As the Maryland Terrapins entered the locker room at halftime down 15 points against Bucknell, freshman guard Darryl Morsell felt that the team needed a lift.
“It was evident that someone needed to pick us up,” Morsell said after the game. “We all knew in the second half that we had to get stops in order to win.”
With help from his freshman teammate Bruno Fernando, Morsell gave his team that lift it desperately needed.
Morsell had 15 points and Fernando had 14 points, as the Terps overcame its 15-point deficit to beat Bucknell 80-78.
Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon had a feeling that his team would come out flat after its emotional win over the Butler Bulldogs. That feeling turned out to be true, as Bucknell took advantage of Maryland’s struggles from the floor and forced eight turnovers.
“Bucknell was just terrific,” Turgeon said. “I thought they made everything in the first half no matter how hard we tried [defensively]. They responded. I didn’t coach very well in the first half. … And that’s on me.”
Bucknell shot 64.5 percent in the first half. Stephen Brown led the team with 23 points and six rebounds. Zach Thomas shot 6-of-13 for 17 points, and Nana Foulland led Bucknell with seven rebounds.
Bucknell also held Maryland’s offense in check by limiting the Terps to 13 shots on 32 attempts and prevented the team from hitting a 3-pointer in the first half.
“We were just soft,” Turgeon said. “So, our game plan was wrong. We were so worried about Thomas that we were afraid to switch.”
After a back and forth opening 10 minutes of the first half, Bucknell gained control of the lead with a three from Stephen Brown. Maryland trailed for the rest of the half, and with a layup from Thomas, Maryland trailed 50-35 — its largest deficit of the season so far.
That all changed in the second half.
As soon as the second half began, Morsell ignited the Terps’ offense with six points, helping the team chip Bucknell’s lead down to nine points.
Fernando said Morsell was “tremendous.”
“I love playing with Darryl,” Fernando said. “I love what he brings to the team. Every time I talk to Darryl, I just tell him I know he’s a great offensive player and I just tell him to take it to the basket and I’ve got your back.”
Maryland outscored Bucknell 16-9 to start the second half. Fernando, who finished with three blocks, thought Maryland’s bigs were a little soft to start the game.
“Just keep them off the glass and out of the paint,” the freshman forward said. “Make them catch a little further so he doesn’t try to back you down and just pass the ball out.”
Sophomore guard Anthony Cowan said Morsell and Fernando changed the game.
“When they’re both in the game, it kind of boosts everyone’s spirits a little bit. It makes everyone play a little bit harder. Darryl and Bruno really picked us all up.”
All four of Maryland’s 3-pointer came in the second half, and they came at crucial moments. After Bucknell had regained a 10-point lead off another layup from Thomas, Cowan hit a deep three to cut the lead to seven.
On the next possession, Maryland got another three from Dion Wiley, making the score 55-51 — Bucknell’s smallest lead since 8:34 in the first half.
Kevin Huerter gave Maryland its first lead of the half with a three of his own, and a 3-pointer from Justin Jackson with six minutes left in the game gave Maryland the lead for good. Bucknell had the chance for a final shot with .5 seconds left, but the shell missed its mark, sealing the Terps’ comeback victory.
Turgeon said it was good to see Jackson hitting big shots.
“He was sitting on the bench and I just told him, ‘Justin, you have to go.’ And he made two big time plays…so he looked like Justin on those plays. Hopefully moving forward he’ll play with a bit more confidence.”
Maryland will end its four-game home stretch against Jackson State on Nov. 20. The Tigers are 1-2 this season, and they lost their previous game against St. Bonaventure 72-58. Tipoff will be at 7 p.m.
Latest posts by Zach Selby (see all)
- Jalen Smith leads a freshman class ready to make an impact - October 17, 2018
- Kevin Huerter stays in the draft, will hire an agent - May 30, 2018
- Justin Jackson declares for the 2018 NBA Draft - March 28, 2018