- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 12, 2001

It took one half for the Maryland Terrapins to shake their opponent, but once they went inside, it was over.

No. 3 Maryland had five players score in double figures and ran its winning streak to eight and non-conference run at home to 82 with a 91-55 victory against Monmouth last night before 13,336 at Cole Field House.

The Terps (8-1) led by just nine at the half but shut down Monmouth in the second, forcing a paltry 6-for-26 shooting performance from the field while breaking the game open by scoring on their first seven possessions. Juan Dixon, Tahj Holden and Lonny Baxter each had four points in the 15-2 run that Byron Mouton (season-high 17 points) started with a 3-pointer, and the Terps eventually racked up 28 of the second half's first 32 points to stretch their lead to 33 over the Hawks (4-4). Maryland, led by Dixon's 18 points, heads into its 10-day break for semester exams in good standing before a Dec. 21 game at Oklahoma.

"We came out in the second half more aggressive," Baxter said.

Maryland pulled away by again limiting its opponent's field-goal shooting, something that has become a trend early in the season. The Terps held Monmouth to under 40 percent from the field, the seventh time in eight games they have held their opponent under 40.

The first half was a complete contrast. It's not that the Terps played that poorly, because they shot 61.5 percent; they just ran into a scrappy team that refused to be intimidated or cave in under pressure. When Cameron Milton made a layup with 11:54 to go in the first half after rebounding Chris Wilcox's missed dunk, the Hawks led, 17-16.

It seemed Monmouth would have a terrible time defending the Terps inside with its tallest frontcourt player, 6-10 Kevin Owens, out with a knee injury. And while the height disadvantage cost the Hawks on the defensive end, Monmouth showed some tenacity on offense, shooting nearly 50 percent in the opening 20 minutes, and hung with the Terps.

With Owens absent, the Hawks, the coaches' preseason favorite to win the Northeast Conference, catered their game to their small personnel. On offense, they often kept four players on the perimeter, and tried to get baskets on limited options - jumpers, backdoor cuts or drives by Rahsaan Johnson. Monmouth kept its shooting percentage over 50 for much of the first half and held their own on the boards.

The Terps led by as many as 14 in the first half, at 42-28 with 2:30 left before the break, but two 3-pointers by Russ Anderson, who wasn't supposed to play last night because of a chronic hip flexor strain, narrowed the lead to 46-37 at halftime.

Maryland was only biding its time. The pounced after the break, pounding the ball into Baxter and Holden to wear the Hawks down and using drives by Mouton and Dixon to break the defense. Defensively, the Terps eliminated the good looks they gave Monmouth in the first half and forced

Notes Maryland announced that home games against William & Mary (Dec. 27) and Norfolk State (Jan. 3) will both be televised by Comcast SportsNet. That means every other Maryland game this year will be televised. … Among the Terps' five home dates this season, only one (against Illinois) has been a sellout.




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