Maryland Men 101,
Despite his fiery sideline behavior, Maryland Coach Gary Williams knows how to keep his anger under control before it results in a technical foul. He also knows when a technical can turn into a positive for his team.
About five minutes before halftime last night against UMBC, Williams was assessed his first technical foul in nearly two years. The result: the Terrapins scored 30 of the next 39 points en route to a 101-60 win before 17,602 at Comcast Center.
Williams appeared to have seen enough sluggish play from his well-rested team and not enough from officials to keep a sloppy game under control. No. 23 Maryland led only 26-19 against an overmatched team at the time of the technical.
"The intensity rose right after [the technical]," senior guard Drew Nicholas said. "Guys started playing with emotion and when guys play with emotion, we're tough. When guys come out flat, teams can stay with us."
The Terrapins (5-3), playing their first game since a home loss to Florida nine days ago, took most of the first half to find their groove. Their passing was not sharp and they appeared to struggle with their pressing defense.
"I wanted [the players] to make sure I was very serious about the game and I'm very serious about this year and playing hard," Williams said. "Sometimes you don't want to leave any doubt about how you feel about things. I think I got their attention."
Maryland scored on nine of its final 12 first-half possessions to take a 45-28 halftime lead.
Ryan Randle led six Terrapins in double figures with 21 points, 17 of which came in the second half. He also had a team-high nine rebounds. Nicholas scored 15 points (on 4-of-11 shooting) and had a season-high seven assists. Jamar Smith looked very impressive with 12 points and six rebounds, while Steve Blake, Nik-Caner Medley and Calvin McCall each scored 11.
Senior forward Tahj Holden did not play. He left the team to attend the funeral of family member in New Jersey last night. Holden is expected back in the lineup against Georgia Tech on Sunday in the Terps' ACC opener.
Freshman Travis Garrison started in Holden's place with Caner-Medley at the other forward, making it the first time Maryland started two freshmen since March 16, 2000, when Holden and Blake started against Iona in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Even without the 6-foot-10, 270-pound Holden, Maryland still enjoyed a comfortable size advantage over the Retrievers (3-4), who started just one player taller than 6-5. Yet, the Terrapins did not take advantage of that early, preferring to launch jump shots.
The uneven play continued and Williams's intensity got the best of him when he confronted referee Bernard Clinton, who gave Williams his first technical foul since Feb. 10, 2001, at North Carolina.
Maryland began the second half by looking inside at every opportunity, even if it meant passing up open jumpers. Randle scored the game's first 11 points after halftime to seize control. Three times, Randle scored on layups or dunks off feeds from an open Nicholas on the perimeter.
"In the second half, we came out running the floor," Randle said. "That's our plan, to get easy looks."