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No. 16 Maryland overwhelms American

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- Bored with practice and worn out from
taking exams, the Maryland Terrapins couldn't wait to get back on
the basketball court in a game situation.

Their enthusiasm was evident from the opening tip against
American University on Friday night, especially on the defensive
end of the court.

Nik Caner-Medley and Chris McCray each scored 17 points, and No.
16 Maryland held the Eagles to 17 points in the first half of an
81-55 victory.

Ekene Ibekwe had 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Terrapins
(8-2), who showed little signs of rust after a 12-day layoff.
Maryland led by 26 points at halftime after shooting 46 percent,
outrebounding American 27-14 and forcing 12 turnovers.

"Our defensive intensity was really good to start the game,"
Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "I had to sell the idea that if
you play really good defense most of the time and you're struggling
a bit offensively, the defense will break some things loose."

Maryland scored 18 points off turnovers and had 27 fast-break
points.

"We were really looking forward to playing," Caner-Medley
said. "When you have a layoff like that it can go two ways, and we
just talked about not using that as an excuse. We looked at it as
having plenty of rest, so there was no reason not to come out and
play hard."

Caner-Medley, 6-foot-8 senior forward, moved past Larry Gibson
into 28th place on the school career scoring list with 1,201
points.

Andre Ingram and Jordan Nichols each had 11 points for the
Eagles (3-7), whose three-game winning streak ended. American has
lost 13 straight to Maryland, including a 21-point defeat last
season.

"We would have preferred if they had overlooked us and kind of
came out and just wanted to get the game over with," American
coach Jeff Jones said. "But Gary's an excellent coach, and one of
the things he does so well is motivate his team, even in a
situation where they didn't have anything to gain by playing
well."

In his first game with the Eagles, 6-11 center Paulius
Joneliunas missed his first six shots and finished with two points
and two rebounds in 21 minutes. Joneliunas sat out a year after
transferring from South Carolina in the middle of last season.

The Eagles had more turnovers (12) than baskets (7) and shot 26
percent in falling hopelessly behind by halftime.

After American's Brayden Billbe made the game's first field
goal, successive baskets by Caner-Medley sparked a 12-0 run that
included by six straight points by Ibekwe.

Five minutes into the game, the Eagles were 1-for-4 from the
field with six fouls and six turnovers.

"We've had a habit of coming out of the gate slowly in a number
of games," Jones said. "It's something we've tried to address and
will continue to address. But Maryland just came at us tonight.
You've got to weather that early barrage, but we weren't able to."

It was 17-6 before D.J. Strawberry banked in a jumper and
seldom-used guard Parrish Brown scored off a steal to begin a 16-2
spurt that put Maryland up by 23. Strawberry had seven points in
the run and McCray contributed a 3-pointer and a layup.

The Eagles finally scored successive field goals late in the
half to make it 33-15, but Caner-Medley answered with a three-point
play and McCray added a 3-pointer to start a 10-1 run that ended
the half.

American cut the gap to 20 early in the second half, but simply
didn't have enough firepower to pose a threat.