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.
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
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.