- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 20, 2004

Though the Maryland basketball team has a deep group of guards, there are question marks up front.

Last night the No.15 Terrapins focused on getting the ball to those frontcourt players, and they responded well in a 93-57 season-opening rout of Jackson State before 17,950 at Comcast Center.

“In the second half, we did a real good job of getting the ball inside,” junior Nik Caner-Medley said. “In the first half, it was obvious it was going to be a mismatch. That’s one thing you’ve got to do, find mismatches.”

Junior Travis Garrison led all scorers with 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while sophomore Ekene Ibekwe added 17 points and eight rebounds. Both players dominated in the second half as the Terps blew open a contest that was closer than expected at halftime.

Garrison scored nine points in the first four minutes after intermission, and Ibekwe had 15 points and five rebounds in the second half. After letting Jackson State (0-1) cut the lead to 14 before the break, Maryland scored 36 of the first 45 points in the second half to open a huge advantage.

“I was pleased with our defensive intensity overall,” Terps coach Gary Williams said. “I thought it was pretty good in the first half when we were struggling to score. In the second half, we created a lot of offense through our defense.”

Jackson State is picked to finish in the bottom half of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, and the Tigers’ inferiority was apparent early.

Maryland’s fullcourt pressure suffocated Jackson State, which turned over the ball over 27 times — including 20 in the first half. When the Tigers didn’t lose the ball, someone would throw up a wild shot that was essentially a turnover.

During one stretch of three consecutive possessions with a gaffe, Jackson State’s Ernest Hassell slipped behind the defense and was all alone for an apparent easy dunk. But he forgot to dribble after receiving the pass and was called for a traveling violation.

But Maryland did not play well for large portions of the opening 20 minutes. They also lost the ball too much (five more turnovers than assists) and too often settled for outside jump shots.

After Caner-Medley’s 3-pointer for the team’s first points of the season, the Terps missed nine of 11 from beyond the arc. Mike Jones banked the other successful shot.

Jones’ lucky shot ended one of two double-digit runs the Terps had in the first half. But they let the Tigers whittle the lead to 14 at halftime with a few minutes of sloppy basketball.

Maryland had more turnovers than points during the stretch, and Williams was so dismayed by the flurry that he stood hands-on-hips, for several seconds after the final horn sounded.

“He’s an intense guy, and it’s not often you’re going to look at him and think he looks happy,” said Caner-Medley, who finished with 12 points. “We needed to get the ball inside more, and I’ve noticed since I’ve played here anytime the other team scores to end the half, he’s extra mad.”

Junior point guard John Gilchrist filled the box score with 11 points, eight assists, five rebounds and four steals. He didn’t shoot very well from the field (4-for-12), but he also passed up some wide open looks.

“My role for the team this year is to do whatever it takes to win games,” Gilchrist said. “I know I can get mine off at any time. That’s the type of confidence I have in myself and my offense, so I don’t really search for my shots.”

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