- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 14, 2000


Juan Dixon scored from 3-point range, used a nice hanging jumper and even had an impressive turn around in the lane. The Maryland guard looks like he's in midseason form, and the Terps offense is falling in right behind him.

Last night, the 20th-ranked Terps started slowly before thwarting Maryland-Baltimore County 93-67 at Cole Field House before an announced crowd of 13,021, though thousands stayed home because of inclement weather. What they missed was a shooting spree by Dixon, who matched a season high with 23 points on nine of 15 shooting and added seven assists for good measure. The 6-foot-3 junior from Baltimore and All-ACC selection made three of four 3-pointers as he went over the 1,000-point mark in his illustrious career.

"When we signed him, we were criticized because people said he couldn't play in the ACC," Maryland coach Gary Williams said after the Terps' fifth straight win. "He wasn't big enough."

Dixon got going in transition as the Terps used pressure defense and their deep bench to wear out the scrappy Retrievers. Terps center Lonny Baxter posted a double-double (17 points, 12 rebounds along with four blocks) as Maryland used its transition defense to set up the blowout and lengthen the nation's longest nonconference home winning streak to 73. The Terps also dominated the feisty but undersized Retrievers 44-29 in rebounds.

The Terps (6-3) forced 17 turnovers in the first half alone as they got untracked late in the period. Maryland used a 13-point run in the first half to pull away from the smaller but well-coached Retrievers (5-2), who are off to their best start in 14 seasons since upgrading to Division I.

But Dixon's marksmanship led the way.

"I'm just hitting my shots," said Dixon, who began the season slowly before scoring 23 in each of his last two games. "It was just a matter of time. Everybody goes through a slump once in a while. Right now, I'm just hitting my shots."

Steve Blake had 10 assists for Maryland, including a dazzling around-the-back dish to Dixon for a 3-pointer in the game's final moments.

"He pulled that one out of his rear end," Dixon said with a broad smile on his face. "I don't know where that pass came from."

Though the Terps have straightened things out after a slow start, power forward Terence Morris continued his disappointing season. The 6-9 preseason All-American had just nine points on four of 13 shooting and three rebounds. It continued a troubling trend that has him shooting 38 percent (21-for-57) in his last six games. The power forward did not attempt a free throw for a second consecutive game.

But the Terps had plenty of encouraging signs. Reserve forward Danny Miller came off the bench and sparked the team with several hustle plays for loose balls. The 6-8 junior, who lost his starting job to Byron Mouton earlier this season, finished with eight points, five rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots.

Reserve Peter Mulligan led the visitors with 20 points.

The Terps built a 51-33 halftime lead, mostly on the strength of the 13-point run, by stunting UMBC's offense with a fullcourt press and trapping defense.

Following a free throw by Mouton that gave Maryland a 31-25 lead, Mouton stole the ball off the press and fed Morris for a dunk for the power forward's first points of the evening. Another steal forced by Baxter and Miller led to two free throws by Dixon and a 10-point lead.

A Morris layup followed by a steal by Baxter and a layup off a fast break by Blake gave the Terps a commanding 43-25 lead with 2:28 left.

Dixon had 11 points in the half and Baxter had 10 as the Terps shot 48 percent in the period. But UMBC stayed close by getting good shots when it wasn't turning the ball over. The Retrievers also shot 48 percent before the break and had 22 points inside the paint.

Miller provided a spark with six points and three rebounds in the first 10 minutes in the half, and Blake had five assists while leading the quick-strike attack.

Maryland initially went ahead with a nine-point run. Dixon had the first seven points in the stretch with a layup coming out of a spin, a 3-pointer and a turnaround jumper in the lane. Mouton's layup on a break off a Blake assist gave the Terps a 13-4 advantage.

However, UMBC wouldn't let the game get out of hand until late in the half. The Retrievers cut it to 30-25 on a putback by Mulligan after Baxter blocked Ronald Yates' shot.

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