Maryland manhandled Navy, 62-54, yesterday at Capital Centre and continued to build momentum for this week's important Atlantic Coast Conference tests against Clemson and North Carolina.
The final margin was not indicative of the way the 12-2 Terps generally dominated the game defensively. They led, 62-44 with three minutes to play and had established overwhelming inside superiority.
Lawrence Boston, Maryland's 6-foot-8 starting forward, sank his final nine field-goal attempts and posted his first 20-point college game, finishing with 21 and nine rebounds. Steve Sheppard the man most responsible for Mid Kevin Sinnett's four-for-16 shooting day, added 18 points for the Terps.
First-year Navy coach Bob Hamilton, whose team upset Georgetown on Wednesday, was impressed with Maryland probably more than the small crowd of 3,696.
"They did an excellent job of hurting us with the match-up problems we had defensively," said Hamilton. "I also felt Maryland did a better job of preventing us from getting the ball into the areas that we like to shoot from. Their guards did a real good job of pressuring the ball in the offensive area."
Hamilton refused to let his players be interviewed. He said he does not let his athletes talk to the media following losses, a policy he brought to Annapolis from Wittenberg. "It's just a rule I have to help my kids out," he said.
The Mid outrebounded the Terps, 37-28, but the Navy defenders could not overcome Terp muscle or quickness inside.
Only the Terps' inability to convert six of nine fast-break opportuni-sessions, kept Maryland from turning ties, including four in its first 11 post the game into a rout. Maryland led at halftime, 30-23, and steadily built the second-half margin by hitting 14 of their first 20 shots, a nifty 70 per cent.
Boston, who regained his starting role only two games ago from junior college transfer Mike Davis, continually got easy, open shots inside.
Brad Davis, the Terps' point guard who suffered through a two-for-8 shooting day but otherwise was solid, praised Maryland's inside defense, which figures to be a key element when the Terps play on the road at Clemson Wednesday and at home against North Carolina Saturday.
"The guys did a super job on defense. The inside guys played well," Davis said. "Navy's not going to get burned by making a stupid mistake. Boston's amazing because he's so quick for a big man. He's got a lot better shooting touch and a lot better moves than anything else."
Boston is playing his second year for Maryland after transferring from Vincennes Junior College. He, too, went through the adjustment period now facing Mike Davis, Then this season he found himself on the bench as coach Lefty Driesell gave the 6-10 Davis as much playing time as possible.
Driesell made the switch, which moved 6-9 Larry Gibson from forward to center, following the loss last Saturday to Wake Forest. Boston said he did not sulk, although he knew he was playing better than Mike Davis.
"I had to accept it because it was how I helped then team out," he said. "I couldn't go crazy over it. I figure Tree [7-foot clemson center Wayne Rollins] will have more than he can handle Wednesday. I've got a lot of help this year. Last year we didn't have a lot of big men with me. This year we have size, strength, muscle, everything."
Center Hank Kuzma led Navy with 14 points. But the Mids could shoot only 39.7 per cent from the field, an accuracy rate helped somewhat at the end when the Mids sank eight of their final 10 shots.
The Mids are now 8-6, Hamilton persists in seeing continual improvement. But he acknowledged that good coaching and discipline can go only so far.
"How good can we be?" he said. "I don't know. I haven't been through a recruiting year yet."