- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Maryland started its youngest lineup in nearly three years last night, but it was still the seniors that carried the Terrapins.
Center Ryan Randle opened the second half with 11 unanswered points after guards Drew Nicholas and Steve Blake led a late first-half run en route to a 101-60 victory over Maryland-Baltimore County at Comcast Center.
Maryland started two freshmen for the first time since forward Tahj Holden and Blake opened against Iona in the 2000 NCAA tournament. Forward Travis Garrison joined forward Nik Caner-Medley last night as starters when Holden missed the game because of a death in the family.
Blake and Nicholas combined for 21 first-half points as Maryland (5-3) led by 17 at intermission. When Randle dominated the opening three minutes of the second half for a 54-28 lead, any upset notions by the Retrievers (3-4) were gone.
Maryland coach Gary Williams is still trying to set his top rotation before facing Georgia Tech in the Terps' ACC opener Sunday. He wanted more consistency from Caner-Medley, who delivered the opening two baskets and finished with 11 points. Williams also sought a big outing from transfer forward Jamar Smith, whose 12 points included a soaring second-half dunk.
Williams also has been seeking more leadership by Blake, Nicholas and Randle, who weren't asked to deliver in key moments very often last year. If the Terps are to contend for the ACC title again, the seniors have to play more aggressively. Williams conceded that the group isn't vocal by nature, but he wanted them to show more emotion to re-energize the team after needed comebacks failed in losses to Notre Dame and Florida.
"You want to feel good. I wanted them to really enjoy it tonight," Williams said. "It's important to the building of the team. The young guys' confidence isn't built around what's gone on the last couple of years."
Said Randle: "Winning by that much raises everybody's confidence."
While the Retrievers made Williams fret for most of the first half, the Terps never trailed. Their smallest margin after the opening 10 minutes was four points twice before they returned to the starters to seal the victory early.
UMBC was willing to run with Maryland, and Blake and Nicholas shook off some early-season shooting woes while Randle owned the boards. The Terps delivered a highlight reel of shots as six players reached double figures.
"We wanted to keep running the court," Williams said. "It just opened up in the second half. Maybe we caught them tired."
Randle finished with 21 points and nine rebounds, showing some dance moves after second-half baskets.
"I was open a few times, but then I'd see big No.33 [Randle] standing there in the middle and just had to get it to him," Nicholas said.
Nicholas scored 15 points with seven assists. Blake scored 11 with nine assists to become the 23rd NCAA player to reach 800 assists.
Maryland is 13-0 against UMBC, but the Terps had to work harder in the first half than their past 25-point average victory margin. The Terps needed a late run to pull away to a 45-28 lead by intermission.
UMBC rallied within 23-19 with 5:24 remaining before Nicholas' 3-pointer. The Retrievers then missed two free throws on Williams' first technical in nearly two years, and Maryland reeled off a 13-3 streak.
The Terps scored seven points on free throws after having troubles even getting to the line in earlier games. Nicholas and Blake also hit 3-pointers during the charge. Blake even later gave up an easy fastbreak to Nicholas, who wowed the crowd with a dunk as Maryland scored the final seven points of the half.
Randle made it 56-28 before some of the crowd returned from halftime on five baskets underneath and a free throw. The Terps steadily increased the lead with Williams returning to his bench with 11 minutes remaining and a 78-40 lead.

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