Terps cruise past Loyola


COLLEGE PARK - On a day when the NHL All-Star Game and the NFL's Pro Bowl took place, the Maryland men's basketball team followed suit with an exhibition of its own.

No. 10 Maryland scored the first 14 points and never slowed down in routing Loyola, 85-58, yesterday at Comcast Center before a crowd of 17,578 that seemed less vocal than usual.

Terps senior center Ryan Randle led all scorers with 17 points, senior guard Drew Nicholas chipped in with 15 points and junior center Jamar Smith hopped off the bench to add 10 points, a team-high five rebounds and two blocks.

Senior point guard Steve Blake also contributed 10 assists, eight points and five rebounds for Maryland - which didn't take Loyola lightly, coach Gary Williams said.

"They played their game, and they worked hard," he said. "We have more depth than they do, so we should win the game. We did enough to win the game, but now we move on."

Sophomore guard Bernard Allen paced the Greyhounds with a team-high 16 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Sophomore guard Lucious Jordan posted 13 points, and junior forward Donovan Thomas collected 11 rebounds and nine points.

Loyola never threatened the Terps' double-digit lead as Maryland (14-4) collected its fifth consecutive victory and won for the 10th time in its past 11 games.

The Greyhounds (4-15), who dropped their fourth straight contest and have lost eight of their past nine, seemed to be the perfect antidote for a Maryland offense that had scored fewer than 30 points in three of the past four halves.

"We just really wanted to do our things well," said Nicholas, who graded the Terps' performance as a B. "Obviously, we wanted to win the ballgame, but we just wanted to tighten up our offense and our half-court offense because we haven't been doing that well as of late."

Maryland converted only 20 points off the fast break, but hammered Loyola - which hasn't defeated the Terps since 1948 - in many other ways.

Maryland collected 13 steals and forced 14 more turnovers. The Terps also blocked eight shots and outscored the Greyhounds, 40-24, in the paint.

"If you look at the final score, certainly it was a bit of a mismatch," said Loyola coach Scott Hicks. "The positives are that I thought our guys played hard from the tip until the finish. We had opportunities where we could have quit and had consecutive turnovers, but I thought overall that our team kept its focus while competing against probably the most talented team in the [Atlantic Coast Conference]."

The Greyhounds got a harbinger of things to come when they failed to score in the game's first 4 minutes, 48 seconds. Meanwhile, Maryland posted 14 points, fueled by two three-pointers and a layup from Nicholas and two baskets from senior forward Tahj Holden.

Senior center DeLonnie Southall ended the drought for Loyola with 15:12 left in the first half when he grabbed an offensive rebound and converted a put-back.

But the Terps maintained their double-digit advantage even when Williams took out the starting five and inserted Smith and freshmen Nik Caner-Medley, Travis Garrison, John Gilchrist and Chris McCray.

Reserve sophomore guard Andre Collins made back-to-back three-pointers from the left corner to help Maryland close out the first half on a 14-5 run and enjoy a 50-26 lead at halftime.

Before yesterday, the Terps hadn't scored 50 points in the first half since recording 54 against Hampton on Jan. 8.

The 27-point margin was Maryland's largest since beating Florida State, 89-62, on Jan. 11.

Even though Williams replaced his starting five of Blake, Holden, Nicholas, Randle and senior forward Calvin McCall with 10:16 left in the second half, Blake didn't seem to mind watching the reserves collect some playing time.

"It's big so that they can get some more repetition and get some experience," Blake said of the bench, which outscored Loyola's reserves, 39-14. "That's good for them so that they can be ready for the end of the season."

If there was one area of concern for the Terps, it was rebounding. The undersized Greyhounds - sophomore reserve forward Jim Chivers is the tallest at 6 feet 8 - out-rebounded Maryland and its foursome of Holden, Randle, Smith and Caner-Medley at 6-8 or taller, 43-34. Williams may use his team's lack of production on the boards as a motivational tool to prepare for Thursday's ACC game against Virginia.

"I think part of being a competitor is you want to play well," he said. "You just don't want to win. You also want to play to a certain level. The players I have coached have had that same attitude."

Next for Terps

Matchup:No. 10 Maryland (14-4) vs. Virginia (12-7)

Site:Comcast Center, College Park

When:Thursday, 9 p.m.

TV/Radio:ESPN2/WBAL (1090 AM)

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