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February 6, 1999

Box Score

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A surprise lineup change and some unusually sharpoutside shooting enabled No. 7 Maryland to end its first losing streak of theseason.

The Terrapins took Virginia out of its 3-2 zone with a barrage of3-pointers, then dominated play under the basket in the second half for an88-72 victory Saturday.

Maryland (20-4, 8-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) made seven 3-pointers intaking a 44-32 halftime lead. That opened up the inside for freshman LonnyBaxter, making his first college start in place of slumping center ObinnaEkezie.

Baxter scored nine points over the first five minutes of the second half tokeep the Terrapins comfortably ahead. He also provided Maryland with anemotional boost with his fervor under both baskets.

“Lonny did a great job just playing hard early. That’s tough to do in yourfirst game starting,” Terrapins coach Gary Williams said. “I’m sure he wasnervous, but at the same time he let it out on the floor. That’s what you’relooking for.”

Baxter, told of the switch shortly before the game, finished with 14 pointsas the Terrapins bounced back from successive losses at Wake Forest and Duke toreach the 20-victory plateau faster than any team in school history.

Ekezie scored only one point against Wake Forest and had only two reboundsagainst Duke. Baxter, meanwhile, had 12 points and five rebounds against theBlue Devils. Williams took that into consideration before changing his startinglineup for the first time this season.

“The decision was based on two things: One, we were flat, and two, Lonnyhad played well at Duke. He just played and didn’t care where he was,”Williams said. “I wanted that to get through to the rest of the team.”

Baxter made six of 10 shots and had five rebounds and two steals in acareer-high 26 minutes.

“It was Coach’s call. He knows what he’s doing,” Baxter said. “There wasreally no difference – I just have to go out and play my heart out.”

Chris Williams scored 24 points and Donald Hand had 16 for the Cavaliers(13-11, 3-8), whose three-game winning streak ended. Virginia has lost sixstraight at Maryland and nine of 12 against the Terrapins overall, including a71-66 decision last month.

Maryland’s Terence Morris finished with 16 points after scoring only fivebefore halftime, Steve Francis had 10 points and 13 assists and Juan Dixonscored 11 points, all in the first half on 3-for-5 shooting from beyond thearc.

The Terrapins didn’t make a 3-pointer in the first Virginia game, but thistime they went 7-for-10 in the first half to force the Cavaliers out of theircompact zone defense. Maryland led 35-30 before Terrell Stokes, Morris andDanny Miller hit successive 3-pointers for a 14-point lead.

“They shoot 7-for-10 on 3s, well, they do that and they’re tough to beat,”said Virginia coach Pete Gillen, who was also disturbed over the Cavaliers’ 27turnovers.

Baxter opened the second half with two straight baskets inside to putMaryland up by 16. Minutes later, Ekezie had three points and Morris added adunk in a 5-0 surge that made it 60-43.

“They’ve got mountains, we’ve got little guys,” Gillen noted. “Oursmaller guys got beat up by their bigger guys.”

Virginia closed to 64-57, but Laron Profit made a layup and a 10-footer tostem the charge. A dunk by Baxter made it 75-62 with 5:28 left.

“It was a matter of time before Lonny had a big game,” Francis said. “Itwas just a great all-around effort for him. For us, it’s a relief to get thewin after two road losses.”

AP Sports Writer

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