A Long-Distance Runaway
Thursday, December 14, 2006
With time ticking away in the second half last night and little-used walk-on Jason McAlpin dribbling the ball behind the three-point line, Maryland Coach Gary Williams held up his right hand and called out to his player: "Don't shoot."
But with the shot clock nearing zero, McAlpin couldn't help himself. He swished a three-pointer from 24 feet, putting the final touch on a night in which hardly anybody wearing red could miss.
Maryland set a school record with 17 three-pointers and Terrapins senior guard Mike Jones scored 27 points on nine three-pointers -- another school record -- to lead Maryland to a 101-50 victory over Missouri-Kansas City in front of an announced crowd of 17,950.
"I was basically taking advantage of every situation," said Jones, who eclipsed the record set by Walt Williams, who made seven three-pointers against Florida State on Feb. 5, 1992. "They left me open several times throughout the game, not only myself, but most of our guards. We took advantage of that."
Indeed, even as the Terrapins lined up to take part in a shooting buffet, Kangaroos Coach Rich Zvosec refused to take his team out of a 2-3 zone, which left the Terrapins an endless supply of uncontested shots.
"UMKC came in trying to take away some things inside," Gary Williams said. "It did leave some things open. Mike was really getting great looks. He was in a really great rhythm tonight."
The Terrapins capitalized, setting a school record with 37 three-point attempts. The 17 three-pointers shattered the old mark of 13, set against William & Mary in 2001 and matched against North Carolina in 2002.
Jones hit nine straight.
"It started in practice," said Jones, who knew that the Kangaroos likely would stick to their zone defense. "I took some extra shooting practice this week, and I missed my first few shots. But I knew that I just had to keep taking them. Whether I missed them or made them, I knew that I had to keep taking open looks."
Maryland led by 40 during the first half and the senior had the record in his sights at halftime, heading into the locker room shooting 6 of 9 from beyond the arc, including a 26-footer that would have been good from beyond the Beltway.
The barrage continued in the second half until Jones left the game for good with about 13 minutes left.
"I'm shocked that they didn't make an effort to guard him," said Maryland forward James Gist, who finished with a team-high 11 rebounds. "I'm not shocked that he was making the shots. I knew every time he shot it he was wide open. That also comes with moving the ball real well."
Jones finished shooting 9 of 16 overall, with all of his field goals coming from three-point range.
Before the game, Williams said he wanted to change things up, hoping to spark the Terrapins, who had lost three of four. Two days ago, Williams told Greivis Vasquez he would be starting at point guard over fellow freshman Eric Hayes.
"It's my time to step up now," said Vasquez, who recorded eight assists without attempting a field goal in his first career start.
Williams also started Bambale Osby over Ekene Ibekwe. It was Osby's second start of the season and first at home.
The Terrapins, who improved to 10-2, also wanted to get off to a fast start. Before tip-off, just out of sight of the fans, the Terrapins huddled and D.J. Strawberry implored his teammates to start quickly, echoing a message from Williams.
"Don't let them match our intensity," Strawberry said.
Clearly, the Terrapins were listening.
Maryland never trailed in the first meeting between the schools and held the Kangaroos to 25 percent shooting. Meanwhile, Strawberry, Hayes and Parrish Brown held Kangaroos leading scorer Quinton Day to 17 points.
"I liked our defense," Williams said. "We didn't let up."