Maryland 85, Loyola 58
Everything went pretty much according to script for the 10th-ranked Maryland Terrapins yesterday afternoon. The starters built a big lead early, Coach Gary Williams got to clear out the bench and Maryland rolled to its fifth consecutive victory, 85-58 against overmatched Loyola of Baltimore.
But while much of the Comcast Center crowd of 17,578 enjoyed the blowout, many of those inside the Terrapins' locker room were less than satisfied with the performance.
Asked for an assessment, Williams was terse. "We're okay," Williams said. "It was all right."
For a team that has five newcomers in its 10-player rotation, an easy victory might have been reason to celebrate earlier in the season. However, Maryland's recent run to the top of the ACC standings and its improved play of late might have raised expectations to where the Terrapins desire more than just winning.
"We've got to finish out the game," said forward Tahj Holden, who was particularly irked that Maryland was outrebounded, 43-34, and only outscored the Greyhounds by three points in the second half. "We have to finish well. We have to get every loose ball. We have to have that killer instinct -- we didn't have that out there tonight.
"I'm a little disappointed, actually, by the way we played. We were up by 25 or 30 points most of the game; we should have been up by 50 or even more. It should have been a really big blowout."
As it was, though, it was still a one-sided romp. The Terrapins (14-4), who will complete the first half of their ACC schedule Thursday against Virginia, scored the game's first 14 points and there was never any suspense.
Maryland shot 53 percent from the field, Loyola made a season-high 27 turnovers and it turned out to be every bit the mismatch that had been expected. Center Ryan Randle scored 17 points, guard Drew Nicholas had 15 and point guard Steve Blake had 10 assists for the Terrapins.
"We just wanted to do our things well," Nicholas said. "We really wanted to work on some things. We wanted to win the ballgame, but we wanted to tighten up our half-court offense. We hadn't been doing that great."
The Greyhounds (4-15) struggled just getting the ball up the court against the Terrapins' press, missed open shots and were ineffective on defense. The result was plenty of easy Maryland baskets and essentially a two-hour scrimmage.
A layup and two three-pointers by Nicholas gave the Terrapins a 10-0 lead. Holden made a bank shot and Randle made a reverse layup and it was 14-0. By that time, Loyola was 0 of 5 from the field with five turnovers.
"You like to see it at the time," Williams said. "But you look back and you wish Loyola would have hit a couple of shots to put a little fear into us maybe."
By halftime, sophomore guard Andre Collins, playing for the first time in three weeks, had made a pair of three-pointers and Maryland's lead was 50-26.
"Maryland has monsters," Loyola Coach Scott Hicks said. "They are long, thick and athletic."
The second half was rather lackluster. Perhaps the loudest cheers came when seldom-used forward Darien Henry scored the game's final basket on a jumper with eight seconds left. Williams noted the less-than-vocal crowd as he began his postgame news conference to a smaller-than-usual media contingent.
"This place big enough to hold the crowd?" Williams said. "I think our students felt the same way, too."