No. 19 Maryland cruises past NC Central 67-56
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) Maryland played so well in the first half, it didn't really matter what happened over the final 20 minutes against North Carolina Central.
Richaud Pack scored 17 points, Jake Layman added 15 and the 19th-ranked Terrapins cruised to a 67-56 victory Wednesday night.
The Terrapins (9-1) led 14-12 before using a 21-2 run to go up by 21. Maryland connected on five 3-pointers during the surge, including two apiece by Layman and freshman Jared Nickens.
NCCU (6-4) made only two field goals in the final 11 minutes of the first half and trailed 39-18 at the break.
''To be up 21 on this team at half is an amazing feat,'' Terps coach Mark Turgeon said. ''I was really proud of that. The second half, we just treaded water.''
The Eagles outscored Maryland 38-28 after halftime but never threatened to make it close. It was 54-39 with just under nine minutes left before Layman drilled a 3-pointer from the right corner to erase any doubt.
''In the end, it's a great win for us,'' Turgeon said.
The Terrapins have won two in a row following their lone defeat, at home against Top 10 foe Virginia a week ago.
''We just keep getting it done, and we keep getting better,'' Turgeon said. ''The second half probably wasn't a lot of fun to watch, but it was a nice little clinic we put on there for a while. When we get our defense going, we're really pretty good.''
Jordan Parks had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Eagles, whose five-game winning streak ended. NCCU shot 38 percent from the floor and went 5 for 21 from beyond the arc.
The Eagles made it respectable after halftime, but that didn't bring a smile to the face of coach LeVelle Moton.
''In the second half they shot 33 percent and we got up and guarded people,'' he said. ''I'm proud of the second half, but we don't do moral victories around here.''
NCCU led 7-6 early and was tied at 10 with eight minutes elapsed. Soon after that, Maryland took control.
''It was 10-10 and I thought we played solid defensively, and then we just didn't guard anybody for five minutes,'' Moton said. ''They're good shooters, but everyone's a good shooter when they're wide open.''
After 7-foot-1 center Michal Cekovsky scored on a drive, 3-pointers by Pack and Layman gave the Terrapins a double-digit lead. Nickens then buried consecutive 3s to make it 28-12, and after Dante Holmes made a layup for NCCU, Layman knocked down a 3-pointer to spark a 7-0 spurt.
''Our offense was running smoothly,'' Layman said, ''and we hit some tough shots.''
The Eagles went 7 for 25 from the field in the first half and were outrebounded 18-9.
NCCU: This was the Eagles' second game against a ranked opponent this season. They lost to North Carolina 76-60 and are now 0-9 all-time against Top 25 foes since moving to Division I in 2007.
Maryland: The Terrapins came in ranked third in the nation with 179 successful free throws and eighth in attempts (242). They took only eight foul shots in the first half and finished 18 for 27 at the line.
NCCU: N.C. Central travels to Memphis on Monday.
Maryland: The Terrapins host USC Upstate on Saturday.
The Terrapins are trying to survive until they get back two injured starters, Dez Wells (broken wrist) and Evan Smotrycz (ankle). Well missed a fifth straight game and is expected to be sidelined into January, and Smotrycz has sat out three games in a row after missing the start of the season with a broken foot.
''I enjoy coaching these guys, and we are overcoming the obstacle of having two starters out of the lineup,'' Turgeon said. ''This team is a lot of fun to watch.''
Especially in the first half.