- The Washington Times - Friday, December 21, 2001

Now that the Maryland Terrapins have finished their final exams at home, they will try to ace their first bona fide road test of the basketball season.
The Terps matched their highest ranking ever at No. 2 this week and will immediately put it to the test tonight with their first visit to the home court of an opponent, No. 22 Oklahoma. Maryland , which has played five home games and four on neutral courts, takes an eight-game winning streak into a rare non-conference road game.
"Our mentality is to dominate," forward Byron Mouton said. "We don't just want to come out and get a win, and win by like four or five. The most important thing about being the No. 2 team is to dominate and show your dominance."
Maryland (8-1) will try to show its superiority against the Sooners, who have won seven straight. Oklahoma will have a packed house of more than 12,000 inside Lloyd Noble Center, and a new big man as 6-foot-10 Jabahri Brown became eligible two weeks ago. The transfer from Florida International is the tallest player for the Sooners, who rely on aggression and quickness to overcome a lack of height.
"It will be a physical game," said Maryland coach Gary Williams, whose team won a similar outing against No. 9 Illinois three weeks ago at Cole Field House. "It's a good test for us, because we play physical teams in our league. We have to be ready and be able to run our offense against a lot of body contact."
The only loss for Oklahoma (8-1) was at No. 16 Michigan State. Since then the Sooners have faced relatively light competition, although they did post a 15-point victory at Arkansas. Coach Kelvin Sampson's team has five junior college transfers, led by do-everything point guard Hollis Price. The Sooners have scored over 100 points in their last three games, including Tuesday's 109-50 thrashing of Eastern Illinois.
"They like to run," said Maryland center Lonny Baxter, who should be able to use his 6-8, 260-pound frame to wear down the Sooners.
The Terps will try to regain their form after a nine-day layoff since routing Monmouth 91-55. That came after blowout victories over Connecticut and Detroit. Maryland has finally corrected its horrendous early-season foul shooting by making 60 of 81 (74-percent) over the last three games, improving to 62.5 percent for the season.
Juan Dixon (18.2 average) will try to snap his long-distance shooting slump. The Terps' senior sniper has made 22 percent (6-for-27) of his 3-pointers over the past five games.
Oklahoma averages 82.2 points, making 36 percent from behind the arc. Junior Price leads the shooting frenzy with an 18.1 point average and has made an astounding 51 percent (59-for-108) of his treys. The quick-handed Sooners apply constant pressure and force 17.9 turnovers a game.
Maryland historically has played well away outside Cole, including shocking Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium the last two seasons. Will this season's Terps be the same kind of road warriors?
"It's not something we'll know until we start playing," said power forward Tahj Holden, who has emerged as an offensive threat with double figures the last three games. "But I really do believe we'll be ready."
Williams will be making his first voyage to Norman in his 24-year coaching career as the Terps get an early taste of a frenzied ACC-like environment before conference play starts.
"Oklahoma is considered one of the toughest places to play in the Big 12," the Maryland coach said. "We understand that. We played in tough places last year with most of these guys. Hopefully, that will carry over to this year."
Notes The Terps are going to Oklahoma as a return trip for the Sooners coming to College Park last February. In that game, Dixon shed a new pair of sneakers for an old pair after scoring five points before the break. He scored 23 in the second half to lead Maryland to a 68-60 win.
Maryland has spent 20 weeks ranked No. 2 by the Associated Press, the most by any team never to be No. 1. The Terps opened this season No. 2 before being upset by No. 11 Arizona…
The Terps have played Oklahoma three times, but only once in the Sooners' state. That was in Oklahoma City on Dec. 7, 1993 when ex-Baltimore Orioles' third baseman Ryan Minor scored 30 points as Oklahoma won 88-85. Maryland's Joe Smith had 30 points and 16 rebounds.
Baxter has made 19-of-24 free throws the last three games … Holden has made 12 straight foul shots.

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