By: Ethan Bolster
With the college basketball season recently coming to a close, here is a look at the top highlights of the 2018-2019 University of Maryland Basketball team:
1. Maryland’s Hot Streak
Entering the New Year, Maryland Basketball had an 11-3 record and looked poised to be a force entering Big Ten play. The team flourished when conference play began, posting an impressive 6-0 record, a streak that included wins over Big Ten powerhouses Wisconsin and Ohio State. Also, during this span, the Terps knocked off a hot Indiana team that featured freshman sensation Romeo Langford. For a brief period of time, Terp hoop fans had high hopes as the Maryland basketball team looked to be unstoppable.
2. Bruno Fernando’s Breakout Campaign
As a freshman, Bruno Fernando put up solid numbers, averaging roughly 10 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. After an off-season gaining muscle in the weight room, Fernando turned in a fantastic sophomore season, and greatly increased his reputation with NBA scouts. Conventional wisdom now has him slotted as a first-round draft pick. Not a surprise as Fernando finished the season averaging a double-double in points and rebounds, 13.6 and 10.6 respectively. Based on his breakout campaign, Fernando is now expected to declare for the NBA draft coming up in June.
3. Anthony Cowan Jr. buries Minnesota with a season-high 27 points
On January 8th, Cowan posted a season-high 27 points against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Minnesota. Cowan had an extremely efficient night from the floor as he hit 7-of-12 shots and converted 3-of his-5 three-point attempts. With Cowan playing at such a high level, Maryland won comfortably on the road, subduing the Golden Gophers 82-67.
4. Young Maryland Team finds their way into NCAA tournament as a 6 seed
With low expectations coming into the 2018-19 season, the Maryland hoops squad was not expected to be a lock for the NCAA post-season tournament. With an extremely young team starting mostly freshman and sophomores, Maryland looked like it would face an uphill battle to participate in March Madness. However, freshman guard Eric Ayala and freshman forward Jalen Smith stepped up and took on prominent starting roles. Their stellar play, coupled with a breakout year from Bruno Fernando and solid seasons from Darryl Morsell and Anthony Cowan Jr., lead to a successful Maryland basketball season and an invitation to the Big Dance.
5. A home win over PurdueComing into this match-up, Carsen Edwards and the feisty Purdue Boilermakers were on fire with a huge eight-game winning streak. In the midst of that streak, Purdue was able to defeat the highly ranked Michigan State Spartans thanks to a 17-point night from sharpshooter Ryan Cline. The game against UMD was neck and neck until the final 5 minutes when the Terps began to pull away and eventually established a comfortable double-digit lead against the Boilermakers. Maryland went on to win 70-56 and the win secured a spot in the following week’s Top 25 rankings.