- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The picture in the paint wasn’t always welcome in the early stages Tuesday night for Maryland.

That the situation was never better on the outside meant that didn’t matter.

The Terrapins used a flurry of 3-pointers to cruise past the Rams 98-55 at Comcast Center.

Greivis Vasquez (27 points) and Cliff Tucker (13) established season highs in scoring as Maryland (7-3) encountered little difficulty in plowing past Winston-Salem State (2-7).

Maryland was 12-for-18 beyond the 3-point line, establishing a season high in 3-pointers while coming within two points of the program’s first 100-point night in more than three years.

“They were the looks we had,” coach Gary Williams said. “We made some early where I thought we shot it pretty quickly. The 3s in the second half were really good 3s. It was probing the defense, and then the ball would come back out and we’d swing it and there it was.”

It was an ideal game for Maryland, which was coming off a 10-day layoff for exams and won’t practice again until Christmas night. And while it’s common for teams to struggle in their first game back from the semester’s end, the Terps’ greatest headache was creating a cushion just before the break.

Vasquez ensured the mild threat the Rams posed was neutralized. He produced his second straight 20-point night, the first time the senior has done so since early last season.

Perhaps more impressive was how thoroughly he controlled the course of play. Vasquez had 11 assists and eight rebounds, and he seems to have shrugged off an early-season slump.

“I’m not satisfied,” Vasquez said. “I had a good game, but I’m supposed to have those games every day. I just want to win games. I want to get better.”

But Vasquez wasn’t the only Terps player with the sort of night Williams was looking for. Tucker, who has sputtered in a minimized role, was as crisp offensively as he has been all season. He made all five of his shots.

Tucker’s emergence was coupled with a strong night for fellow junior reserve Adrian Bowie. Like Tucker, Bowie struggled in the opening month of the season - particularly with a ballyhooed improved outside shot that produced a 1-for-14 performance from the perimeter in the Terps’ first nine games.

Bowie, though, made three of his five long-range attempts, perhaps also breaking out of his funk in the process.

“It’s real big for the bench players like myself and Cliff to come in and contribute and help the starters,” Bowie said.

The Terps also shook off their early sluggishness, turning what was a four-point margin in the latter stages of the first half into a 41-29 lead by the break. From there the margin grew - to 53-32, then 67-36 and eventually 96-50 - as the strong finish before halftime prefaced a dominant second half.

The surge was also evident on defense, where Maryland reversed an early rebounding deficit, holding a 25-17 edge on the glass after the break while limiting the Rams to 26.5 percent shooting in the final 20 minutes.

“It was real important,” Tucker said. “We hit a lot of shots, and it gave us momentum going into the half. We kept it up in the second half, and we played better defense. That’s why we won the game.”

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