Victory was the ultimate goal, and No. 6 Maryland took care of that piece of business rather easily.
At this stage of the season, however, the Terrapins are also intent upon refining their play. In that regard, they accomplished what they set out to do Tuesday night.
Steve Francis had 17 points and eight assists as Maryland cruised to its 60th consecutive non-conference home victory, 90-62 over Maryland-Baltimore County.
The Terrapins were coming off a 67-point season-opening rout of Western Carolina, so it was unlikely that they could duplicate that showing. But although this game was closer, Maryland did in fact play better.
"We played a team game," Francis said. "The crowd wanted a 40- or 50-point blowout, but we came out with a good victory. We improved. (UMBC) is a lot better than the one we played Saturday."
Terence Morris scored 19 points for the Terrapins (2-0), who placed four players in double figures and forced 27 turnovers.
"We will improve each game," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "Tonight we went against a much more physical and aggressive team."
This game was more competitive, but the outcome was never in doubt after UMBC missed 10 of its first 11 shots to fall behind 10-2.
Kennedy Okafor led UMBC (0-2) with 14 points. The Retrievers are 0-10 against Maryland, losing the last three games by a combined 102 points.
"Maryland is going to make you play full court for the full game," UMBC coach Tom Sullivan said. "Maryland isn't picked No. 6 for nothing. They are picked No. 6 because no one wants to play them."
Maryland's non-conference home winning streak is second longest in the nation behnd Oklahoma State's 78-game run. The Terrapins have not lost a non-conference game at Cole Field House since 1989.
Francis, a junior-college transfer playing his second Division I game, had 11 points and five assists to help Maryland take a 23-point halftime lead.
But the Terrapins led by only 19 with 14 minutes left before Francis keyed a 8-0 run that made it 65-38. The 6-foot-3 guard started the surge by feeding Laron Profit for an alley-oop dunk, then drove the lane for a jam.
UMBC, with three starters battling foul trouble, could not come back.
Maryland shot just 39 percent in the first half but led 48-25 because the Retrievers made only eight field goals, missed half of their 12 free throws and committed 14 turnovers.
It was 10-4 before Juan Dixon hit a 3-pointer and Obinna Ekezie scored on a follow to ignite an 11-3 run that put Maryland up by 14.
At that point it appeared as if the rout was on, but UMBC closed to 24-16 and trailed by only 11 points with five minutes left in the half.
That was as close as the Retrievers would get. Ekezie made three foul shots, Dixon hit a 3-pointer and Profit ended a fast break with a dunk to spark a 13-0 run that made it 45-21.
© 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved