- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 13, 2002

For much of the early part of the season, Drew Nicholas will draw some scrutiny as the Maryland player who is stepping in at shooting guard for the incomparable Juan Dixon.
Nicholas played behind Dixon for his first three years at Maryland, but after waiting patiently, now he's finally getting his chance. And he made the most of it in an impressive performance last night, scoring 32 points and collecting 11 rebounds in the Terrapins' 97-79 exhibition defeat of the Harlem Globetrotters at Comcast Center.
Nicholas gave the Maryland faithful a good opportunity to start perfecting their "Droooo" chants for the regular season. He made six of his first seven attempts from the field, including three 3-pointers on his way to 16 points in the opening half. Then, slashing to the basket in open- and half-court situations and drawing fouls, he made 12 of 12 free throws in the second.
"The main thing I told myself was to be aggressive," Nicholas said. "That's one of the things I really picked up from Juan. He was always really aggressive, always trying to attack the basket."
Nicholas, who finished 13-for-13 from the free throw line, got support from fellow seniors Tahj Holden, who had 22 points, and Steve Blake, who notched 21 points and six assists. Starters accounted for all but eight of Maryland's points.
The Terps handed this serious version of the Globetrotters its fourth loss in 17 games against college competition in the last three preseasons. Last night's team had beaten St. John's by 25 and Purdue by 15 and had several former NBA players on it, including Cedric Ceballos, who had a team-high 23 points.
Coach Gary Williams said he motivated his team by pointing out that some college basketball observers had said the Terps wouldn't have a lot of success this season.
"We heard some things," Williams said. "We wanted to get this game against a good team."
The teams were tied 66-66 with 8:04 to play when Nicholas made the first of eight consecutive free throws. Nicholas led the Terps' parade to the free-throw line in the second half as Maryland shot 30 foul shots in the final 20 minutes.
"You guys might expect this from me every night," Nicholas said. "I think I played a pretty complete game tonight"
The Terps led just 77-75 with 5:14 to go after Todd Day's basket, but Blake provided some separation with a 3-pointer at the 5:00 mark for an 80-75 lead. The shot kick-started a 20-4 Maryland run in the final five minutes.
Along with their lone returning starter, senior point guard Blake, the Terps started four more seniors: Nicholas, Calvin McCall at small forward, Holden at power forward and Ryan Randle at center. Freshman Nik Caner-Medley (four points, four rebounds) also received significant time at small forward with the starting unit.
Newcomers John Gilchrist, Jamar Smith and Travis Garrison also played significant minutes as Williams used 12 players in the first half.
"[The result] was encouraging for what it was this time of year against a good club," Williams said. "It answered some questions I know I had in my mind."

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