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Not very often does Maryland find a non-conference opponent right in the heart of their Atlantic Coast Conference schedule. So when the opportunity presents itself, the Terrapins capitalized.
A 106-52 beat-down of the Lancers gave Maryland their 16th victory of the season, cementing a 10-0 record against non-conference foes in 2010-2011 on their home turf. It was the team's largest point total of the season, the same number they put up last year when they defeated this same team 106-55 last year.
More importantly though, it may have been that vote of confidence they need before they hit the most crucial stretch of the season.
"It keeps up going forward. It keeps us happy with our progress. It gives us that confidence we need to keep on going," senior forward Dino Gregory said following the game. He added that a victory of this sort could be the momentum the team needs going forward.
While Terps do-it-all center Jordan Williams found himself in foul trouble dealing with the dangerous Antwan Carter, Gregory filled in admirably for the double-double machine. Gregory grabbed 11 rebounds and scored 14 points, including eight of the team's first 16 points. On a night when scoring was scattered, Gregory was perfect on all four of his shots from the field.
Gregory's consistency, however, was matched only by yet another stellar effort from Pe'Shon Howard. In his second consecutive start at point guard, Howard looked to build off what was a breakout performance this past Saturday against Wake Forest. The true freshman matched career marks in 3-pointers (two), and took a career-high six 3-point attempts.
Howard finally looks comfortable since earning the starting nod. Not only has he dished out 14 assists in the past two contests, but he is more willing to be a scorer. Consider this: in the first 22 games, Howard attempted fewer than four shots from the field per game and a combined 36 attempts from beyond the arc. In contract, he has taken 22 shots in the past two games, as well as 10 from 3-point range.
Similarly, the always diligent but never predictable scorer that is Sean Mosley enjoyed a breakout game of his own. Like many expected the third-year guard to do all season, Mosley came out of the tunnel looking to be a scorer on this night. Just five points shy of surpassing the 700-point mark for his career as a Terp, the junior opted to make sure he got that over with quickly.
Mosley finished with eight buckets, setting a new season-high. His previous best was six field goals, which he reached on three other occasions. Mosley's 20 points were one shy of his season-best 21 that he put up against Seattle.
"I just wanted to be aggressive on both ends of the court," Mosley said, acknowledging his struggles throughout the seasons. "Getting my confidence back, getting in the flow of things and just being patient and not thinking about was the key for me tonight."
Mosley's six assists were tied with Adrian Bowie for the team lead in a game in which the team recorded a season-high 28 assists. Against Wake Forest, Maryland had 27 dimes, the second time they have reached that total this year.
Everywhere you look, the team set a new mark. Along with assists, the team drained season-bests in field goals made with 39 (previous best was 38 vs. Colgate) and 3-point shots with 10 (previous best was nine). Head coach Gary Williams credited familiarity with the offense on behalf of the younger players for the more polished execution.""I think you want to get better as the year goes on. You try and improve," Williams said. "It's one thing to make the pass but we finished off some really good passes tonight."
The 54-point rout by Williams' squad helped slide the Maryland head coach up a notch on the college basketball all-time wins list, overtaking the Wizard of Westwood for 21st place. Williams and famed U.C.L.A. head coach John Wooden had been knotted up at 664 wins apiece entering tonight's action.
It is just another accolade to add to Williams already impressive resume, which includes a 458-246 record in his 22nd season coaching at his alma mater. He is Maryland's all-time winningest basketball coach, and only Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and North Carolina's Dean Smith have more wins in the ACC than Williams.
Jokingly, Williams suggested maybe he should quit while he's ahead.
Nonetheless, Williams' quest to climb the list goes on. After a second straight win, which brought a successful two-game home-stand to its conclusion, Maryland is back to the road for two grudge matches. A date is set for Saturday afternoon against Boston College and Tuesday night against Virginia Tech, two teams the Terps fell to at home earlier this season. Maryland is 4-2 away from College Park, 3-1 during conference play.