- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 4, 2004

Maryland’s basketball team clearly is capable of blowing away opponents when the Terrapins get in the mood — and coach Gary Williams doesn’t like it a bit.

After a marginal first half against an inferior opponent, the Terps took off on a 13-2 run early in the second to put away Mount St. Mary’s 89-56 yesterday at Comcast Center. But that first 20 minutes left the intense Williams intensely unhappy afterward.

“We judge how hard we have to play, and that has to stop,” said Williams, still stewing about the Terps’ loss to Florida State in their ACC opener last Sunday. “That’s one of the things we need practices to work on. You don’t judge how hard you have to play. Your judgment has to come on what’s a good shot, what’s a good pass — those types of things. Not whether you have to play hard. We have a couple guys that watch a lot of NBA games, if you know what I mean.”

In other words, go all out all the time. And his message might be sinking in with some players.

“I believe we are starting to realize it’s a 40-minute game, and you have to play consistent for the majority to win ballgames,” said point guard John Gilchrist, who led the Terps with 16 points while adding six rebounds and six assists. “You can’t come out and be sloppy and let them hang in there until the end of the game, and then they end up making a little run. You have to put teams like this away. If a team is not on your level, you have to show that. And go out and just try to destroy them.”

Maryland (8-3) gets another chance to do so Tuesday against Maryland-Eastern Shore before playing host to ninth-ranked North Carolina on Jan.14 in its ACC home opener.

Against Mount St. Mary’s (2-9), point guard Gilchrist made all three of his 3-point tries to top Chris McCray’s 15 points. Jamar Smith had 14 points and 14 rebounds, while Nik Caner-Medley was the fourth Maryland player in double figures with 14 points. Maryland made an impressive 53.8 percent of its 3-pointers (seven of 13) but continued to struggle at the foul line by hitting 62 percent (18 of 29).

Reserve center Ekene Ibekwe had nine points and 10 rebounds and had several highlight-reel blocks among his four rejections. The freshman from California even swatted one layup attempt over the Mount’s bench.

“That’s what Ekene can be,” Williams said. “He’s very close to 6-10, and he’s very quick. What he doesn’t have right now is a lot of strength. That will come. Chris Wilcox wasn’t very strong his freshman year. That can come quickly over the summer with a lot of hard work. But he has that little different gear that a lot of players his size don’t have.”

Gilchrist scored the first four points after intermission before Travis Garrison’s backcourt steal led to his own fastbreak layup to give Maryland a 54-34 lead. After the Mount’s Charles Cook hit a jumper in transition, the Terps scored seven straight, ending with Garrison’s 3-pointer from the top of the key, to widen the bulge to 25.

“We’re a pretty good team when we play,” Williams said. “We put together sequences where we play really good defenses then run a really good offensive play and then get on the glass. We have the ability to be a good team. We just have to string those sequences for a longer period of time.”

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