COLLEGE PARK -- The University of Maryland basketball team went from the sublime to the ridiculous last night at Cole Field House. And we're talking ridiculous, folks.
One day after they shocked 15th-ranked Georgetown at USAir Arena to open the 1993-94 season, the Terrapins toyed with Cornell before a mildly entertained crowd of 12,055.
Maryland scored the game's first 17 points and 22 of the first 23, built its lead to 35 late in the first half and went on to a 92-41 romp over the inappropriately nicknamed Big Red.
Sophomore forward Exree Hipp, who fouled out late in regulation of Friday's game, led Maryland (2-0) with a career-high 25 points, including 15 in the first half. The Terps had four players in double figures. Freshman center Joe Smith added 13 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots.
"We were a little bit nervous going into the game, believe it or not, but that probably helped us," Maryland coach Gary Williams said after his team's largest victory since a 52-point win over UMBC three years ago. "We didn't want to have a letdown after yesterday [Friday's 84-83 overtime win]."
If anything, the Terps had to let up after Cornell (0-1) didn't score its first point until former St. Paul's School star Zeke Marshall (12 points) made a free throw with 11:59 left in the first half. Cornell didn't get its first basket until Tim Nash's three-pointer with 10:24 to go.
Maryland built its lead to 43-12 with a little more than two minutes left in the first half, led by 49-17 at halftime and kept doing whatever it wanted in the second half. Asked what his team could have done differently, first-year Cornell coach Al Walker said jokingly, "We could have stayed in Ithaca."
Not that Maryland was a totally inhospitable host. Midway through the first half, the official scorer realized that Cornell had put one of its players into the books with a wrong number -- an automatic technical foul. But the officials and Williams let it slide. Call it a case of no 'T' and sympathy.
"We are a good Ivy League team," said Walker, whose team committed 29 turnovers and shot 25.5 percent (13 of 51) from the field, to Maryland's 58.2 percent (39 of 67). "We had no business being here except for the paycheck."
It was the fewest number of points allowed by the Terps in Williams' five years -- seven fewer than a 64-48 win over Lafayette three years ago -- and the fewest overall by a Maryland team since the the Terps beat Towson State, 91-38, for Lefty Driesell's 500th victory in 1985.
It was the seventh-largest margin of victory in Maryland history, and gave Williams the luxury of substituting frequently. All 10 players were used, including both walk-ons, freshman guard Matt Raydo and junior forward Donny Judd.
In fact, the last couple minutes turned into a highlight film for Judd, who grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, before moving to Forestville and playing two years at Prince George's Community College. It included a free throw for Maryland's first 50-point lead, 87-37, as well as a three-point shot and a layup at the buzzer.
"I know I'm not going to play a lot," said Judd, who joined the team 10 days ago after open tryouts. "I look at this year as an opportunity to get stronger and learn the system. Once I learn the system, I think coach will have some confidence in me."
Said Williams: "He's a pretty good player. Even in practice, you have to guard him. He's not just a throwaway."
Speaking of throwaways . . .
NOTES: Hipp's previous career-high was a 21-point performance in last year's season opener against UMBC. . . . Sophomore F Mario Lucas added 12 points and seven rebounds off the bench, and freshman F Nick Bosnic had 11 points, six rebounds and five assists. The Terps play Tuesday night against Rider.