The Maryland men’s basketball team stumbled for the first time all season, and it didn’t take long for them to respond.
It seemed as if the Terps’ turnovers and hot-and-cold 3-point performances had finally caught up to them in a 63-61 loss to St. Bonaventure. But with help from Anthony Cowan, Kevin Huerter and Dion Wiley, Maryland bounced back on both counts in a 80-65 victory over New Mexico Saturday night.
Maryland started off with an 8-0 run and didn’t relinquish the lead for the entire game. Chris McNeal led New Mexico with 19 points and two assists.
The game was a stark contrast from the last time the Terps were on the court in the Emerald Coast Classic against the Bona Wolves. Maryland was 5-of-23 from 3-point range, and 20 turnovers led to 20 St. Bonaventure points.
The Terps were much more accurate from beyond the arc against New Mexico; they shot 8-of-15 for 53.3 percent. Maryland also had three players — Cowan, Huerter and Wiley — shoot at least 50 percent from the 3-point line.
Cowan was back to his usual self, after being held scoreless against Bucknell. Cowan led the game with 21 points and was 6-of-8 from the field. Although he committed eight turnovers, he made up for it by shooting 7-of-8 from the free throw line.
Huerter had eight points on three shots, and he was one of six Maryland players who scored at least eight points. Fellow sophomore Justin Jackson had 16 points and nearly had his second double-double of the season with seven rebounds.
It took less than a minute for the Terps to prove they had adjusted from its loss to the Bona Wolves, just 15 hours before tipoff. Michal Cekovsky got a dunk to start the game, which sparked an 11-0 run before New Mexico could respond.
It was apparent that Maryland’s offense had improved, but its defense also drastically improved between games. While the Terps were getting threes from Cowan, Huerter and Jared Nickens, New Mexico was held to less than 10 points until the first half was more than halfway over.
The Terps led by as many as 24 points in the first half. The two teams exchanged threes with less than two minutes in the half, and Maryland held a 46-38 lead at halftime.
Maryland’s offense cooled off a bit in the second half, but it did enough to keep New Mexico from threatening the lead. After New Mexico opened the half with a 3-point basket, Maryland went on a 9-0 run that included five points from Jackson.
With less than five minutes left, Maryland increased its lead by 25 with a layup from Bruno Fernando.
New Mexico chipped away at the Terps’ lead with less than two minutes left, but time quickly ran out for New Mexico as McNeal hit a three as time expired.
Maryland will be back in action on Monday as they travel to New York to play Syracuse. Syracuse will be Maryland’s biggest test thus far with a 5-0 record that includes wins over Cornell, Texas Southern and Iona. Tipoff will be at 7 p.m.