<
>

Ibekwe, Maryland beat Winthrop to continue fast start

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- Maryland seized control early, took
Winthrop out of its long-range game and avoided a letdown with an
easy victory.

Ekene Ibekwe scored 18 points and Bambale Osby ignited a
decisive first-half run that carried Maryland (No. 24 ESPN/USA Today; No. 25 AP) past Winthrop
71-60 Monday night.

"We got to just control the paint," Ibekwe said. "That's what
we did in the first half. ... We're still trying to make a
statement that we're a good defensive team. Defense leads to
offense and when we come up with the defensive intensity for a game
like this, good things happen."

Osby finished with a season-high 14 points and D.J. Strawberry
added 11 for the Terrapins (6-0), who are off to their best start
since opening the 1998-99 season 10-0. Maryland dominated in the
paint, outscoring Winthrop 40-18.

"He was a force from the minute he stepped out there,"
Strawberry said of Osby. "He was able to get off to a good start
early on and got some buckets. He was a big help to us winning the
game."

After watching his Terrapins beat Michigan State in the finals
of the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic at Madison Square Garden on
Friday, Maryland coach Gary Williams was wary of a letdown against
Winthrop, a team which hung tough against North Carolina on Nov. 15
before losing 73-66.

"I was concerned with the mental preparation," Williams said.
"We were really happy after the games up in the Garden (and) to
come back and play like that against a good team impressed me a
lot. That's what is going to make us good -- if we're willing to put
it out there every night and not pick and choose when we turn it
on."

Maryland has won 21 of 24 games at Comcast Center, 31 of 32
games at home against non-conference opponents and remained
unbeaten in four all-time games against the Eagles (3-2).

Craig Bradshaw scored a season-high 15 points and Torrell Martin
14 for Winthrop, which has dropped two of three games. The Eagles,
who entered the game shooting 37 percent on 3-point attempts, were
5-for-28 from beyond the arc and hit only 30 percent of their field
goals.

Michael Jenkins, the Eagles' leading scorer at 19.8 points per
game, was held without a point. He finished 0-for-5 from the field,
thanks to Strawberry's defensive effort.

"Tonight, from the start, we didn't have the fire," said
Eagles coach Gregg Marshall. "One of the worst games we've played
in four year. We didn't execute, we didn't make shots, we weren't
really smart and we didn't play with passion and energy."

Winthrop started 7-for-23 from the floor, committed 10
first-half turnovers and trailed 42-26 at halftime.

The Eagles' outside shooting kept the game close early, and
Bradshaw's 3-pointer gave Winthrop its only lead, 12-11, with 13:54
left in the half.

With James Gist on the bench with two fouls, Osby entered the
game and sparked a 14-3 run that produced a 25-15 Maryland lead
with 8:13 left in the half. Osby had eight points during the spurt,
starting it with an inside move on Maryland's third chance at the
basket and ending it with a bank shot.

Maryland closed the first half by outscoring the Eagles 15-6,
then took advantage of Winthrop's 1-for-10 start from the field to
open the second half.

The Terrapins used an 8-0 run early in the second half to go
ahead 52-30. In between two baskets by Strawberry, Mike Jones
scored on a transition jam and Ibekwe hit two free throws.