COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- For 20 minutes, Maryland couldn't pull
away from a Western Carolina team that lost 22 games last season.
Ultimately, however, the Terrapins proved too tall, too fast and
Ibekwe scored 12 of his 18 points after halftime, and D.J.
Strawberry added 13 points for the Terrapins (6-2), who led by only
four at the break.
"We got the cobwebs out and started to play. That's what it
took," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "One of the things you
try to do in a game like this is wear the other team down."
Which is precisely what happened. Maryland finished with a 49-20
rebounding advantage and limited the Catamounts to 1-for-13
shooting from 3-point range in the second half.
"Too bad it's a game of two halves," first-year Western
Carolina coach Larry Hunter said. "Their size and athleticism
ability wore us down, and they really had their way with us on the
Nik Caner-Medley grabbed 10 rebounds to become the 26th player
in Maryland history to reach 1,000 points and 500 rebounds.
Maryland used a 15-4 run at the outset of the second half to
expand a shaky 39-35 lead to 15 points. Ibekwe launched the surge
with six straight points and finished it with a dunk.
It was 56-43 before a 3-pointer by Strawberry and a dunk by
Ibekwe sparked a 14-2 run that Garrison concluded with seven
"This game is very important, even though Western Carolina is
not really up to our caliber," Ibekwe said.
The victory got the Terrapins back on track after a 78-70 loss
to No. 19 George Washington two nights earlier. The game also
served as a final tuneup for the start of Atlantic Coast Conference
play, a matchup Sunday against No. 6 Boston College.
"I'm just glad to play after a loss. You just want to play;
that's important," Williams said. "I think to get ready for
Boston College, it gives you a good feeling."
Garrison had 16 points and all his rebounds in the first half.
It was a stark contrast to his performance against GW, when he
scored six points on 1-for-5 shooting.
"I had to assert myself early, especially coming off last
game," the senior center said.
Despite Garrison's performance and a 25-7 rebounding advantage
before halftime, Western Carolina used 6-for-11 shooting from
beyond the arc to stay close.
"We dictated the tempo in the first half. Maryland turned it
around in the second half," Hunter said.
Maryland led 18-13 before Kyle Greathouse connected three times
from beyond the arc during an 11-2 run that put the Catamounts up
A putback by Garrison -- Maryland's first basket in more than 6
minutes -- tied it at 24. Minutes later, Caner-Medley scored in the
lane and Jones hit a 3-pointer to give the Terrapins a 33-28 lead.