- The Washington Times - Monday, January 22, 2001


RALEIGH, N.C. No Juan, no problem.

With perhaps its best player, Juan Dixon, sidelined with a sore tailbone, Maryland staged its most impressive win of the season with a 75-61 blowout of N.C. State. The No. 12 Terps pounded the Wolfpack inside, embarrassed their poorly organized press for easy layups and showcased their depth to build a 21-point lead in the second half as they ran N.C. State off its own court before an announced sellout crowd of 17,428 at the Entertainment & Sports Arena.

Power forward Terence Morris continued his tear since the ACC season began with 20 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots as Maryland (14-4, 5-1 ACC) won its third straight. Center Lonny Baxter had 18 points despite foul trouble as Maryland used a 3-2 zone to frustrate N.C. State in the second half and held the hosts to 30 percent shooting after the break.

The Terps routed the Wolfpack (9-7, 1-4) with Dixon in warmups the latter part of the first half and the entire second half. The shooting guard was sore after a collision with Byron Mouton late in Saturday's practice and had two points in 11 minutes in the first half before asking to sit out rather than hurt the team. Dixon, who had 30 points in Wednesday's win over 10th-ranked Wake Forest, plans to take a few days off and get treatment.

But he left no doubt he will be ready when No. 2 Duke, which has won its last 23 road games, comes to Cole Field House on Saturday.

"I will definitely be ready by Thursday," Dixon said. "I knew my teammates could go out and perform well without me. They showed a lot of people they can win without me. We just win."

The Terps improved to 3-0 on the road in the ACC and should re-enter the top 10 after they decomposed the Wolfpack in the second half. Maryland dominated the front line with Baxter and Morris combining to make 15 of 24 shots and shutting down the Wolfpack's inside game. N.C. State's top big man, Kenny Inge, had three points on 1-for-6 shooting. Shooting guard Anthony Grundy led the Wolfpack with 16 points, though he made just six of 17 attempts.

"We feel they are a little bit undersized, especially for a player like me or Terence," said Mike Mardesich, the Terps' 7-foot center, who had six points and was part of a deep bench that helped keep up constant pressure. "We have an advantage as far as being able to shoot over them. I was told when I got in the game to just make one move and try to shoot over them."

The Terps pulled away with Danny Miller (seven points, seven assists, no turnovers) starting for Dixon in the second half. After Damien Wilkins (11 points) made a running jumper in the lane to cut Maryland's lead to 35-33 early in the second half, the Terps ripped off seven straight points to begin a 15-5 stretch and the rout was on. Two free throws by Mouton started the run. Later Morris, who made three of four 3-pointers, nailed an effortless 22-foot jumper to make it a nine-point bulge.

The Terps continued the blowout by making a shambles of N.C. State's poorly conceived press, which left no safety valve. Maryland used an 8-3 run to build a 54-41 lead as it threw over N.C. State's fullcourt defense for layups and dunks. Mouton had two breakaway scores, Miller took a 70-foot inbounds pass from Morris for a layup and Baxter had a layup in transition.

"I didn't understand that," said Mouton, who had eight points and seven rebounds despite making two of eight shots. "It looked like they were playing even with us. Danny, Drew [Nicholas] and I would just fake up and push them up and go break out, and we throw it over their heads. I was thinking [the defenders] would play behind us, but they played even with us. That's strange for a press not to play behind you."

Maryland eventually built a 70-49 lead with 4:18 to play on a 3-pointer by Nicholas from the top of the key. The outburst came as the Terps switched to a zone defense. The Wolfpack couldn't shoot over the zone and rarely got second shots after staying close in the first half with offensive putbacks.

"We went zone in the second half because N.C. State was having trouble shooting and we were in some foul trouble [with Baxter, Dixon and Steve Blake] and because Juan Dixon was unable to play," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "We wanted to see how we would do in a zone, and it worked pretty well, so we stayed with it. We rebounded well in it."

Dixon was standing and clapping with a wide grin on his face as the final seconds ticked off, and his team was dominant without him. The Terps showed they are a force with or without their leader.

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