Maryland exhibits little, but laces Nike

2nd half, Mouton pace ho-hum 99-67 tuneup for No. 2 Terrapins

November 14, 2001|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - The crowd was sparse and quiet by Cole Field House standards, and the home team looked pretty uninspired for a while. But in their final exhibition showing last night, the Maryland Terrapins brought Nike Elite crashing back to reality with too much talent, too much quickness and too many players.

Led by senior center Lonny Baxter and senior forward Byron Mouton, No. 2 Maryland outclassed the Nike collection in the second half and pulled away to a 99-67 rout before an announced crowd of 10,000.

Maryland (1-1) now will turn its attention to the regular season once again. On Saturday, American University will travel around the Beltway to visit the Terps, as Maryland officially begins its final season at Cole Field House.

Baxter led all players with 22 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots. Mouton scored 18 points and added five rebounds before leaving with calf cramps in the second half.

Senior guard Juan Dixon, who looked tentative early while playing with a sore left ankle he sprained against Temple last week, finished with 15 points and six assists. Dixon scored 11 points in the second half.

The Terps looked very much like a team playing an exhibition game at a strange time, having faced Arizona and Temple already under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden. Maryland shot 55.6 percent in the second half after making only 14 of 40 in the first. The Terps clamped down in a big way on Nike Elite, permitting only 12 second-half baskets in 43 attempts, after Nike put a shooting flurry together to pull to 39-28 at halftime.

Forward Quincy Wadley led Nike with 15 points. Reserve forward Tremain Wingfield added 12 points and eight rebounds.

"When we play at the intensity level we played at in the second half, we're a good basketball team," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "It's a tough situation, coming out of the Garden. It was pretty tough up there for two days. It took us a while to get going tonight, and that can't happen during the season. There has to be a certain intensity level, if we expect to be as good as we want to be."

Things got mildly interesting in the first half, when Maryland was nearly even with Nike Elite midway through the action, thanks to some shaky play by the Maryland reserves. But after Maryland eased away to a 39-28 halftime lead, the Terps restored order quickly.

"Coach got into us at halftime," Mouton said. "Some guys look at an exhibition and think it's not a real game. We have to treat it like a real game. We can't go from one level to the next. We need to stay on a straight line."

Maryland opened the game with an 11-5 run, featuring two dunks from Baxter to start the evening, as Maryland came out with an up-tempo look. But Mouton, who figures to play around 30 minutes a game down the road and will be expected to score more as a result, shouldered much of the offense early.

Mouton scored 11 points in the game's first 14 minutes, including a pull-up jumper in the lane in transition to give Maryland its biggest lead of the first half at 34-20 with 5:44 left. The Terps would protect that margin decently, taking a 39-28 lead into halftime, but Maryland was far from sharp.

Nike Elite, paced by guard Darren Kelly's 10 first-half points and eight from Wingfield, kept the Terps in its sights by forcing 10 first-half turnovers, beating Maryland down the floor and slashing into the heart of its defense.

Much of the sloppiness took place after Williams cleared most of the bench in the middle of the half. Andre Collins, Maryland's freshman point guard, struggled notably in the first half by committing three turnovers and two fouls in just three minutes of action.

The Terps shot just 35 percent in the half, missing a series of layups in the process. Dixon, who sprained his left ankle in the second half of Friday's victory over Temple, took only four shots and did not move particularly well during his 13-minute effort in the half.

"It's still sore. It's a lot better than it was, but I can't push off the way I want yet," Dixon said. "Hopefully, I'll be 100 percent by Saturday, but I probably won't be. I just have to play through it."

Backcourt mate Steve Blake had 10 assists for the Terps, who used a 21-4 run to turn an 11-point halftime cushion into a 60-32 lead.

NIKE ELITE - Wadley 4-21 4-4 15, White 2-11 0-0 4, Dryden 2-3 0-0 4, Newton 3-13 0-0 9, Kelly 4-4 0-4 10, Hartfield 1-4 1-2 3, Green 3-9 1-3 7, Wingfield 5-7 2-2 12, Terry 1-6 0-0 3. 25-78 8-15 67.

MARYLAND - Mouton 8-15 2-2 18, Holden 4-5 2-2 12, Baxter 9-17 4-4 22, Dixon 5-12 4-4 15, Blake 4-9 0-0 9, Badu 0-1 0-0 0, McCall 0-3 0-0 0, Nicholas 4-9 2-2 10, Randle 1-7 0-0 2, Wilcox 4-7 3-5 11. 39-85 17-19 99.

Halftime score: Maryland 39-28. 3-point goals - Nike 9-38 (Wadley 3-16, White 0-5, Newton 3-10, Kelly 2-2, Hartfield 1-2, Green 0-3). Md. 4-15 (Holden 2-2, Dixon 1-5, Blake 1-3, McCall 0-2, Nicholas 0-3) Rebounds -- Md. 57 (Baxter 12) Nike 47 (Wingfield 8). Assists - Md. 25 (Blake 10) Nike 13 (Hartfield 5).

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