- The Washington Times - Monday, December 10, 2001

What looked like a dangerous game turned into another routine victory.
The Maryland Terrapins made sure of that, blitzing Detroit from the start behind a complete effort and coasting to a 79-54 victory before an announced 14,327 last night at Cole Field House.
The Terps continue to roll, winning their seventh straight game since a season-opening loss. Lonny Baxter led Maryland with 17 points, and Tahj Holden added 14 points and, in a surprising display, a career-high six blocked shots.
But the focus was on senior forward Byron Mouton, who attended the funeral of his older brother Saturday in Louisiana and hadn't practiced all week. Mouton returned to score 13 points, tying his season high in 19 minutes off the bench and for the most part showing his usual intensity. After a difficult week, Mouton said he was eager to get back to playing basketball.
"I love to play basketball," Mouton said. "And when you get on that court, it's something you love to do, you focus on just basketball in a situation like that. When you go through stuff like that, you're always looking for somebody to be on your side, to get you back. It's very important. [The fans] put a smile on my face."
Junior Drew Nicholas started in place of Mouton, who entered the game with 13:22 left in the first half to a round of applause from the crowd. He quickly dispelled any notions that he was adversely affected by the layoff by hitting a pair of his trademark short jumpers on consecutive possessions.
Mouton didn't arrive back from Louisiana until early yesterday morning. After speaking with coach Gary Williams, he wanted to go ahead and play but deferred the starting role to Nicholas, who had practiced with the first unit the whole week. Nicholas had six points and five rebounds in his first career start.
"It was strictly up to him," Williams said. "I asked him if he wanted to play. Knowing Byron, I would think he would want to play."
In name only, Maryland disposed of another seemingly mediocre non-conference foe, but that was not the case. Detroit had played Michigan State tough, losing by 10, and had won four of its last five games, but Maryland quashed any prospect of an upset, let alone allowing the visitors to stay in the game, by jumping out to an early lead. Baxter hit two early baskets, and after Nicholas made a layup off a steal by Steve Blake, the Terps led 11-2.
The Terps made it readily apparent that the Titans (4-3) were playing their first game out of Michigan. Maryland (7-1) displayed its trademark ball-hawking man-to-man defense, and while the Terps generated seven first-half steals, they also held the Titans to 4-for-19 shooting from the floor through the first 12:30 and a 30.8 percentage for the game.
Detroit trailed 11-7 before the Terps reeled off 10 straight points. Darius Belin's 3-pointer broke the string, but Maryland scored the next eight points to build a 29-11 lead with 5:51 to go.
"I wasn't sure what to expect," Williams said. "I thought we'd play hard, but I wasn't sure how good our execution would be without Byron in practice. Just the fact that we hadn't played since Monday night worried me."
The Terps allowed Williams to rest easy with a decisive run at the start of the second half. Detroit cut a 40-23 halftime deficit to 15, but a 13-4 run, finished by the second of two field goals by Mouton, gave Maryland a 55-31 lead and an easy final 12 minutes.

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