By: Johnny Moseman
Maryland men’s basketball continued their winning ways this season with a dominant 93-45 win over Division III St. Mary’s College (MD) tonight in XFINITY Center.
The Terrapins got anything and everything they wanted going tonight and that showed right out of the gate. They started things off with a 20-3 run and they didn’t look back. Freshman guard Anthony Cowan was the spark plug that got the Terps going early. His two steals in the first few minutes led directly to two scores, with him assisting on both those baskets.
Cowan’s intensity didn’t stop after that. He was the one directing Maryland’s offense throughout most of the first half and the all of the second half. Melo Trimble was pretty quiet, only scoring seven points in the first half and adding zero assists. Trimble only played three minutes in the second half. Trimble played a lot against Georgetown so Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon decided to give him a break in the second half.
Cowan stuffed the stat sheet tonight, scoring eight points, and adding seven assists, five rebounds and four steals. The freshman trio of Cowan, Kevin Huerter and Justin Jackson has been outstanding for Maryland so far this year and their teammates are loving it.
“They’re fearless and they’ll play anyone, they’ll play an NBA team if they have to,” senior forward Damonte Dodd said. “It’s good because you can’t come out scared.”
Dodd was an animal on both sides of the court tonight. He recorded his first career double double, scoring a game high 14 points and 10 rebounds. He also had three blocks, which might be the theme of Dodd’s game this year as he had a career high six blocks against Georgetown.
The scoring tonight was very evenly distributed, as 11 players scored tonight for Maryland. Senior forward L.G. Gill also scored 14 points and grabbed three rebounds. Huerter and sophomore Jaylen Brantley both scored 11 points, while Jackson grabbed 10 rebounds.
One of the main reasons tonight’s game was so lob-sided in favor of the Terps was because of the rebounding margin. Maryland out-rebounded St. Mary’s 51-28 with 22 of those rebounds being offensive. They had only 28 total offensive rebounds in their first two games. This should not come as a surprise because St. Mary’s tallest player is 6 feet 8 inches tall.
Turgeon kept the lineups very simple for tonight’s game that doesn’t count towards their record, since St. Mary’s College is a Division III School. He had two platoons going tonight in the first half with Trimble, Cowan, Huerter, Jackson and Dodd rounding out the starting lineup. The other lineup Turgeon used in the first half was Brantley, Dion Wiley, Jared Nickens, Gill, and Ivan Bender. Michal Cekovsky missed his fourth straight game due to his lingering foot injury.
Bender, who has been playing through a broken wrist this year, has been huge for the Terps so far this year, Turgeon said.
“He has been our most improved player this year, he’s been terrific” Turgeon said. “He started our private scrimmage, but then he breaks his wrist and gets out of rhythm a little bit.”
Bender finished with six points, seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks and only one turnover.
Turgeon mixed these lineups in the second half a little, but he still used the platoon squads most of the time. He doesn’t think he is going to keep doing it though.
“I did it because we jumped out 13-2 early and I wanted to get everyone to play equally,” Turgeon said. “It’s not going to be what we do in the future. Our depth is going to keep getting better and better.”
This was freshman Justin Jackson’s first career start. Tonight was also the first time the Terps started three freshmen since January of 2015 when Trimble, Nickens and Cekovsky started against Northwestern.
Freshmen forwards Micah Thomas and Joshua Tomaic did not see the floor tonight and rumors of Turgeon redshirting both of them have been flying around recently. Turgeon admitted he is contemplating it, but “only time will tell.”
Maryland is back playing Division I competition this Sunday when they take on Towson at 2 p.m. in XFINITY Center.