downing for a three-point shot.
"I thought that was a big letdown for them and a big lift for us," said Broadnax.
But Broadnax did some uncharacteristic things yesterday as well. He threw down a one-handed dunk off a feed from Walt Williams on a three-on-one fastbreak. He drove over Craig Sedmak, American's 6-9 center, and finger-rolled the ball in.
"Usually Vince isn't flashy, but today he was flashy for him," kidded Walt Williams.
Broadnax, who had been hampered by a pulled groin in Maryland's first two games, finished eight of 11 from the field. He also had seven rebounds and three assists.
"I try to play as hard as I can and hope that it rubs off on everybody else," said Broadnax.
As usual, it did. Junior center Evers Burns of Woodlawn scored a career-high 20 on 8-for-12 shooting. Junior guard Kevin McLinton added 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Terps also got 12 points, nine rebounds and four steals from its bench.
The victory gave Maryland some momentum going into a stretch of improved competition. The Terrapins play Providence in the ACC-Big East Challenge at the Meadowlands Wednesday, followed by West Virginia at home Saturday and a game at Louisville on Dec. 10.
"I'm really pleased with the effort," said Gary Williams. "Not just from the starters, but also the guys coming off the bench. Believe me, at the beginning of the year we didn't even know who our bench was going to be."
Then again, going into his first Maryland season two years ago, he didn't know who Vince Broadnax was.