COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The game wasn’t over at tip-off, but it was pretty darn close.
After freshman Pat Moore’s opening bucket gave Colgate a 2-0 lead, Maryland’s 22-0 run led to a dominating 95-40 win at Comcast Center on Tuesday night. With the easy victory, the Terps closed out a month-long homestand with a three-game winning streak, albeit against less-than-stellar competition.
Forward Jordan Williams earned his eight straight double-double and 12th of the season, continuing his early-season dominance with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Senior Adrian Bowie led all scorers with 16 points, continuing his strong play since being shifted to the off-guard position late last month.
Earning his first career start at point guard, Terrell Stoglin added 12 points and four assists as coach Gary Williams continues to search for the right answer in the backcourt. Fellow freshman Pe’Shon Howard had started at the point the last two games following the loss to Boston College last month.
“I think [Stoglin] did a great job,” said Dino Gregory, one of five Terps scoring in double figures with 12 points. “He brought a lot of energy to the game. He brought a lot of defensive energy, a lot of offensive energy. For the first time — a freshman starting like that — I think he did a very good job.”
A runaway win against the 1-12 Raiders — alley oops and all — won’t teach us much of anything about the unsettled backcourt with a sobering task awaiting Maryland on Sunday:
Cameron Indoor Stadium and No. 1 Duke.
If a road trip to take on the top-ranked team in the country isn’t intimidating enough, remember the Terps have lost by a combined 62 points in their last two trips to Durham, N.C.
And that was with Greivis Vasquez and Eric Hayes in the backcourt.
Yes, the unproven Terps will need to play a near-perfect basketball game on Sunday to have a chance against undefeated Duke, the only ACC team currently ranked in the top 25. Despite playing competitively with ranked teams such as Pittsburgh and Illinois, Maryland has been undone by poor free-throw shooting, occasional lapses in perimeter defense, and inconsistent play in the backcourt at critical times this season.
It’s a scary formula that could lead to the Terps being on the opposite end of what fans witnessed against overwhelmed Colgate.
Well, maybe not that bad, but you get the point.
However unlikely a win might be, the competitiveness in Maryland’s four losses – by a combined 20 points — is exactly what Gary Williams is looking for against his biggest rival.
“In terms of how we want to play, I don’t think you can back off,” Williams said. “You’re going to have to bring your game, and if it’s good enough, fine. If it’s not, at least you went down playing the way you [want to] play, so I’ve always believed in that. And hopefully we’ll prove that on the floor.”
If Maryland is to have a chance against Duke — whose last loss came in College Park on March 3, 2010 — the freshmen tandem of Stoglin and Howard will need to play beyond their years in arguably the most hostile environment in college basketball. Both have shown flashes — Howard’s game-winning shot against Charleston and Stoglin’s showy passing and scoring — but have been just as frustrating to watch at other times, looking like the inexperienced players that they are.
A freshman point guard going into Cameron has won before, but it takes a special performance that might be too much to ask of Stoglin or Howard. Just four years ago, it was a freshman Vasquez who narrowly missed a triple-double with 13 points, 12 assists, and nine rebounds in an 85-77 upset on Feb. 28, 2007.
However, the three subsequent years produced no more Cameron victories for one of the greatest players in school history, proving just how difficult it is to beat Mike Krzyzewski and the Devils on their home floor.
“It’s going to be a war,” said senior Adrian Bowie, who will have his final opportunity for a win in Durham. “Cameron Indoor Stadium is not for the weak. It’s going to be a war, and everybody needs to be ready to play.”
A war, indeed. One this Maryland team will have a tough time surviving.
NOTES: The 55-point win was Maryland’s largest margin of victory this season as 11 of the 12 Terps who played managed to score in the game. … Williams’ eighth straight double-double moved him past Joe Smith’s streak of seven set in 1995. He is only four away from tying Len Elmore’s school record of 12 straight in the 1973-74 season. The sophomore also had three blocks. … Over the last eight games, Bowie has 35 assists and only 11 turnovers. … The Terps matched a season high with nine 3-pointers made. … Colgate made its first shot of the game before missing the next 15. … Maryland had six runs of at least 6-0 in the game. … Maryland’s bench scored 37 points, only four shy of the Raiders’ 40 total for the game.