Maryland Greivis Vasquez keeps the ball away from Davidson’s Steph Curry. (James P. McCoy/Buffalo News)

The two big-name players on the court took center stage in the first game of the NCAA Tournament at HSBC Arena.

First, Davidson freshman Stephen Curry showed the same kind of sweet shooting stroke that made his father, Dell Curry, famous over a 16-year NBA career.

Curry, a 6-foot-1 guard, scored 23 points in the game's first 21 minutes. Three-pointers, drives through the lane, pull-up jumpers; Curry was hitting them all as his 13th-seeded Davidson team took a 48-44 lead on third-seeded Maryland.

That's when Maryland's best player, D.J. Strawberry, asserted his presence.

Strawberry, the son of famous baseball slugger Darryl Strawberry, put the defensive clamps on Curry the rest of the game.

Strawberry shut out Curry for the next 12 1/2 minutes, and the bigger, stronger Terrapins took control en route to an 82-70 victory Thursday.

"I knew that they were going to continue to go to him," Strawberry said. "I either had to step it up or he was going to beat us by himself. I tried to use my height and speed and aggressiveness against him, and sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. He's a great player."

Maryland, ranked 18th in the nation, improved to 25-8 and advanced to a second-round Midwest regional game Saturday against Butler.

Davidson (29-5), champion of the Southern Conference, was not mismatched athletically against its Atlantic Coast Conference foe. Davidson ran up and down the court with Maryland and played man-to-man defense almost the entire game.

But Maryland's bulk advantage inside took its toll. The Terrapins outrebounded the Wildcats, 54-35, and outscored Davidson in the paint, 46-22.

Davidson was outplaying Maryland on the perimeter in the first half and getting open shots against Maryland's pressing defense. Strawberry opened the game defending Curry, but he wasn't nose-to-nose with him most of the first half.

"We were using a lot of different presses, so he was coming out of transition and getting some open looks in the first half," Strawberry said. "In the second half, we just played man-to-man."

Strawberry, a fifth-year senior who is 6-5 and 200 pounds, used his size to deny Curry the ball.

Curry, a 175-pounder, didn't even get a shot for an 8 1/2-minute stretch of the second half.

"He was tiring me out just as much as I was tiring him out," Strawberry said. "It was a battle out there, and we happened to win it."

"His length is pretty great," Curry said. "He can be not as close to you on the outside, and he can still get a hand in your face."

Curry, unrecruited by the ACC schools partly because of his slight frame, finished with a game-high 30 points on 9-of-21 shooting from the field. He earned the respect of the Terps.

"Curry's for real," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "I told him after the game he could play anywhere.

"What he does is he shoots when you're not ready. He's great at sensing when the defensive player isn't really ready to contest the jump shot, and that's when he shoots. And he's got range. He can go to 24 feet legitimately.

"Davidson runs really good stuff to get him open. There's not one screen, there's usually four or five. You can't make a mistake on a screen because he's got a quick release."

Maryland got 17 points from shooting guard Mike Jones, one of six Terps in double figures. Strawberry and forward James Gist had 12 apiece.

"D.J.'s got great endurance," Williams said. "I don't think there's anybody he's going to play against that will make D.J. quit defensively. He's got that endurance and toughness to stay with it. He's done that for us this year to a lot of great basketball players."

Davidson was still within 71-68 with three minutes left, but the Wildcats could not get good shots down the stretch.

A three-point shot by Jones with 2:06 left put Maryland ahead, 75-68, and the Terps hit 7 of 8 free-throw tries in the final two minutes.

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