- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 23, 2010

COLLEGE PARK, Md. | Playing at home against plodding Delaware State is nothing like facing a Top 25 team at Madison Square Garden, so it was only natural for Maryland to experience a letdown against the Hornets.

Fortunately for the Terrapins, they still had enough talent to win.

Cliff Tucker scored 15 points, Dino Gregory added 14, and Maryland halted a two-game skid by defeating Delaware State 72-54 Tuesday night.

The victory followed successive defeats against Pittsburgh and Illinois last week in New York. The Terrapins (4-2) played better in both those losses than in this win.

“We have a good team in terms of people and things like that, but it’s human nature, a night like this,” coach Gary Williams said. “Teams like Delaware State try to take advantage of that. They know that we played Illinois and Pittsburgh in the Garden, and they might be able to catch us a little off our game.”

Which is precisely what happened.

“If we’d have played a tougher team the way we played against Delaware State, we probably would have lost the game,” Tucker said. “Coach wants us to have the mentality that we play the same way against every team. Today, we didn’t do that.”

It’s not that the Terrapins played poorly. It’s just that they weren’t at their best.

“At the Garden, you’re playing against Top 25 teams. Here, it was a different intensity,” Gregory acknowledged.

Adrian Bowie scored 11 for the Terps, who finished with a 40-20 rebounding advantage and outscored the Hornets 14-7 at the foul line.

Maryland took the lead for good with just over two minutes elapsed, expanded the margin to 19 at halftime and led by 27 with eight minutes remaining.

Jay Threatt scored 15 for the Hornets (1-1), Desi Washington had 14 and Casey Walker chipped in with 11.

“I thought our kids played extremely hard even though they were outmanned,” Delaware State coach Greg Jackson said. “I thought our kids did a tremendous job with sticking with the game plan.”

That meant working the clock on offense and dropping back on defense without hesitation.

“We wanted to slow it down because we weren’t strong enough defensively to keep team giving (Maryland) so many possessions,” Jackson said. “We pushed it when the opportunity presented and we got some easy buckets.”

Delaware State trailed by 21 early in the second half before Washington and Walker drilled 3-pointers in a 9-2 spurt that made it 44-30. Maryland’s next six points came at the foul line before Sean Mosley hit a runner for a 52-32 lead.

Soon after that, baskets by Jordan Williams and Tucker sparked a 12-2 surge that put the Terrapins up 64-37. Delaware State went more than four minutes without scoring until Threatt hit a jumper with 6:50 remaining to begin a 10-0 run that whittled the deficit down to 19 points.

The Hornets outscored Maryland in the second half 33-32, thanks to a 17-6 game-ending run.

Tucker scored 11 and Gregory had 10 points, five rebounds and two assists to help the Terrapins take a 40-21 halftime lead.

Maryland built an early 13-2 rebounding edge and limited the Hornets to 3-for-11 shooting going up 17-10. The gap might have been broader had not the Terrapins committed seven turnovers, including four by Mosley.

It was 22-14 before Tucker hit a follow-shot and a 3-pointer in a 12-0 run that put the Terps ahead by 20.


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