Dec. 27, 1997
Terps Cruise Past Seahawks
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) - Tough defense has been a trademark at Maryland during the Gary Williams era, and Saturday it helped him to a milestone victory.
Rodney Elliott matched his career-high with 22 points and the defense helped No. 20 Maryland to a 74-36 victory over North Carolina-Wilmington.
Maryland (7-3, 0-1) swarmed the ball and challenged nearly every shot in holding North Carolina-Wilmington to 22 percent shooting. The Seahawks missed 18 of their final 19 shots in the first half as the Terrapins turned the game into a rout.
The impressive defensive effort gave Williams his 150th victory in nine seasons at Maryland. He is the third-winningest coach in school history behind Lefty Driesell, who had 348 wins in 17 seasons, and Bud Millikan, who had 243 in 17 seasons.
"We weren't as sharp offensively as I would have liked, and that might come from having a couple days off for the holiday. Obviously, the layoff didn't affect us on the defensive end," Williams said. "I was very impressed with our tenacity. We really got after Wilmington and made them work hard for shots."
North Carolina-Wilmington (5-6) needed a free throw from Victor Ebong with 3.8 seconds remaining to avoid its lowest point total ever. Oleg Kojenets (10 points) was the lone double figure scorer for the Seahawks, who had eight shots blocked and numerous others altered.
"Maryland's size clearly bothered us. We just were not used to it," North Carolina-Wilmington coach Jerry Wainwright said. "Maryland also has tremendous team speed. They react to the ball very quickly."
North Carolina-Wilmington played without leading scorer Stan Simmons, who sat out the game for violating team rules.
"We didn't react well without Simmons. We needed some other guys to step up and score and they weren't able to do it," Wainwright said. "We got some good looks, we just couldn't knock down the shots. You and I could go out in the gym and make more than 15 of 67 shots."
Elliott grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds as Maryland dominated its defensive backboards.
"We did a real good job rebounding and holding them to one shot," said Obinna Ekezie, who had seven rebounds.
Elliott, who made 7 of 12 field goals, scored eight points during a 16-6 run midway through the second half that gave the Terrapins a commanding 67-27 lead. Elliott made up for an off day from leading scorer Laron Profit, who took just five shots and scored a season-low four points.
"I thought I stepped up more on defense than offense," Elliott said. "We were letting their guys get a little too comfortable with walking the ball up the floor. Once we picked up the defense we pressured them into doing things they didn't want to."
Elliott had 12 points and 10 rebounds by halftime as Maryland led 39-14. The Terrapins, who won their 58th consecutive non-conference home game, trailed 9-8 with 15:38 remaining but closed the half with a 31-5 run.