Just about everyone got to play for the University of Maryland basketball team last night. Before 6,125 at Cole Field House, the Terrapins rolled to a 74-51 victory over Fairleigh Dickinson, allowing Coach Charles G. Driesell to do some experimenting and several young players to get some experience.
Len Bias led all scorers as usual, with 24 points in 30 minutes. He was 10 for 11 from the floor and four for five from the foul line and had six rebounds.
The success story of the night, however, was Tom (Speedy) Jones, who got 14 points and five rebounds starting at off guard in place of 6-foot-1 senior Jeff Baxter.
Jones, a 6-6 senior, was moved from reserve forward to provide the Terrapins with some size and help on the boards. Driesell said he liked last night's lineup well enough to stay with it, at least for the time being.
Baxter, who had eight points, still will see considerable playing time, Driesell said. But Jones gives Maryland some badly needed rebounding help.
"I'll play anywhere I can start," Jones said. "Shooting guard is actually the best place to be."
Fairleigh Dickinson did not provide much competition last night. The Knights turned the ball over 18 times, shot 41 percent from the floor and had just one scorer in double figures. That was 6-foot-4 junior guard Kevin Horton, who barely made it with 10 points.
Maryland led by 20 at intermission and by as much as 25 in the second half. The closest Fairleigh Dickinson came after halftime was 16.
Maryland ended the game with four freshmen on the floor along with Baxter. A total of 10 Terrapins played.
This was the first of a three-game home stretch for the Terrapins. They play host to William and Mary Thursday and Nevada-Las Vegas Saturday, both at 8 p.m.
The victory was a badly needed one for Maryland after a 78-66 loss at Ohio State last Saturday night. The Terrapins had been outrebounded a demoralizing 40-28 by the Buckeyes, one reason for the appearance of Jones as a starter in the backcourt last night.
"The lineup was pretty much of a success," said Driesell. "I had to do something after Ohio State -- that was awful . . . They played pretty well. We got an early lead, played some defense and never let them back in the game."
The game also marked the return of Terry Long at center after missing most of the last two games with a bruised knee. He had two points and five rebounds in 29 minutes, which was adequate considering he had missed a week of practice.
Another experiment was made by playing forward Derrick Lewis at center on defense. That allowed the 6-7 sophomore to exercise his shot-blocking skills, which had been negated somewhat in the first three games when he was forced to play more on the perimeter.
Concentrating on the inside last night, he had six blocked shots, along with 13 points, eight rebounds and three steals.
"We needed a confidence booster," Lewis said. "We needed to control the offense more; we had been taking some bad shots. It was good to come back home and win like this, to see that we could do it right."
Fairleigh Dickinson, the defending ECAC Metro champion, did not look like a team that won 21 games last year and went to the NCAA tournament. The Knights, now 1-3, have three returning starters, but you couldn't tell it.
"I thought it would be a tougher game," Driesell said.
Even Fairleigh Dickinson Coach Tom Green had to concur with that.
"The main difference was that we really beat ourselves," Green said. "We gave them every opportunity, they got so many open shots it was unbelievable."