- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 11, 2001

Calvin McCall now plays on the basketball team. Ryan Randle joins a rotation that has grown to nine. Tahj Holden is the starting power forward for now.
The Maryland basketball team began displaying its 2001-02 wares last week in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in New York. The Terrapins came in ranked No. 2, their highest preseason ranking in history, and with four returning starters from last season's Final Four team. But they played with little intensity in the opener and were upset by unranked Arizona on Thursday.
Coach Gary Williams made several adjustments most notably deciding to play McCall and Randle before Friday's consolation game with Temple. The result was a spectacular shooting performance in an 82-74 victory over the 16th-ranked Owls.
"I told the team before the game that this is the only time when playing two games in two days in a tournament is good because you play right after a loss, and you don't have to wait to play again," Williams said.
The Terps shot a blistering 59 percent from the field and made 63 percent (12 of 19) of their 3-pointers against Temple. That came a night after they shot 39 percent, with seven of 27 (26 percent) 3s. Point guard Steve Blake made just two of 10 shots against Arizona before hitting six of seven and scoring a career-high 20 points against Temple.
Maryland also found its stroke from the foul line albeit late. It sank just four of 12 from the line against the Wildcats and made just six of its first 16 against Temple. But the Terps assured the victory by making their final 12 free throws. Blake and Juan Dixon (25 points) had four, and Byron Mouton and Lonny Baxter each added a pair.
"The games don't lie," said Williams, who blasted his team after its lackluster performance Thursday. "We went out and quit [against Arizona], and that was the level we were playing at. We were good enough to take it up a level in 24 hours. We played at a different level [Friday], which is the sign of a good team I hope."
Against Temple, Holden started for Chris Wilcox and did a good job passing and had a strong inside presence. The 6-foot-10 Holden played 27 minutes of strong defense and made a key jump shot down the stretch. Wilcox was much more effective coming off the bench. The athletic sophomore grabbed nine rebounds in 24 minutes after collecting just three in 22 minutes a night earlier.
Randle, a 6-9, 245-pound junior college transfer, also provided relief up front as Baxter (seven points, six rebounds) was ineffective and limited to 23 minutes because of foul trouble. Randle played six minutes, finishing with two points and three rebounds.
McCall was a surprise substitute. It seemed like an odd choice when he came in to relieve Mouton at small forward less than five minutes into the Temple game. The 6-3, 200-pound junior, who was relegated to mop-up duty during the last two seasons, originally walked on at a time when he was the football team's starting quarterback.
"I was real surprised," said McCall of his early entry. "I wasn't nervous at all. I had played [football] in front of 80,000 people. This is why I left football to play basketball full time."
McCall hit a 3-pointer that provided Maryland with its first lead and seemed to give the team confidence. He finished with three points and three rebounds in 11 minutes. A night earlier, Dixon played 39 minutes and Baxter 38, and Holden and Drew Nicholas were the only reserves to play.
"It's definitely important," said Holden, who expects to alternate with Wilcox as starter. "Guys get tired, and we like to play an uptempo game. We need to use those guys. Those guys did a great job. Cal came in and hit the 3. Ryan came in banged a little bit, played some defense and got some boards and made a couple shots. That's what we needed."
The extra rest kept starters fresh for the powerful finish. The Terps won despite having 18 turnovers and just five offensive rebounds.
"We haven't played our best game yet, and we are probably nowhere near it," Holden said. "We're just trying to be our best team by the time we get to the postseason. We have a bunch of things to work on, but it's still pretty early. We played pretty good for a team that's only been practicing three or four weeks."


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