- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 27, 2004

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Maryland delivered a Hall of Fame performance.

The 13th-ranked Terps ran No.25 Memphis into submission 84-61 in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic at Springfield Civic Center. John Gilchrist and James Gist led Maryland’s unnerving defense, which used its quickness to create 14 steals and many easy transition baskets.

Gilchrist finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and five steals, while Gist came off the bench to provide a much-needed inside game. The Terps routinely got into the Tigers’ passing lanes for steals, and Memphis melted under the immense pressure before a less-than-capacity crowd of 5,926.

“This was a big win for us because this year we had to establish we could beat a good team,” said Maryland coach Gary Williams, whose team outscored Memphis 32-6 in transition. “You have to do that every year.”

The Terps (3-0) aced the first of a possible three meetings with ranked opponents in 10 days. They will get a more physical challenge at No.20 Wisconsin on Tuesday and could meet No.10 Michigan State in the final round of the BB&T; Classic at MCI Center on Dec.5.

Memphis (4-2), whose only previous loss was to No.5 Syracuse in the final of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, looked more like Jackson State or Mercer the Terps’ previous two opponents than a ranked team. The Tigers unraveled as Maryland used its quickness on the perimeter to pressure Memphis. Coach John Calipari’s offense broke down, usually resulting in poor shots as players went 1-on-1.

“Right now, we are at low tide,” Calipari said. “Our boats are on the rocks right now.”

Maryland turned a 37-29 halftime lead into a blowout. Travis Garrison opened the half with a 3, while Nik Caner-Medley made a steal and finished with a transition layup to make it 44-29.

From there, the rout was on.

“Anytime you come out and play 40 minutes like we did, anything is possible,” said Caner-Medley, who had 15 points. Chris McCray had 16 points for Maryland.

Eventually, the Terps built their lead to 79-47 after Gist’s over-the-shoulder alley-oop slam off a feed from Gilchrist.

“It didn’t feel like a real game tonight,” said Gist, who finished with seven points, five rebounds and two blocks and is quickly becoming the Terps’ best big man. “It was just so much fun.”

The Terps forced the action by stepping into the passing lanes in the first half. Maryland took advantage of the turnovers and bad shots by scoring in transition but also was effective on set plays when it couldn’t run the floor.

Memphis shot 30.3 percent in the half, making two of 11 3-pointers. The Terps shot 46.4 percent despite missing all five of shots from behind the arc.

Maryland pulled away when it scored nine straight to begin a 15-2 run midway through the half. After a Gist blocked shot with the Terps up 18-16, Gilchrist scored off his own putback. Gilchrist then made a perimeter steal and finished with a breakaway slam to make it 22-16. A pair of D.J. Strawberry steals led to three points, including Strawberry’s breakaway dunk to make it 25-16 with 7:49 left.

Following Anthony’s Rice runner to end Memphis’ drought, Maryland added another six straight. McCray scored off a curl in the lane. Gilchrist was fouled after a steal and converted both free throws. Gist finished with a flashy dunk down the left baseline to make it 31-18 with 4:41 left.

“This is a great effort for this time of year,” Williams said. “We have to build on this. This can’t be the highlight of our year come March.”

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