Lefty Driesell looked as if he had a bad headache. "I don't play games for preparation," he said. "I play games like this to keep my heart from jumping around on the bench all night."
Driesell's heart didn't jump but his blood pressure rose a few points last night during the first half of the Terrapins' 109-83 romp over Fairleigh Dickinson. A Cole Field House crowd of 12,219 watched the Terps increase their record to 5-0.
The Knights were supposed to roll over politely during the first five minutes, letting Driesell clear his bench early. Instead, they were tied at 21 after eight minutes and down by only nine at the half.
"We were terrible the first half," Driesell said. "I think our guys were surprised that they weren't intimidated. A lot of teams playing a top 10 team play scared. But these guys weren't scared. They put up their shots."
Least timid of the Knights (2-3) was Ken Webb, who scored 27 points, often catching and firing in one motion. Webb was no match for the Maryland duo of Buck Williams -- 12 of 13 for 25 points and now 21 of 23 his last two games -- and Greg Manning, eight of eight (he has hit 15 straight field goals) from the floor for 18 points. Albert King didn't have a good shooting night, but played aggressively with 18 points and seven rebounds.
Most of the Maryland heroics came in the second half after Driesell told the Terps during intermission that they had been "horrible" the first 20 minutes.
"We were as good the second half as we were bad the first," Driesell said. "But I wasn't too happy the first half."
Still, the night provided the Terps with a chance to run and gun as they hit the 100-point mark the first time this season. In the end, it was a blowout but the quality of play, for FCU the first half and Maryland the second, was higher than had been expected.
"I think we're still getting better," King said. "We weren't too good the first half, but give them some credit. They played hard."
If the Terps thought that showing up and tossing their jerseys onto the court would cause Fairleigh Dickinson to faint in wonder, they were mistaken."
The Knights showed up with a scrappy, hustling group that slapped at everything in sight -- arms, legs, heads and the ball. They got the ball enough times to cause 11 first-half turnovers, about Maryland's per-game average.
That didn't thrill Driesell, who was off the bench and on his players more than any previous game this season. Still, the Terrapins had moments when they demonstrated why they are the No. 4 team in the country.
FDU managed to stay even eight minutes, tying the score at 21-21 on a pretty drive by Webb, who averages 24 points a game. Then, Maryland got mad.
In the next 2:32, the Terps scored 15 straight points, the last four by King on a spinning drive in the lane and a steal. Although he shot poorly (five for 13) King lived up to his vow to be more aggressive in the so-called "pushover," games, looking for the ball, going to the boards and dishing off nicely on several occasions.
The spurt put the Terps in control, 36-21.