After beating No. 1 Florida, Maryland rolls past Pepperdine by 24
Posted: Sunday December 14, 2003 9:51PM; Updated: Monday December 15, 2003 12:32AM
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- Maryland coach Gary Williams was wondering was how his team would perform after their upset of top-ranked Florida on Wednesday.
He got his answer Sunday -- five Maryland players scored in double figures en route to a 96-72 rout of Pepperdine.
John Gilchrist scored a career-high 24 points and D.J. Strawberry added a career-high 17 points as the Terrapins avoided a letdown and positioned themselves for a return to the Top 25.
"I thought we were all curious how we'd play after the Florida game," Williams said. "It took us a while to get going, it looked like we had some guys who couldn't move out there early so we had to go through the lineup."
Jamar Smith registered his seventh double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Terrapins, who improved to 6-2 entering a nine-day layoff for exams.
"You could tell from early on that a lot of us were still thinking about the last game," Gilchrist said. "We had to put the Florida win behind us and move on. That's what it's all about, winning and keeping the season rolling."
Chris McCray contributed 11 points and Nik Caner-Medley netted 10 for Maryland. Glen McGowan poured in a career-high 36 points for Pepperdine (3-5), which had a two-game winning streak snapped.
"Maryland did the one thing that I was most afraid of. They dominated us on the offensive boards," Pepperdine coach Paul Westphal said.
Maryland broke the game open with an 11-2 run in the opening 2:06 of the second half. Gilchrist scored eight points during blitz, which transformed a 12-point halftime lead into a 55-34 advantage.
"As much as Maryland dominated in the first half, 12 points is not insurmountable," Westphal said. "If we could have held them to one shot we might have been able to get back in the game. Instead, we wilted at the start of the second half and it turned into a blowout."
Pepperdine never got closer than 13 points after that despite a spectacular effort from McGowan, who hit 12 of 15 free throws en route to setting the individual scoring record at the 2-year-old Comcast Center.
"Glen is a very hard guy to cover. He's powerful and quick and can score from inside or outside," Westphal said.
Gilchrist, a sophomore point guard, drained 3 of 4 3-pointers and scored with drives to the basket. He was coming off an 18-point effort against Florida that equaled his previous career-high.
"This game was up and down so I was able to score in transition. When I had the opportunity, I took it to the basket," Gilchrist said.
Williams felt the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Gilchrist exploited a height and weight advantage over Pepperdine point guard Shaun Davis (5-11, 165).
"John was tough with the basketball and used his size to get into the lane for some easy shots," Williams said.
Strawberry, a freshman combination guard, made a pair of 3-pointers despite coming in 0-for-5 from beyond the arc. Maryland was a season-best 10-for-16 from 3-point range.
"For a team that hasn't shot the three well, Maryland was tremendous from out there tonight," Westphal said.
Williams was happy with the offensive balance displayed by Maryland, which had 11 players score.
"That was good to see. I keep telling the team that we need to have a varied attack," he said.
Terrance Johnson (11 points) was the only other player in double figures for Pepperdine, which shot 38 percent from the floor.
Maryland used a 9-0 run to seize control of a seesaw affair that featured three ties in the opening eight minutes. Caner-Medley started things with a 3-pointer while Gilchrist had back-to-back baskets as the Terrapins moved ahead 23-16 with 9:33 remaining before intermission.
Gilchrist and Strawberry combined for 21 points as Maryland took a 44-32 halftime lead. McGowan scored 15 points to keep Pepperdine within striking distance.