- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 13, 2003

Maryland tried veteran lineups, freshman rotations and different tempos. Ultimately, the Terrapins were reminded of what they already knew: The young team needs time to develop.

Maryland defeated the EA Sports All-Stars 84-70 in their first exhibition last night at Comcast Center. The Terps play the National Basketball Development League’s Roanoke Dazzle on Tuesday at home in another exhibition before opening against American on Nov.22, and Maryland can use the extra work.

After two seasons with veteran teams, the Terps often looked uncertain while playing nine underclassmen. Too many loose rebounds weren’t gathered. Open shots were bypassed for another look. The foul shooting was spotty (14 of 24), and they converted only two of nine 3-pointers.

“We were nervous before the game, and that’s a good sign,” coach Gary Williams said. “You have to go through a game, even if it’s an exhibition, to get a feel out there.”

Still, it was a fair start by a team hoping to reach its 11th straight NCAA tournament. The lone returning starter at forward, Nik Caner-Medley, gave indication that he may be this season’s leading scorer, dominating early for nine points while finishing with 20 points and seven rebounds.

Point guard John Gilchrist showed predecessor Steve Blake, who was sitting behind the bench, a few ballhandling moves himself while scoring 16 points with eight assists and seven rebounds. Center Jamar Smith dominated in spurts while collecting 14 points and seven rebounds.

“We’re looking for people to lead,” Williams said. “If it’s Nik, that’s great. If it’s John Gilchrist, that’s great. If it’s two or three people, that’s great.”

Maryland’s expected depth wore down EA Sports, who used only eight players. The Terps opened with five returnees before steadily integrating the five freshmen in the first 10 minutes. Four freshmen played together midway through the first half as eight players shared the first 24 points.

The Terps led 42-39 at halftime after EA Sports closed with a 15-2 run. Maryland led by 16 with 3:34 remaining before managing only a layup by Gilchrist before intermission. A no-look pass from Gilchrist to Smith for a layup and a stirring dunk by Caner-Medley led Maryland’s 10-2 run to open the second half.

EA Sports later closed to 66-62 with 8:07 left after a 10-3 streak. However, Maryland countered with forward Hassan Fofana’s layup and two free throws by Caner-Medley as the Terps pulled away.

Note — Good Counsel High senior forward James Gist signed a letter of intent with Maryland for next year. Gist averaged 14 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.5 points last season and rated among the nation’s top 40 players.


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