Terps start slow, put away North Fla. late

Standing amidst reporters in the locker room after tonight's game, Maryland coach Gary Williams took a quick glance at the final statistics and turned to Bambale Osby. Williams' starting center had seven rebounds, tied for the team high with guards Eric Hayes and Greivis Vasquez.

"Way to go big guy," Williams said in a sarcastic joking tone. "Seven rebounds."

It was only after Maryland handedly beat North Florida, 79-50, that Williams could loosen up. A sluggish start gave way to a strong second half led by the Terps' veterans--Hayes, Vasquez and Osby. The trio scored 30 of the team's 49 second-half points as the Terps pulled away from the Ospreys (0-1).

Maryland (1-0) will face Hampton tomorrow night at 9 for the right to advance to the CBE Classic semifinals next Monday in Kansas City. The Pirates knocked off Tulsa, 72-55, in Sunday's early game.

Williams had voiced concerns during the week on opening the season down two starters, --James Gist and Landon Milbourne--who were each serving a one-game suspension. His already young team would be a lot younger tonight and early on, some of the play reflected the inexperience.

Maryland committed 14 first-half turnovers and never got into a flow offensively. At times during the half, Vasquez was on the floor with four freshmen, which led to mistakes and missed opportunities.

"It's funny because they don't know that much," Vasquez said of the freshmen. "So they feel a little nervous and I just wanted to give them confidence."

"[North Florida] did a good job against us in the first half," Williams said. "We were a little impatient, rushing a little bit."

North Florida came within 5 points of Maryland late in the first half, and trailed 30-27 going into halftime. If there was a consolation for the Terps in the half, it was an improved rebounding effort. After a smaller Concordia team out rebounded Maryland in Wednesday's exhibition, the Terps showed more aggressiveness on the glass and held a 23-13 advantage at the half. For the game, Maryland out rebounded North Florida 43-26.

Maryland settled down after halftime, and Osby and Vasquez began to take over. They scored 19 of Maryland's first 23 points in the second half and the Terps opened up a 12-point lead less than four minutes in. For Osby, who finished with 15 points, the run was sparked by his missed one-handed dunk with 18:57 left in the second half.

"Everybody saw it coming, everybody saw Eric make the pass, saw me get up in the air and everybody's hearts just started racing," Osby said. "Even when I missed it, they still were flowing with emotion and at that point everybody just fed off it."

Hayes had 6 assists in the half to go along with 15 total points. Adrian Bowie scored 11 of his 12 points in the second half. Vasquez finished with 18 points and 6 assists, while Dave Neal, who started in place of Gist, had 7 points.

"We were just kind of feeling our way tonight," Williams said. "It will be nice to have James and Landon back but we have to play as hard as we played tonight. I thought the guys had great effort tonight."

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