- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 28, 2002

On the eve of Thanksgiving, the Maryland Terrapins went ahead and had their dessert before their big meal when they feasted on a cupcake, The Citadel.

The No. 11 Terps, itching to make a statement after not playing up to their standards in beating Miami (Ohio) in their season opener, routed the Bulldogs 97-49 last night at Comcast Center.

Drew Nicholas scored a career-high 28 points on 5-for-7 shooting from 3-point range as the Terps (2-0), who have won 20 straight home games, ran the nation's longest non-conference homecourt winning streak to 86 games.

The Bulldogs trudged over from Annapolis, where they played Navy Monday, and got their lunch handed to them by the Terps. On several plays, Maryland players simply snatched the ball from Citadel players and on others easily intercepted passes before taking off for the other end and an easy score. The Citadel committed 30 turnovers.

Last night's laugher was about what the Terps needed. The starters got in their needed game-type action, and more importantly, the reserves and freshmen got plenty of time, too. Less than nine minutes into the first half, coach Gary Williams had all five new players on the floor.

With some ferocious defense and a real edge that they lacked on Sunday, Maryland ravaged its opponent in the opening 20 minutes, forcing 16 turnovers (including nine steals) and allowing only six field goals.

The Terps got ample opportunity to work on their transition game, turning turnovers forced both on the press and in the halfcourt into points at the other end. In the first half, they got more than half their points 22 off of Bulldog miscues.

Maryland jumped on its prey from the get-go, as Steve Blake got the rout started with a 3-pointer 24 seconds into the contest. Blake would figure in several of the Terps' first few baskets, grabbing a rebound and feeding Nicholas, then scoring on a baseline drive that made it 7-3.

After a Ryan Randle basket, a beautiful Blake pass from halfcourt netted two free throws, then Calvin McCall hit a 3-pointer to make it 14-3 just 4:22 into the game.

Hopelessly outsized and outmanned, the Bulldogs (1-2) went with a 2-3 zone to open the game. The Terps took the available perimeter shots, knocking down five 3-pointers, including three by Nicholas.

Maryland led 14-5 when a Nicholas 3-pointer started a 10-0 run that Nicholas also finished with a 3-pointer, this one from about 25 feet out. The Terps continued to pour it on, with freshman Nik Caner-Medley (12 points) scoring six points in a 1:36 span that put the lead at 30-11.

After the Bulldogs scored consecutive baskets for the first time in the game to cut the lead to 34-15, Maryland scored the next nine points before a Citadel bucket made it 43-17 at the half.

The Terps' 26-point halftime lead was their largest since leading Pittsburgh by 29 in the Puerto Rico Shootout in 1998. Citadel's 17 points was the fewest allowed by a Terp team since the game against Pittsburgh, which also scored just 17.

The devastation the Terps applied in the opening 20 minutes made the second half a little more than a controlled scrimmage between the varsity and the jayvee.

The Terps will now play one more home game, Saturday against Duquesne, before getting to the first of four games against tough competition, including top-25 teams Indiana and Florida.

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