Terps get ready for ACC stretch with 108-58 rout of Hampton

Nicholas, Smith score 17 each as Maryland nets 100 for 100th time

January 09, 2003|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- The Maryland Terrapins tuned up for the meat of their schedule at the expense of one more overmatched visitor last night by hammering the Hampton Pirates early and often en route to a 108-58 rout before an announced crowd of 17,468 at Comcast Center.

The 21st-ranked Terps won their fourth straight game, and the defending NCAA champions finally could turn their undivided attention to defending their regular-season Atlantic Coast Conference championship.

Maryland (8-3) faces visiting Florida State on Saturday -- the first of six straight ACC contests -- then travels to No. 17 Wake Forest on Wednesday, before returning home three days later to play host to archrival and top-ranked Duke.

"This is the part of the season we all look forward to. This is the kind of effort we wanted going into the ACC season," said Maryland senior guard Drew Nicholas, who scored 17 points to share the team's scoring lead. "We did a good job of preparing mentally for tonight."

Unlike Saturday's somewhat uninspired 79-57 win over Wagner, the Terps kept the heat on the Pirates, who looked tired after playing their third game in five days. Maryland beat up the Pirates (6-4) with little difficulty, raining a slew of dunks on them, recording 29 assists and holding them to 29.9 percent shooting.

Four Maryland players scored in double figures, helping the Terps reach the 100-point mark for the 100th time in school history.

Nicholas and junior reserve forward Jamar Smith led Maryland with 17 points apiece. Senior center Ryan Randle added 16 points and 12 rebounds for his fourth double double of the season, and set a school record for shooting proficiency along the way. Senior point guard Steve Blake added 13 points, eight assists and four steals.

Barry Hairston led Hampton with 18 points.

"We shot it really well, we passed it really well, and I thought our defense was really good at times," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "We've got a tough stretch coming up, and we have to just focus on Saturday. It's to play [ACC basketball]. It's January, and we're looking forward to it. We're as ready as any other team."

The Terps set the tone by scoring the game's first 12 points, then took a pair of 20-point leads before leaving the floor at halftime with a 54-31 advantage. By the break, 11 Terps had played, and three already had scored in double figures.

Except for a 10-0 run that gave them a breath of life and cut Maryland's lead to 26-16 with 10:20 left in the first half, the Pirates were in over their heads all night.

The Terps forced eight turnovers and limited Hampton to 2-for-14 shooting in the opening eight minutes, as Maryland used its defensive pressure, depth and fast break to put the Pirates in a 26-6 hole.

Randle, who had 10 points and five rebounds in the opening half, got the Terps rolling immediately, setting a school record in the process.

Randle scored seven of the game's first nine points by making his first three shots. By turning a feed from Blake into a slam to make it 9-0, Randle -- who was coming off a 10-for-10 shooting performance against Wagner -- converted his 16th consecutive shot, spanning three games. That broke a record held by former Terp Greg Manning since the latter half of the 1980-81 season.

"We just wanted to come out and be aggressive tonight. We learned from the Wagner game," Randle said. "This is the way we wanted to get ready to go play Florida State."

Randle, a 6-foot-9 senior center from Duncanville, Texas, was merely a warm-up act for Maryland, which came at Hampton in waves for most of the first half.

Blake had 11 points, seven assists and four steals in 19 minutes of first-half work. Nicholas had 11 points and five rebounds by intermission. By halftime, the Terps had forced 20 turnovers, torching the Pirates with 17 assists and five slams.

Hampton used a 2-3 zone to slow the Terps in a couple of brief stretches early, but it only prolonged the inevitable.

Next for Terps

Matchup:No. 21 Maryland (8-3) vs. Florida State (9-3)

Site:Comcast Center, College Park

When:Saturday, 1;30 p.m.

TV/Radio:Ch. 54/WBAL (1090 AM)

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