Friday, 14 Dec 2018

Maryland basketball tops Penn State to open Big Ten play

After Anthony Cowan Jr. scored 34 seconds, the roar of the crowd almost made the advertiser's score update inaudible.

The junior guard's attack pushes Maryland's No. 24 on Penn State from two points to five, the decisive blow of Victory 66-59 for the Terps in their first Big Ten match.

The sophomore Bruno Fernando finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds, making him the first player in Maryland to record three consecutive doubles doubles since 2011. Fernando has scored three doubles doubles all season; in the second year, he has four in early December.

Rookie Jalen Smith led Terps (7-1, 1-0 Big Ten) with 16 points and Cowan finished the night with 15 points. Smith scored double-digit in every game of his young career, with the exception of Wednesday's loss at No. 4 Virginia.

On Saturday, the Terps successfully started their Big Ten campaign after finishing last season 8-10 in conference games and being eliminated in the second round of the Big Ten tournament.

Both teams played a lousy first half. Penn State (4-3, 0-1) has only made one of his first 12 attempts to position, before warming up and ending the period with 42%. Penn State committed 16 fouls and Maryland had 10 turnovers in the half. Bruno Fernando's eight points in the first half came from the free throw line. Maryland missed 11 of 13 attempts to close the first half, after which Penn State led 31-30.

But Fernando dipped early in the second half to give the Terps the advantage. Then his freshman teammate, Smith, hit a three pointer followed by a layup. Cowan paused, trailing a 9-2 run in Maryland and forcing Penn State to take a break just over two minutes into the second half.

Smith had just six points in the Virginia game and did not play much in the second half when his coach Mark Turgeon opted for a smaller composition. On Saturday, Smith was watching Lamar Stevens, Penn State's best player. Stevens missed his first four shots but finished with 19 points.

Turnovers continue to be a problem for the Terps, who finished the game with 17 points. In the loss to Virginia, Maryland had 14 turnovers, against two for Virginia.

Prior to this match, Maryland relied heavily on a group of six players: starters Fernando, Smith, Eric Ayala, Darryl Morsell and Anthony Cowan Jr., in addition to Aaron Wiggins on the bench. These Terps had all used on average more than 24 minutes per game before Saturday. On Saturday, these athletes scored all points in Maryland. Behind these players, Serrel Smith Jr. has 12 minutes per game, a significant drop among the top six.


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