COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Julian Reese scored 22 of his 24 points in the first half, Hakim Hart added 22 points and No. 23 Maryland beat Coppin State 95-79 on Friday.
Jahmir Young had 21 points for the Terrapins (6-0) in their first game as a ranked team this season. Maryland jumped into the Top 25 after defeating Saint Louis and Miami last weekend to win the Hall of Fame Tip-Off.
“Overall, we handled it pretty good, but there were some areas that we definitely could have done better in,” Hart said. “I feel like a lot teams would have played down to that type of team coming off those wins, so I felt like we did a good job.”
Coppin State’s Juan Dixon coached for the first time against the program he led to a national title as a player in 2002 and was warmly applauded when he was introduced before the game. Dixon is Maryland’s career scoring leader with 2,269 points and is in his sixth season with the Eagles (3-5).
“It felt great coming back to Maryland, but it wasn’t about me today,” Dixon said. “It was about a group of young men that understand they’re playing for something bigger than just one game.”
Reese, Hart and Young became the first trio of Terps to score 20 points in a game since Dixon, Chris Wilcox and Lonny Baxter did it against Virginia on March 3, 2002, in the final game at Cole Field House and the last home game of Dixon’s career.
The Terps trailed 22-19 in the middle of the first half, then relied on Reese when it became clear the Eagles had no answer for the 6-foot-9 sophomore forward. Reese scored 18 of Maryland’s next 22 points to help the Terps build a 47-36 halftime lead.
Reese made all nine of his field-goal attempts in the first half and had 12 second-chance points. He also had 10 rebounds.
“He was a monster,” Maryland coach Kevin Willard said. “He knew they were loading up the box when he had the ball in the post, so it’s an easy way to go get it. He’s really being aggressive on the offensive glass. He’s consistently on there. He’s not going once or twice. He’s going every time.”
Coppin State twice got within six points in the second half, which featured five of the game’s six technical fouls, before Maryland pulled away.
“I want our team to play that hard and play with that intensity,” Dixon said. “I’m OK with altercations as long as none of my guys get disrespectful and throw any punches.”
Sam Sessoms scored 28 points for the Eagles. They have lost three in a row.
It was the first time Coppin State made the 32-mile trip to College Park since it stunned Maryland 70-63 on Dec. 12, 1989, during former Terrapin coach Gary Williams’ first season.
Coppin State: The Eagles didn’t have the size and depth to keep pace with Maryland, but those shouldn’t be glaring weaknesses in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play. Sessoms and Nendah Tarke (14 points) will be a formidable backcourt once Coppin ventures into its league schedule in January.
Maryland: While the Terps weren’t perfect, it was a largely steady performance that illustrated maturity after lopsided victories against Saint Louis and Miami. Maryland has won all six of its games by at least 16 points.
With several teams toward the bottom of this week’s Top 25 losing at least once in early season tournaments, Maryland will likely move up a few spots when the next poll is released Monday.
Coppin State: At UMBC on Wednesday night.
Maryland: At Louisville on Tuesday night in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
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