Maryland basketball Coach Lefty Driesell had little inclination to celebrate last night's 82-58 victory over the university's Eastern Shore campus, his 200th triumph in 11 seasons at College Park.
The nonscholarship Division II team showed that the Terrapins will be in trouble defensively until center Buck Williams returns from a broken finger.
Maryland's offense failed to overpower a smallish UMES team whose leading scorer, Ken Simmons, quit the team Monday. And seven other players will not be eligible until January because of transfer rules and not enough scholastic credits under NCAA rules.
"We played very poorly really," said Driesell. "It was good to win. I don't like to knock a win but . . . "
But Driesell could be pleased in the season opener with the play of his star forwards Albert King (23 points) and Ernest Graham, a stalwart on the backboards with 18 rebounds, plus a nice job off the bench from guard Dutch Morley.
Taylor Baldwin, the 6-foot-10 sophomore who started in Williams' place, had little chance to show his ability. UMES Coach Kirkland Hall had a nifty strategy to work the ball inside against Maryland's man-to-man defense.
The result was a quicker three fouls on Baldwin, who was out of position and hardly gives the Terps the quickness they need on inside defense to be competitive in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Maryland burst away from a four-point lead, 21-17, midway in the first half free throws and impatience to work for the good percentage shot. When Maryland switched to a zone defense, its inside defensive problems were solved somewhat.
Asked how the Terrapins would do with this kind of defense against Penn State, Monday night's opponent, and its ACC brethren, UMES Coach Hall replied: "I don't know whether they were playing with intensity or not . . . Baldwin has a nice touch, but he needs to be a little quicker. If they've got a quick center, they're dominating."
If there were any ACC scouts in the crowd of 7,212 at Cole Field House, they must have been licking their chops while watching Maryland's man-to-man defense. Driesell, however, said his biggest concern last night was the offense.
"One pass and shoot," he complained. "Too much one-on-one. It looked like a pickup game. We have to play better than that to finish in the top 10 or be competitive in the ACC."
And Driesell admitted that this is a different team without Williams, the ACC's leading rebounder and rookie of the year last season.
"We miss Buck in there He's one of our most aggressive defensive players. So we're going to have to play a little bit harder. We've got the personnel to be an excellent defensive team with Buck in there. Right now, with Taylor, it's a little different situation."
This game was staged as a favor to Jim Kehoe, College Park's former athletic director who, in retirement, is trying to straighten out UMES' athletic affairs. He missed the game, however. He is in Sibley Memorial Hospital with a possible slipped disk.