The Maryland Terrapins played their best half of basketball this season after intermission last night and cruised past Ohio University, 90-64, at Cole Field House.

Herman Veal's 20 points and 11 rebounds in 30 minutes led Maryland (7-1). The 6-6 sophomore, whose 10.3 average leads the ACC in rebounding, had practiced little the last two weeks because of a sprained left ankle.

Freshman Adrian Branch scored 16 points, 12 in the second half. Center Charles Pittman made his first six shots and finished with 14 points, and substitute Pete Holbert made his first four shots and totaled 10 points.

Maryland could manage only a 38-34 lead at the half, but exploited Ohio's 33 percent shooting in the second half, converting missed shots into fast break baskets. The Terrapins shot 63 percent in the second half.

After scoring 10 of the first 12 points in the second half, Maryland was never threatened.

"This is probably the best half of basketball we've put together this season," Coach Lefty Driesell of Maryland said.

Driesell said he has settled on a starting lineup, at least for a while. His front court will remain the same: Pittman at center, flanked by Branch and Veal. Freshman Jeff Adkins is the starting off guard. Senior Reggie Jackson has been moved to the point guard where he played very well last night.

Driesell called Jackson's performance "one of his better floor games."

"I was glad to see Reggie have such a good game," Pittman said, "because he had been in a slump and we need him playing well."

Jackson seemingly has resigned himself to not being the team's primary scorer. "I could score if Coach told me that's what he wanted to do," Jackson said. "But playing defense, handling the ball, being a leader on the floor . . . those are the things I do best."

All the Terrapins played reasonably well last night, following an embarrassing defeat at North Carolina State last Saturday.

"We talked all week about the things we didn't do well in that game," Pittman said. "You keep those things in your mind until you play the next game. We had to forget about that."

Pittman's inside dominance in the first half lifted Maryland to a 38-26 lead before the Bobcats (2-4) scored the last eight points of the half to pull within four.

"Coach told me to put the ball up more when I get that close to the basket," Pittman said. "That was one of the things we didn't do against State."

Something the Terrapins hadn't done all season was hold or increase a big lead. Last night they did.

"I think we came out ready to play in the second half, for the first time this season," Veal said.

Center John Devereaux's 14 points and nine rebounds were high for Ohio University, which has not played at home this season. But he got little help from the starting forwards, Tim Woodson and Nate Cole (formerly of Potomac High School). They totaled 10 points and four rebounds.

"They weren't that great," Jackson said. "But then, neither are we. We haven't lost any confidence. But we have a lot of hard work ahead, and tough games ahead, immediately."

Next for the Terrapins is Georgia Tech, an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent, on Wednesday.