UM cruises by UMES, 87-38

In their final tuneup before ACC stretch, Terps take fight out of Hawks

January 07, 2004|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - Maryland's final tuneup before the serious portion of the Atlantic Coast Conference season resulted in another blowout of a local rival last night at Comcast Center.

After slogging through a rather uninspired first half, the Terrapins dominated the early portion of the second half and rolled to an 87-38 victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore.

A 21-3 run, sparked by freshman Mike Jones, ended the suspense as Maryland beat its in-state relative for the 15th time. UMES has never beaten the Terps.

The Fighting Hawks, who had played at home the previous night, ran out of gas in the second half during their third game in four days and presented no threat to Maryland (9-3), which now has a week off before playing host to No. 12 North Carolina.

Maryland now has a 99-1 record against nonconference foes at home since Dec. 30, 1989. The loss was to Florida in December 2002.

Jones finished with a career-high 25 points to lead the Terps against UMES, which has started 0-8 for the second straight season.

Maryland raced off to leads of 9-0 and 17-2 before the Fighting Hawks fought back to within 11 at halftime, 30-19.

With freshman forward Ekene Ibekwe in the Terps' starting lineup for the first time, the team started what was anticipated as a rout with a drive by Chris McCray, a three-pointer by John Gilchrist and a basket by Gilchrist on a break off a turnover. The lead ballooned to nine when Jamar Smith hit a follow-up shot, while UMES battled poor shooting and early turnovers.

Two straight three-pointers by Nik Caner-Medley and Smith and a follow by Caner-Medley stretched the margin to 17-2, with Tee Trotter scoring the Hawks' lone bucket.

But with Maryland coach Gary Williams substituting liberally, UMES found an offensive threat in Tony Pruitt, whose jumpers sparked a comeback.

The Terps still led 30-15 before Pruitt scored inside and Aaron Wellington, UMES's second-leading scorer, accounted for his first basket to produce the halftime score.

Pruitt led UMES in the half with eight points, while Smith had nine for the Terps, who were playing without reserve guard D.J. Strawberry.

Strawberry was out of the lineup due to turf toe incurred in a collision with Caner-Medley on Saturday.

Next for Terps

Matchup: No. 12 North Carolina (8-2, 0-1) vs. Maryland (9-3, 0-1)

Site: Comcast Center, College Park

When: Next Wednesday, 9 p.m.

TV/Radio: ESPN/WBAL (1090 AM)

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