Terps lock on up, throw away Keydets

January 01, 2006|By DAVID GINSBURG


Maryland's game plan against VMI was to get off to a quick start, take control early and then let the reserves get some extensive playing time.

That's precisely what happened Saturday in a mismatch that was essentially decided before the first television timeout.

D.J. Strawberry scored 16 points, Chris McCray added 15 and No. 16 Maryland coasted to its fifth straight victory, 99-68.

Nik Caner-Medley had 10 points and a team-high six assists for the Terrapins (10-2), who placed five players in double figures. Maryland scored the game's first 13 points and led 56-20 at halftime.

"We felt that if we jumped on them early, we could kind of get everybody involved in the second half," Strawberry said. "We started the game the way we needed to, and that was it."

With Strawberry and McCray leading the way, the Terps peeled off runs of 13, 10 and 19 points in their most productive first half of the season. Maryland shot 65 percent (24-for-37) and held the Keydets to 8-for-29 shooting over the opening 20 minutes.


"It was important for us to jump on them," said Caner-Medley, who played only 22 minutes. "To be honest, it's nice sometimes to get a big lead and be able to let the other guys get a chance to play."

No starter played more than 22 minutes and the Terrapins got 40 points from their seven reserves.

"In the second half the bench played really well," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "That was good to see, that they were able to come out and perform and get some significant minutes."

The Terrapins have won 28 consecutive non-conference home games, including seven this season. Maryland hosts Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Wednesday, then begins a run of five straight Atlantic Coast Conference games on Jan. 7 at Miami.

Reggie Williams led VMI (5-6) with 19 points and Matt Murrer had 17. The Keydets had 20 turnovers and shot only 28 percent in the first half.

"Their pressure was intense. We worked on that, but you can't simulate that in practice," VMI coach Duggar Baucom said. "Intimidation, I think, is the best word for it. They took our candy and we couldn't do anything about it."

Maryland went ahead for good when Strawberry made a short jumper off the opening tap. The junior guard had three baskets and McCray added a dunk and a 3-pointer in the opening 13-0 run.

Maryland made its first seven shots in going up 17-2. The Keydets, conversely, opened 1-for-9 with five turnovers.

"It's a bad combination, when we're throwing it up in Section 126 and they're making 7-for-7," Baucom said. "I told them these guys can pressure Duke, so don't think they can't pressure you."

It was 25-15 before Strawberry converted a drive, McCray made a layup and Caner-Medley scored twice in a 10-second span. Travis Garrison followed with a layup, capping a 10-0 run that put Maryland ahead by 20.

After Chavis Holmes interrupted the run with a layup, Strawberry hit a 3-pointer to start a string of 19 straight points that upped the margin to 37. Five players scored in the surge, including junior college transfer Parrish Brown, who connected twice from beyond the arc.

Not long after Maryland upped the lead to 40 points early in the second half, Williams began to empty his bench. Brown finished with a season-high 13 points.

"We've been working hard in practice this week and last week," Brown said, "so it felt pretty good to get a lot of playing time out there."

About the only time the crowd jeered was near the end of the game, when Maryland held the ball over the final 20 seconds rather than try to top the 100-point mark.

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