It was a tale of two halves for Maryland (14-3, 5-1 Big Ten) in its 78-75 win over No. 22 Indiana (21-4, 3-2 Big Ten) Friday night in College Park.
In the first half, the Terps could not get anything going on the offensive end. Indiana’s tough defense and double teams, sloppy turnovers and 32 percent shooting in the first half saw Maryland down by ten points almost the entire half.
They were eventually able to get Indiana’s lead down to eight by the break, and that is when Bruno Fernando and Anthony Cowan began to take over against the Hoosiers.
Turgeon was able to make adjustments during halftime and Fernando came out attacking the double teams and scoring in any way he wanted to.
After Juwan Morgan came out and scored the opening points of the second half, Maryland went on a 16-0 run propelled by Fernando and Cowan to take a 43-37, and the Terps never gave that lead up for the rest of the game.
“It was great win. One of the best wins and I’ve been doing this a long time,” Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon said. “To not start the game well again, we have to fix it and we have to do better.”
Fernando ended his monstrous game with 25 points on 11-12 shooting and 13 rebounds, claiming his ninth double-double of the season. He shot eight of eight in the second half and scored 17 of his 25 points in the half to help Maryland complete the comeback.
“I think it was the energy and picking up on defense in the second half,” sophomore forward Bruno Fernando said. “First half, it was a slow start which is one of the things we are trying to work on. We are trying to just make sure we do things right and we did that in the second half tonight.”
This was Maryland’s fifth straight win and second straight win over a ranked opponent. The hot stretch comes after a timespan in which the Terps had not beaten a ranked opponent since 2016..
“We are definitely figuring out ways to win which is always a good thing,” junior guard Anthony Cowan said. “Now we have to put this one behind us and just get ready for Wisconsin.”
After shooting only 32 percent from the field in the first half, Maryland found its stroke in the second half, shooting 50 percent and holding Indiana to only 42 percent shooting in the second.
Indiana’s freshman sensation Romeo Langford ended with 28 points on 8-14 shooting and showed just why he is projected to be one of the top picks in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Along with Fernando’s huge second half, Anthony Cowan was able to command Maryland’s offense and lead the charge to overcome an eight-point halftime deficit. Cowan was attacking the hoop and finding open shooters all night for Maryland, while Fernando and Smith were attacking the glass with a ferocity not yet seen this season.
“They’ve both [Cowan and Fernando] improved so much,” Turgeon said. “Anthony or Bruno and had the ball in their hands almost every possession late in the game and that’s just guys growing up and understanding.”
Cowan ended his day with 24 points, seven assists and five rebounds. He was also six of six from the free throw line in the final minute of the game to secure the victory for Maryland.
“Anthony was really playing well and now he’s taken it to a whole other level,” Turgeon said. “He wasn’t making shots the way Anthony can make shots and now he’s starting to make shots. It makes him really hard to guard.”
Maryland ended the game leading the rebounding margin 42-25 and grabbed 18 offensive rebounds compared to Indiana’s three.
The large discrepancy in rebounds is a product of Maryland’s size advantage they had over the Hoosiers. Fernando and Jalen Smith stand at 6’10” while Indiana’s Juwan Morgan and Justin Davis only stand at 6’7”, giving Maryland the height advantage down low over Indiana.
Another key to Maryland’s big second half was the limited turnovers. In what ended up being their cleanest half of the year, the Terps only turned the ball over once in the second half after committing six turnovers in the first 12 minutes of the game.
This team has come a long way over the past month and Turgeon has loved the progress his team has made since losing to Seton Hall before Christmas.
“We’re getting better. We’ve improved since Christmas,” Turgeon said. “We wouldn’t have won that game before Christmas. We wouldn’t have figured it out but we have gotten a lot better.”
After a career-high 21 points for Jalen Smith against Minnesota, the freshman struggled tonight for the Terps on the offensive end of the floor. Smith seemed to be all out of sorts, dropping passes and stumbling over his own feet against Indiana. He ended the night 0-9 shooting but did grab 10 rebounds for the Terps to help contribute to their massive rebounding margin.
“I felt bad for him because he’s such a terrific player coming off his best game of the year,” Turgeon said. “I know he’s going to bounce back and play great on Monday night.
Eric Ayala was the only other Terp in double figures, adding 14 points on 4-12 shooting.
Maryland now has a quick turnaround when Wisconsin (11-4, 3-1 Big Ten) comes to College Park on Monday to take on the Terps at 8:30 p.m.
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