COLLEGE PARK - Perhaps one day Bryant University will arrive here with a realistic chance to defeat or at least rattle Maryland.
Yesterday was decidedly not that day.
The Bulldogs, in the first year of a four-year transition into Division I, are not so much threatening Atlantic Coast Conference and Big East teams this season as they are sampling life in college basketball's upper echelon. The Bulldogs, losers of eight straight after yesterday's 72-51 defeat, are tourists in a strange, new world.
Yesterday's stop on Bryant's educational tour was Comcast Center, where the Terps stormed to a 19-5 lead and overwhelmed the Bulldogs with defensive pressure. Bryant, whose only Division I win is over Quinnipiac, has lost by 16 points to Columbia, 25 to Iowa, and 30 to Connecticut and Rutgers.
"We have played a lot of these types of rough games during this early period," said Bryant coach Tim O'Shea, who played for Maryland coach Gary Williams at Boston College from 1982 until 1984. "I think that it is more fun than frustration because of the experience of playing these big schools and legendary programs and coaches like Gary Williams."
The win was the fifth straight for Maryland (9-2), which struggled in its nonconference schedule last season. This year's team hasn't trailed in a game since being down 4-2 in the opening minutes of its 76-53 victory over George Washington on Dec. 7.
The Terps are in the midst of the softest portion of their schedule, which continues against Elon on Tuesday night.
"This is who we play," said Williams, who found plenty to criticize about his team's performance despite the victory. "I think if you look at strength of schedule, you see a pretty strong schedule."
Topping Williams' list of concerns: rebounding.
Undersized Bryant out-rebounded the Terps 20-15 in the first half and finished with the same number of rebounds as Maryland (35). Guard Greivis Vasquez led the Terps with six rebounds and 19 points. He was 4-for-8 on three-pointers.
"We have to rebound better than that," Williams said. "We've got too many guys that are rebounding with one hand."
Maryland jumped out to a 19-5 lead, taking advantage of a handful of turnovers by Bryant (1-10).
"We're pressing more this season," said guard Eric Hayes, who scored 14 points. "We've got more guards on the floor, so we're quicker."
Maryland scored 24 points off turnovers.
The Terps pushed their lead to 24-7, then seemed to ease up as Bryant scored eight straight points.
Still, it was the sort of game in which the Terps could have some fun. And they did.
Vasquez hit Landon Milbourne with a behind-the-back pass for a layup. Jin Soo Kim dished a no-look shovel pass to Dave Neal, who was fouled.
With the game's outcome hardly in doubt, those plays drew some of the loudest cheers of the day.
play it again
Keys to the game
The Terps' pressure defense got to the Bulldogs, forcing turnovers and wearing them down. Maryland had a season-high 14 steals.
Did you notice that?
* Bryant played a matchup zone, with mixed results. Maryland found open shooters, often Greivis Vasquez, by pushing the ball into the lane and then kicking it back out.
* At 6 feet 8, Maryland's Braxton Dupree was the tallest player on the floor at times and looked like a giant. Landon Milbourne, who is 6-7, jumped center to open the game with Bryant's Cecil Gresham, who is 6-5.
* Jin Soo Kim was racing to the ball on defense and looking to block shots. He finished with one block and three rebounds in five minutes.
Left to ponder
Is Bryant ready for matchups with Division I
teams? Guess it has to start somewhere.
ELON (4-4) @MARYLAND (9-2)
Tuesday, 8 p.m.
Radio: 1300 AM, 105.7 FM