Growing doesn't have to be a pain, 2-0 Terps discover


COLLEGE PARK -- In back-to-back victories over 15th-ranked Georgetown and Cornell, Maryland showed a maturity that belied its youthful starting lineup. And 6-foot-9, 218-pound center Joe Smith showed he might be one of the nation's top freshmen.

The Terrapins came back from a 14-point second-half deficit to ++ beat the Hoyas, 84-83, in overtime Friday at USAir Arena, then scored the first 17 points Saturday en route to a 92-41 blowout of the Big Red at Cole Field House.

Smith scored a game-high 26 points with nine rebounds and three steals against Georgetown and sophomore center Othella Harrington, then had a solid, 13-point, nine-rebound, four-block performance against Cornell. Sophomore Exree Hipp scored a career-high 25 against the Ivy League team.

"We were a little nervous going into this game -- believe it or not -- and that helped us," Maryland coach Gary Williams said after the biggest rout in three years and the seventh-largest margin of victory in school history. "I think that helped [prevent] a letdown."

Said Hipp: "We talked about it last night [Friday] and today that we wanted to come out of the blocks fast. The guys did a good job of getting me the ball."

Cornell's point total -- the Big Red trailed at halftime, 49-15 -- was the fewest by an opponent in Williams' five seasons at Maryland

and the fewest scored against any Maryland team since Towson State had 38 in Lefty Driesell's 500th career victory eight years ago.

The fast start should continue for the Terrapins, who play three home games this week -- tomorrow night against Rider, Thursday night against UMBC and Saturday night against Morgan State.

"They're a very talented team," said Cornell first-year coach Al Walker. "But I hope they win their next game by 60."

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