With under 10 seconds left in the first half, Anthony Cowan Jr. decided to size up his defender and pull up for a deep three-pointer that would fall, giving him 13 points in the first half. After his difficult shot, Cowan Jr. turned to the bench and smiled. The Terps were having fun while Marquette was nothing more than pedestrian and the scoreboard at the end of the game was an indicator.
In a dominant performance in the Orlando Invitational, the Terrapins were able to take yet another tournament title and finish strong to move on to eight wins on the season. Maryland was able to stay perfect thanks to an 84-63 victory over the Marquette Golden Eagles.
The Terps started this tournament final against the Golden Eagles beautifully, almost entirely outmatching the Golden Eagles in every major statistical category. Although Maryland started the game competitively on the defensive end, offensively it slightly struggled to maintain early possession and turned the ball over three times in five minutes. Despite this, the Terps did not hesitate to take quick shots to put points on the board. Marquette, a team well known for its aggressiveness, was several steps behind the Terps.
Coming out of the first media timeout, Maryland erupted and allowed the Golden Eagles to only convert two field goals in a four-minute stretch. Markus Howard, Marquette’s leading scorer, spent much of his time on the court being smothered by either Aaron Wiggins or Darryl Morsell who provided much-needed pressure on the perennial offensive talent. WIth Howard suffocated by the stingy Terp defense, it was up to his supporting cast to put up points.
However, his teammates only were able to score 19 points at an 8-of-30 shooting clip. Cowan Jr., coming off a 20-point scoring effort, easily outplayed Howard, and led the Terps with 13 in the first half. For the first time all season, the Terps hit the ground running and ended the half with a 42-21 lead.
In the second half, Howard would be expected to have a monstrous performance in order to put Marquette on top — but he could not deliver. Maryland started the final half slow, and was outscored by the Golden Eagles for the majority of the second period.
Howard essentially vanished in this game but Marquette refused to be silenced by the Maryland defense. Forward Brendan Bailey took the place of Howard and turned into the leading scorer for the Golden Eagles, draining timely threes to keep the Terp lead within 20. WIth Bailey’s 14-point scoring effort, Marquette was able to flip a 25-point lead three minutes into the half to a 12-point lead with six minutes remaining. Cowan Jr., Wiggins, and Morsell scored nine or more points in the second half to allow the Terps to run away for good. The talent and energy by the Terps was unbearable as they took off with a 21-point win.
After their impressive tournament performance, the Terps will be heading back home to take on another non-conference matchup against Notre Dame.