8:00 PM ET, January 8, 2003
Comcast Center, College Park, Maryland
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- Maryland (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 21 AP) prepared for its most difficult stretch of the season with a confidence-building blowout.Ryan Randle had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Drew Nicholas scored 17 points as the defending NCAA champions breezed past Hampton 108-58 Wednesday night.Reserve Jamar Smith also scored 17 and Steve Blake had 13 points and eight assists for the 21st-ranked Terrapins, who never trailed in extending their winning streak to four.Maryland (8-3), next faces Florida State on Saturday to begin a run of six straight Atlantic Coast Conference games. The slate includes a trip to Wake Forest and a grudge match against top-ranked Duke.No one would blame the Terrapins for looking ahead to ACC play, but they were all business against the Pirates."I thought we did a good job preparing mentally,'' Nicholas said. "We could have said, 'Oh, we've got another non-conference game.' But we didn't do that. We came out and played strong.''After taking command early, Maryland pulled away from the two-time Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champions.Now, it's time for the Terrapins to get down to defending their ACC regular-season title."This is the point in the season everybody looks forward to,'' Nicholas said. "And this is the kind of momentum we want going into this important stretch of the ACC season.''Randle made his first three shots, stretching his run without a miss to a school-record 16 straight (including 10-for-10 Saturday against Wagner). Randle broke the previous mark of 15 successive field goals, set by Greg Manning over two games in 1981.Barry Hairston scored 18 points for Hampton (6-4). The Pirates are 1-5 against ACC teams, the lone victory coming at North Carolina last year."I've been around eight years and I've never been beaten by 50 points,'' Hampton coach Bobby Collins said. "We knew these guys were very good and very explosive. They took us out of what we really wanted to do.''Maryland opened the second half with three straight baskets for a 60-31 lead. After the Pirates used a 7-0 run to close to 62-40, Randle scored six points in a 20-3 spree that made it 82-43.The Terrapins reached the 100-point mark for the second time this season with 3:25 remaining."I really didn't expect that type of game,'' Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "We were ready both halves; that was the key to the game.''Blake and Nicholas both scored 11 points and Randle added 10 to stake the Terrapins to a 54-31 halftime lead.Maryland made its first five shots, including two dunks and soft jumper by Randle, in racing to a 12-0 lead. The Pirates were 0-for-5 with three turnovers during the span.Hairston broke the spell with a 14-footer, but the Pirates missed their next seven shots to fall behind 24-4. Maryland, meanwhile, went 11-for-14 from the field over the opening nine minutes.Hairston scored four points in a 10-0 run that made it 26-16, but a three-point play by Randle and a pair of baskets by Blake put the Terrapins up by 17.