COLLEGE PARK -- A loss by Massachusetts wasn't the only annoyance Maryland dealt with yesterday.
The Terps' anticipation of a showdown Saturday in Baltimore with the nation's No. 1 team evaporated when the Minutemen were beaten by seventh-ranked Kansas, 81-75.
A few hours later, Maryland overwhelmed Bucknell, 102-64, before 13,269 at Cole Field House, but not before the Bison made the Terps sweat a litle.
When Maryland made its first four shots for an 8-0 lead in the first two minutes, coach Gary Williams might have envisioned a blowout and needed playing time for his inexperienced bench, but the Terps found themselves behind eight minutes later.
Order was restored when the No. 11 team broke loose for a 17-0 run late in the first half, however. A similar 12-0 spurt by Maryland's regulars midway through the second half got the lead to 33 points heading into the last 10 minutes, but Williams wasn't entirely pleased when the Terps allowed Bucknell back in the game.
Williams had spoken the day before of the need to get his bench, in particular freshmen Rodney Elliott and Sarunas Jasikevicius, some playing time when the game was on the line, but both made only fleeting appearances in the first half. The biggest cheers were reserved for last-minute baskets by Matt Raydo, Kurtis Schultz and Jasikevicius, but Williams would have liked to see it happen earlier.
"In order to beat the great teams, we need at least nine, 10 guys who can give us quality minutes," Williams said.
The Terps got an early lift from reserve forward Mario Lucas, but on a night when Williams still had four starters on the floor heading into the last five minutes despite a 37-point lead, it was the regulars with the big numbers.
Junior guard Johnny Rhodes led the Terps with a career-high 27 points. Forwards Exree Hipp and Keith Booth had 16 and 14, respectively, and All-American center Joe Smith had 13 and nine rebounds.
It was the 32nd straight non-conference win at Cole for Maryland since a loss to Coppin State five years ago. The streak figures to grow tomorrow against UMBC and Thursday night against Colgate, which, like Bucknell, is a member of the Patriot League.
Bucknell, which got 14 points apiece from Gordon Mboya and Dave Steigerwald, fell to 0-4 for the first time in 20 years, its last season under Jim Valvano. Pat Flannery, the Bison's first-year coach, guided Lebanon Valley to the NCAA Division III title last year.
Maryland's decisive 17-0 run lasted three minutes, and came at the end of an eight-minute span in which the Bison could muster just one basket against.
Maryland needed the spurt to break away from a pesky team that looked as if it was going to get blown out in the first two minutes. Up 8-0, the Terps lost their focus and Bucknell outscored them 15-8 over the next six minutes.
Mboya, a 6-foot-5 sophomore wing from Bethesda, got the Bison started with a pair of three-pointers. After Smith was stripped in the midst of Bucknell's collapsing zone, Mboya's short bank shot put the visitors up 15-14 with 12:20 to go in the half.
Mboya's third three-pointer, from the left of the key, gave Bucknell its final lead at 18-16 with 11:26 left in the half, but the Terps defense tightened and Lucas came off the bench and ignited the Terps with a fade-away from the left baseline and a pair of free throws.
The Bison beat the Terps press and Pat Hook's basket cut the Maryland lead to 23-21, but Bucknell wasn't heard from again for a while. The 17-0 spurt started with Simpkins three-pointer from the right corner, and by the time Hipp scored seven straight points and Booth fed Rhodes, it was 41-21.
Hipp and Smith fueled the 12-0 spurt in the second half.