Dec. 22, 1997
Maryland Defeats N.C. Asheville
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Terrapins were coming off a nine-day layoff for exams, and coach Gary Williams had no idea how his team would play.
It would be a vast understatement to say he was pleasantly surprised.
Sarunas Jasikevicius scored six of his 17 points when No. 20 Maryland scored 21 straight in the first half Monday night, and the Terrapins cruised to a 110-52 rout of North Carolina-Asheville.
The 58-point margin of victory was the fifth-highest in Maryland history.
Showing absolutely no ill effects from the nine-day break, the Terrapins (6-3) raced to a 15-7 lead before pulling away with a 21-point blitz. Maryland led 62-27 at halftime after making 27-of-39 shots and forcing 22 turnovers.
"Coming out of final exams, you're never sure what to expect," Williams said. "We practiced good yesterday, but that was the first good one we had all week. I've seen teams come out of finals very flat."
Not this time. The Terrapins never trailed in their 57th consecutive non-conference home victory since 1989.
"To me, that was unexpected," Jasikevicius said. "I didn't think we practiced that well during the break. I think it says a lot about our team, the way we picked it up right away."
Laron Profit scored 23 points and Terence Morris 20 for Maryland.
"After going through exams, going out on the court tonight was like letting an animal out of its cage," Profit said. "We had been caged up the last few days, but now we can concentrate strictly on basketball."
Kevin Martin had 10 points for UNC-Asheville (5-5). The Bulldogs earlier this season lost close games on the road against Syracuse and Tennessee, but on this occasion they were no match for the well-rested Terrapins.
"We felt we were ready and prepared well," coach Eddie Biedenbach said. "We knew what Maryland would be like. We just played flat and turned the ball over too many times."
Josh Pittman, who had been averaging 18.7 points for the Bulldogs, scored eight and committed nine of his team's 37 turnovers.
After Maryland got the opening tap and Rodney Elliott scored on a jumper with 14 seconds elapsed, the Terrapins never trailed. It was 10-2 after three minutes, and any hope the Bulldogs might have had ended during a six-minute scoring drought.
Profit started the 21-point run with a jumper, and Matt Kovarik made a layup. Elliott, Mike Mardesich and Obinna Ekezie followed with short jump shots, and the rout was on.
After Morris scored on a tip-in and added a free throw, Jasikevicius hit a 3-pointer, Ekezie scored on a dunk and Jasikevicius capped the surge with another shot from beyond the arc.
Maryland led by 96-46 with 6:37 left before Williams emptied his bench.
"We're a much better team than we showed," Biedenbach said. "We just played a bad game."
The Terrapins finished with 29 assists and a school-record 22 steals.