- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 5, 2003

Maryland's players huddled near the free throw line before the start of yesterday's game. Instead, the Terps should have met under the basket, where they spent most of the afternoon.
Maryland thumped Wagner 79-57 before 17,505 at Comcast Center by dominating the boards. Maryland's consistent height advantage provided a steady stream of highlights, with center Ryan Randle making all 10 of his shots from the floor to tie Lonny Baxter's school record.
Randle led the Terps with 21 points and seven rebounds. He rarely ventured more than a few feet from the basket as guard Steve Blake dished out 12 assists. Randle's shots were seldom contested, though he sported several impressive turnaround jumpers. Maryland outrebounded Wagner 50-40 but rarely lost a needed offensive board with 17 second-chance points.
"Ryan is becoming a force, and we have to find him in our offense," coach Gary Williams said. "The hardest thing to do in basketball is get the ball inside. If you're not executing well, you start taking jump shots. That's the easy way out. The second half, we did a better job getting the ball inside."
Randle is emerging as the Terps' go-to guy. He has scored at least 20 points in three straight games and more than 15 points seven times.
"I just took it to the rack real hard," Randle said. "I had great position the way they fed me the ball."
Maryland (7-3) won its third straight and will play host to Hampton on Wednesday as it seeks to continue building chemistry between its seniors and five newcomers. The Terps often played one or two starters with reserves as it used 12 players, with only guard Calvin McCall (ankle) excepted.
"We're at the point where we can put guys in the game at any time and still play like we're the first unit," forward Tahj Holden said.
Williams' new strategy of using Holden off the bench continues to succeed. Freshman forward Travis Garrison flashed one of his better stretches by scoring six points in the Terps' initial 11-2 run before he was limited by four fouls, but it was Holden who provided a quick lift with five points when he entered.
"I'm just playing well period," Holden said. "It doesn't matter if I come off the bench or start. It has nothing to do with how I play."
Guard Drew Nicholas scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half, and Holden added 11 points and five rebounds. Blake scored only two points, but his 826 career assists are now 20th in NCAA history.
Forward Jermaine Hall led the Seahawks (4-6) with 26 points and 11 rebounds, including Wagner's only six points in the opening 7:21. The visitors were held to 32 percent shooting, the fifth time the Terps' opponents have made less than one-third of their chances.
The Terps wanted to work on their passing underneath to earn free throws and easier baskets. Randle dominated at times, opening the second half with six straight points. Forward Nik Caner-Medley popped two crowd-pleasing dunks on the way to finishing with nine points and six rebounds. However, the one-sided game was called loosely as Maryland took only 15 foul shots and Wagner 13.
Maryland's starters averaged only 24.2 minutes but flashed their true potential with two early 9-0 runs, plus an eight-point streak. Maryland led 40-21 at halftime despite only scoring on a steal during a drought of nearly nine minutes.
"We were playing box-and-one, triangle-and-two, 3-2 and 2-3 and kept giving up easy baskets," said Wagner coach Dereck Whittenburg, a former DeMatha High School and N.C. State star.
Maryland's early 11-2 lead seemed to drain not only any drama from the outcome but also some of the Terps' intensity. Williams conceded Maryland was "outworked" for parts of the game.
"I always told the players the first five minutes of the game don't mean anything," he said. "We got off great. It look like it was going to be pretty easy, and we reacted to that the wrong way."

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