- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 14, 2006

Maryland guard Mike Jones held his arm up as he jogged backward early in the second half, clearly amused at his unconscious shooting and relishing a career night.

After making his ninth straight 3-pointer, it was understandable he would indulge in such a simple pleasure as striking a pose.

The senior set a school record for 3-pointers (nine) and scored a career-high 27 points as the Terrapins hit a team-record 17 3-pointers and eviscerated Missouri-Kansas City 101-50 at Comcast Center.

“Basically, it’s time to put on a shooting spree,” Jones said of seeing the zone defense presented by the Kangaroos. “Not just myself, but D.J. [Strawberry], Parrish [Brown], a lot of guys came in and stepped up and knocked down some 3s. That definitely helped us out.”

Jones eclipsed the old Maryland record of seven 3-pointers, first set by Walt Williams on Feb. 5, 1992, at Florida State and matched by Jones in a Jan. 28 loss at Temple.

It was much easier for Jones to celebrate his effort against overmatched Missouri-Kansas City (3-8), which shot a meager 25 percent. The Terps (10-2), meanwhile, matched a season-high with 24 assists and set a season-low with eight turnovers.

Coach Gary Williams deployed a new lineup after a stretch that featured lousy passing in losses to Notre Dame and Boston College, and a turnover festival in a win against Fordham. Out was freshman guard Eric Hayes, who started the first 11 games, and forward Ekene Ibekwe, who had only 14 points the last two games.

In their places were charismatic freshman guard Greivis Vasquez, who had eight assists last night, and fan favorite Bambale Osby, and both immediately provided a spark.

On Maryland’s first possession, Osby deftly finished a feed from Strawberry. At the defensive end, Osby blocked a layup, with Vasquez rebounding and sending an outlet pass to Strawberry for an easy basket.

“You don’t know if that made us play well early,” Williams said. “The guys that didn’t start came in and played hard. It didn’t affect them. For a coach, it really doesn’t matter. I’m sure it matters to most players whether they start or not, but you’re just looking for a way to play the best you can and we played well that way.”

However, Jones’ outside shooting soon emerged as the night’s primary theme. After missing his first three attempts, Jones made six straight 3-pointers as the Terps built a 56-22 halftime lead. He tied the record 40 seconds into the second half, then hit a 24-footer the next time down the floor.

Jones’ final basket made it 67-28 and sent him past his career-high of 25 points, set three seasons ago against Maryland-Eastern Shore. Jones’ barrage — ceaseless until he left with about 13 minutes left — prompted a boisterous student to intone five minutes into the second half, “It’s 30-27, and Mike Jones is looking to tie the Kangaroos.”

Strawberry scored 20 points and Gist added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Terps, who played for the final time before a 10-day break for final exams.

Maryland blew past the school record for 3-pointers, previously 13 in two games during the 2001-02 season. It was fitting walk-on Jason McAlpin sent the Terps into triple figures with 3s on the final two possessions, including a 24-footer after failing to hear Williams’ plea to hold the ball. The coach could only smirk as the Terps cheered McAlpin’s marksmanship.

“Everyone was on fire, and I thought, ‘I couldn’t be the one that’s not on fire,’ so I stepped up and knocked down a couple 3s,” said McAlpin, who scored his first career points.

For its part, Missouri-Kansas City was a harmless distraction. The Kangaroos provided little resistance to Maryland’s strong perimeter game — Jones in particular — with their zone defense.

“If you leave him open, you’re pretty much going to get about nine threes in a row,” Gist said. “After a while, you’d have thought they’d have gone man or a box-and-one. I’m shocked they didn’t make an effort to guard him. I’m not shocked he was making the shots, but every time he shot it he was wide open.”

Note — Maryland assistant athletic director for external operations Brian Ullmann said the school had sold 8,064 tickets to the Champs Sports Bowl as of 5 p.m. yesterday. Maryland will meet Purdue in the Dec. 29 game in Orlando, Fla.

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