- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 23, 2001

NORMAN, Okla. Maryland forward Tahj Holden had good reason for a splitting headache after crashing his head against the hardwood in Friday's loss at No.22 Oklahoma. The rest of the second-ranked Terrapins left Lloyd Noble Center with a general case of nausea following an embarrassing performance.
Holden did not suffer a concussion but never fully rebounded after diving for the ball a little more than a minute into the game. Then again, his teammates simply didn't rebound as the Sooners pounded the Terps 72-56.
"They were getting to loose balls and beating us on the boards," Maryland center Lonny Baxter said after the Terps' eight-game winning steak was emphatically snapped. "They took us out of offense. We couldn't hit a shot."
Maryland barely resembled a Final Four team that returned the core of its players. It missed open shots, forced unnecessary turnovers and was outhustled by the scrappy Sooners.
Oklahoma nearly doubled Maryland in rebounds (26-14) in the second half as it turned a two-point halftime lead into a laugher. Sooners big men Aaron McGhee (11 rebounds, six offensive) and Jabahri Brown (14 rebounds), who played in just his fourth game since transferring from Florida International, left Maryland flatfooted as they skied above the rim for rebounds often resulting in easy putbacks.
The quicker and more athletic Sooners clamped down in the middle on defense and limited Baxter (10 points) to five shots. Oklahoma could do that because Maryland couldn't make an outside jumper. Maryland committed 21 turnovers, while the Sooners totaled 13 steals.
"We sent a message to everyone in America that Oklahoma has a great basketball team," said Sooners coach Kelvin Sampson, whose team won its eighth straight to improve to 9-1. "We had a good game plan, and we carried it out, especially on the defensive side."
Maryland's 22 second-half points were the lowest in a half this season. The 56 points were the smallest output in more than four seasons. The Terps shot 39 percent, including a paltry 32 percent in the fatal second half.
"We have to understand that we have to stay within what we do," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "We had some guys go one-on-one tonight and got out of the offense. We're not that type of team."
Juan Dixon's shooting struggles were a big part of that; he had just two points in the second half and 11 overall. The sharpshooter missed all four of his 3-pointers as the Terps made three of 19 3s on the day, including 1-for-11 in the second half. Dixon is in a sustained slump, hitting six of 31 3-pointers over the past six games.
The Terps (8-2) will try to move on from the Oklahoma agony with they play host to William & Mary on Thursday before opening ACC play Dec. 30 at N.C. State.
Maryland had a similar disheartening experience earlier this season and responded well. In a disappointing loss to Arizona in the season opener Nov. 8, the Terps were outworked and outrebounded after entering the season with the No.2 ranking. Maryland had not lost since then. Players said the most recent loss is much more of a cause for concern.
"It's a little different now because we're into the season now," said Terps point guard Steve Blake, who made just two of 11 field goals against the Sooners. "We've been playing for a while. We know what we are capable of doing. That's why it's so frustrating."
Notes
Chris Wilcox played a career-high 30 minutes in part because of Holden's troubles. The sophomore had a team-high 15 points and nine rebounds. Holden had two points and one rebound in 16 minutes. … Oklahoma's last win over a top-5 team was in the 1995-96 season when it upset No.3 Kansas 85-79 in Norman.

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