Maryland's Jordan Williams drives past Colgate's… (Baltimore Sun photo by Kenneth…)
COLLEGE PARK — This one was Maryland's final tuneup -- a chance to iron out the wrinkles of a somewhat underwhelming monthlong homestand against mainly nonconference opponents.
To their credit, the Terps could easily have overlooked Colgate on Tuesday night, a team with only one win this season, with a showdown with No. 1 Duke looming Sunday.
Instead, Maryland did exactly what it was supposed to do, engineering a thorough dismantling of the Raiders, 95-40, before an announced 12,814 at Comcast Center.
The Terps (10-4) finished with five players scoring in double digits, led by senior guard Adrian Bowie's 16 points and five assists.
"I liked the effort tonight," coach Gary Williams said. "The effort was like we've been practicing. We had better players than Colgate did, so you're going to win that game most of the time like that."
Although a rout of a lowly Patriot League opponent in early January can provide only so much in terms of clarity for a team still searching for its identity, the game did not come without surprise.
Williams continued to tweak his lineup, giving guard Terrell Stoglin his first career start in place of fellow freshman Pe'Shon Howard, who had started the previous two games.
Stoglin showed poise from the get-go, sinking a 3-pointer off a feed from Sean Mosley (St. Frances) for Maryland's first points. He finished with 12 points and four assists.
"What Terrell does, he creates a lot of energy early," Williams said. "Certainly, he's not perfect with what he does, but I think he does bring some energy to the table. I just thought we'd try that, and it worked pretty well for us."
Sophomore center Jordan Williams recorded his 12th double double of the season and his eighth straight game with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Williams, who is four shy of tying Len Elmore's school-record 12 straight double doubles, nearly had one in the first half, with eight points and nine rebounds.
Off the bench, Cliff Tucker continued to spark his team, adding 12 points and nailing two 3-pointers.
"I wanted to be a starter this whole year," said Tucker, who was relegated to the bench after a rough stretch early last month. "Unfortunately, I'm not starting right now, but I can't pout or anything. I'm just trying to do whatever I can to get my starting spot back."
After scoring the first basket 25 seconds into the game, Colgate (1-12) went nearly 10 minutes without another. Maryland's half-court defense employed a high-pressure approach that limited the Raiders' ability to penetrate or steal an open look, and the Terps went on a 22-0 run to take a 22-2 lead.
By halftime, Maryland held a 43-17 advantage. Maryland has won nine straight at home against nonconference opponents. Senior guard Joe Hoban led Colgate with 10 points.
"We were killing them," Jordan Williams said. "That's great knowing our team can start off that well because we're going to need that Sunday in Durham. The No. 1 team in the country is not going to slack off at all."
The Terps are five days from entering the bulk of their Atlantic Coast Conference schedule with the Blue Devils waiting to administer Maryland's biggest test of the season.
After stretches during its five-game homestand in which Maryland has lacked consistency both in transition and from its scorers, Tuesday's game showed that Maryland has all the pieces and that it's a matter of finding the right combinations.
"We know how we played against Illinois, we know how we played against Pittsburgh, Boston College was a three-point game," Gary Williams said. "We have those things that we've done already this year and we didn't win, so you're never satisfied. But at least we knew early on that if we continued to work hard, we had a chance to beat people on that level. We'll see if we're on that level coming up."