- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 20, 2002

With their season-opener just five days away, last night's exhibition game took on a little more meaning than a typical preseason contest for the Maryland Terrapins.

Following a so-so first half after which they led by just six, Maryland slowly pulled away in the second, defeating the EA Sports All-Stars 95-60 before an announced 17,357 at Comcast Center.

Maryland got a couple of good outings from its frontcourt tandem of Tahj Holden and Ryan Randle, who combined for 28 points and 15 rebounds. Drew Nicholas recorded 15 points, while Steve Blake had seven assists and five turnovers.

Junior Jamar Smith contributed 13 points on 6-for-8 shooting off the bench.

The Terps led by only seven with nearly seven minutes gone in the second half but quickly put their opponent away with an 11-4 spurt for a 62-48 lead. They coasted from there against the weary EA Sports team, which beat Wake Forest on Monday night. Maryland finished the game by scoring 33 of the last 43 points over the final eight minutes.

The Terps weren't overly sloppy, but they weren't particularly crisp, either, giving coach Gary Williams and the coaching staff plenty to drill them on before they face Miami of Ohio on Sunday at Comcast Center in their season opener.

In reality, Maryland's problems last night looked characteristic of a team trying to work in five new players to its regular rotation and six to its team overall. Things like communication and giving help on defense and a lack of timing on offense gave the Terps trouble last night, all things that should resolve themselves in time.

There were still plenty of bright spots, including nice performances from freshmen Nik Caner-Medley and John Gilchrist, who factored in Maryland's run that put the game away. The Terps also showed good hustle on the boards, where they held a 49-33 advantage.

Calvin McCall again got the start at small forward, but Caner-Medley replaced him 6:36 into the first half and had an immediate impact. He scored on a tip-in just three seconds after he entered the game and had three offensive rebounds in his first two minutes.

Williams went to his bench early, also inserting Smith, Chris McCray, Travis Garrison and Gilchrist in the first 10 minutes. Smith logged a solid eight first-half minutes, scoring seven points on 3-for-3 shooting, including a circus scoop shot on the baseline.

Though the EA Sports team was playing its 15th and final game of its 19-day preseason tour against college competition, it kept the game close through much of the first half. Relying a good deal on long-range shooting EA Sports attempted 21 3-pointers in the first half, making six the visitors took a 25-24 lead with 6:59 left in the first half.

But Maryland, using a combined 10 points from Holden and Randle, came back with a 15-8 run to close the half up 39-33. Holden had six points and nine rebounds in the first half.


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