You could call what Maryland did to Randolph-Macon last night by a score of 74-50 a breather for the Terrapins, or you could call it a learning experience for the Division II Yellow Jackets. Or you could be perfectly frank and call it an absolute mismatch.
Len Bias' artful, thunderous reverse jam with 7:59 remaining gave Maryland a 27-point lead, its biggest of the night at 63-36, but it aroused the small Cole Field House crowd of 5,100 fans just briefly before they slipped back into another fitful doze. By then it had become a common sight, the Terrapins hanging up there above the rim carrying on entire conversations while idly putting the ball through the basket once more.
"It was like an easy practice for us," Maryland Coach Charles G. Driesell said. "I don't think anyone gets a whole lot out of games like this. If we were practicing I'd have kept them out there another two hours. It was almost like a day off."
About the only excitement came when Randolph-Macon cut what was a 21-point halftime deficit to a more respectable 16 on Scott Csaky's free throws with 14:58 left to make it 44-28. Maryland had led at the half by 35-14 despite the fact that no one played particularly well.
You had to give Randolph-Macon, which started three freshmen and had just one senior on the 11-man roster, credit for eventually managing 50 points.
"The thing I tried to stress was to just leave people with a good opinion of us," Randolph-Macon Coach Hal Nunnally said. "We knew we weren't going to win by halftime, but we weren't going to play dead just because we had an abysmal first half."
The only scorers in double figures for Randolph-Macon were freshman guard Csaky with 16 points and senior James Griffin with 15. Bias left shortly after his jam with 14 points and Jeff Baxter was, surprisingly, Maryland's high scorer with 16.
Driesell did what he had threatened to and benched junior point guard Keith Gatlin, starting senior reserve Baxter in his place. But it did not take long for Gatlin to make an appearance: he spelled freshman guard John Johnson with 14:12 to go in the first half.
Driesell had been vocal in his displeasure with Gatlin for his lack of aggression in last Saturday's 81-75 loss to Duke. Gatlin seemed improved in that area last night and finished with six points, two steals and nine assists in 25 minutes.
Driesell said that Baxter, however, "most likely " will remain the starter against fifth-ranked Georgia Tech (11-1) in Atlanta on Saturday when the Terrapins (9-3) resume Atlantic Coast Conference play.
"I didn't feel any different (not starting)," Gatlin said. "You have highs and lows and I'm willing to learn from it. I came out and did well. It doesn't matter who starts."
Baxter, who had lost his own starting job to freshman John Johnson six games ago, added one assist and three steals in 25 minutes. He was also the first Terrapin to replace Bias as Maryland's leading scorer in a game this season.
"I must say it feels good," Baxter said. "Especially good combined with a win . . . I honestly don't mind who starts. We only have three guards and I know I'm going to play. During the time that John Johnson took my starting place I thought it was fair because I wasn't playing up to my potential."
Maryland started slow but finished fast to take its 35-14 halftime lead with shameful ease, capitalizing on 15 turnovers by Randolph-Macon. The Terrapins broke it open midway through the period with 15 straight points.
Tom (Speedy) Jones (13 points) started it off with a layin with 10:24 left. Next, Baxter's steal turned into Gatlin's fast break layup. Gatlin returned the favor seconds later with a steal of his own, feeding Baxter on the break. Then Gatlin stole it again, putting this one in himself to make it 23-8 with 8:34 left. Seven more points completed the run to make it 30-8 with 5:41 left in the period.
Reserve Maryland center Terry Long did not dress for the game. He has been declared temporarily ineligible for failing to complete a course this semester. He will be reinstated if and when he completes the course.