Sophomore Anthony Cowan Jr. (1) scores after breaking away with the ball during the second half. (Sarah Sopher/The Left Bench)

Maryland riding offensive high, focuses on Hawks for home opener

The Maryland men’s basketball team will make it home debut Sunday night against Maryland Eastern Shore Sunday afternoon, and the team looks to have already found its groove offensively.

The Terps travelled to Long Island to play Stony Brook in the season-opener, and they showcased their depth and ability with a 76-61 victory over the Seawolves. Now, Maryland returns to College Park for its first game in the Xfinity Center this year, and it hopes to keep the offensive chemistry flowing.

“We played well — especially in the first half,” Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon said after the game. “Our defense and rebounding was very good and at a higher level at this time earlier in the year than I expected.”

Maryland had five players finish with double figures, including sophomore Justin Jackson, who recorded his first double-double of the season and third of his career. Senior center Michal Cekovsky scored 10 points and was perfect in field goal attempts and made all four of his free throws.

Jackson said having multiple players who can have good scoring games is a special thing about the Terps.

“We have a lot of players who can do so many different things,” he said. “We can have players who can go off at any given night.”

Maryland went big to start the game against the Seawolves, and it paid off with a dominant performance on the boards. The Terps out rebounded Stony Brook 42-26.

“I was pleasantly surprised,” Turgeon said. “We played at a higher level.”

Turgeon and Jackson also got a chance to see what newcomers Darryl Morsell, Bruno Fernando and Sean Obi could do, and all three played well. Morsell and Obi finished with four points, while Fernando led the bench with 10 points and three dunks.

The Hawks (1-0) will likely be one of Maryland’s easier opponents on the schedule this year, but that doesn’t mean they can’t score. The team played Valley Forge in its season-opener, winning the game 95-69.

Like Maryland, Maryland Eastern Shore had five players finish in double figures. Cameron Bacote came off the bench and led the team with 28 points. Bacote also had 11 assists and four rebounds. Three of the Hawks starters — Tyler Jones, LeAndre Thomas and Ahmad Frost — finished with 10 points each.

The Terps are expected to come away with a win on Sunday, but there were a couple of areas that needed improvement against Stony Brook that could show up again against the Hawks.
Maryland got in foul trouble early against the Seawolves. The team finished with 17 personal fouls, which is lower than the Seawolves’ 19, but Cekovsky, Fernando and Obi had three fouls each. That could make a little bit a little more difficult for the Terps if those players get into foul trouble again early.

The team also started out slow for the second straight game going back to the exhibition matchup against Randolph-Macon. This is likely because the Terps don’t like pressing teams against inferior opponents, but the Hawks have shown they can light up the scoreboard if they get the chance.

Expect Turgeon and the Terps to start fast and counter the Hawks’ shooting ability. Combining that with the emergence of Maryland’s post-presence should make for a tough matchup for the Hawks to defend.