No. 22 Oklahoma 72, No. 2 Maryland 56

Saturday, December 22nd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ Maryland hadn't played in a while and it showed, although Oklahoma gets some of the credit for that.

The 22nd-ranked Sooners held No. 2 Maryland to 38 percent shooting, forced the Terrapins into a season-high 21 turnovers and held Juan Dixon to just 11 points in a 72-56 victory Friday night.

Ebi Ere scored 19 points and Aaron McGhee had 16 points and 11 rebounds as the Sooners (9-1) won their eighth straight and ended Maryland's eight-game winning streak.

``This one's special because I know how good Maryland is,'' coach Kelvin Sampson said. ``This is certainly one of the best defensive performances we've had.''

Maryland (8-2) was coming off a 10-day break for final exams. The Terps missed a number of open shots, although coach Gary Williams said the layoff had nothing to do with Oklahoma's rebounding dominance in the second half when the Sooners broke the game open.

``It might affect your ballhandling, your shooting, but in terms of the intensity level, I thought Oklahoma took it to us in the second half,'' he said. ``That's one of those things that happens in college basketball _ you don't always play the games when you'd like to play them. But that's not a reason to lose the game.''

The Terps had a 22-18 edge on the backboards in the first half, when they trailed by just two. But Oklahoma outrebounded them 26-14 in the second half.

Jabahri Brown, a 6-foot-10 transfer from Florida International who only became eligible last weekend, had 14 rebounds, 11 on the defensive end.

``This is a great feeling,'' Brown said. ``This is why I came to Oklahoma, to be in situations like this.''

McGhee picked up two fouls in the first half and played just nine minutes. The game was tied at 38 when McGhee made a free throw and a follow shot to start an 8-3 run that gave the Sooners the lead for good, 46-41. Maryland turned the ball over five times during that stretch and missed four of five shots.

The Terps got within 52-49 when Byron Mouton came up with a steal and a layup with 7:17 left, but Maryland didn't make another field goal for six minutes.

Meanwhile Quannas White hit a short jumper, McGhee had a three-point play and two free throws, and Ere hit a 3-pointer from the left corner to cap a 10-0 spurt that made it 62-49 with four minutes left. The Terps got no closer than 12 after that.

``They outworked us tonight,'' Maryland guard Steve Blake said. ``We didn't execute the way we can. They played well and we didn't.''

Dixon, who came in averaging 18 points per game, scored nine in the first half but got only three shots in the second. Chris Wilcox led Maryland with 15 points.

Hollis Price, Oklahoma's leading scorer at 18.4 points per game, scored six and didn't make a basket until the 2:46 mark of the first half. But Oklahoma held its own without him, thanks to eight points from Brown and seven from reserve Daryan Selvy.

``When you're playing on the road, you've got to do a lot of things right against a ranked team,'' Williams said. ``We didn't do enough things right tonight to win the game.''