After two matchups against Stony Brook and Maryland-Eastern Shore respectively, the Terrapins had their first real test of the season last night at home against the Butler Bulldogs as part of the Gavitt Games (Big East vs. Big Ten matchups). Despite both teams not being ranked, the Bulldogs were ranked #31 on the ESPN rankings, while the Terrapins came in at #38. After the first couple minutes of the game, the Terps kept the Bulldogs at arms length, and took home the victory with a 79-65 final.
The Terrapins were led by Anthony Cowan, who exploded for 25 points, 10 rebounds (yes, 10 rebounds for the 6 foot guard) and 5 assists. The Sophomore Maryland native, bailed the Terrapins out of a couple bad possessions with timely threes in the 2nd half, and getting fouled with the shot clock running down. However, Cowan said that Turgeon’s defensive game plan was a key to their victory. “Coach Turgeon really keyed in on that, on team defense, and we’ve been looking really good on that in practice, so I was ready to see how we’d be when we get some good competition. I’m happy how it turned out”. UMD held Butler’s two best players, Kelan Martin and Kamar Baldwin to 27 points on 11/36 shooting.
The Terrapins shot 57.4% from the field overall, while they held the Bulldogs to 34.3%. There were a couple similar stats that showed the Terps’ domination including three point percentage (45% compared to 36.4%) and rebounding (40 to 27). However, the Terrapins did struggle holding onto the basketball, committing 20 turnovers, a bunch of them leading to easy baskets in transition for the Bulldogs, while the Terps only forced 10 turnovers from the Bulldogs.
It was extremely optimistic for the Terrapins to beat Butler despite the other sophomores having off nights. Justin Jackson and Kevin Hurter both struggled, shooting 5-13, 1/4 from the foul line and turning it over 9 times between the two of them. Luckily, the two freshmen had their backs. Bruno Fernando, 6 foot 10 inch center from Angola, scored 8 points and grabbed 4 rebounds in a 20 minute energetic run. Along with him, Darryl Morsell, a combo guard from Maryland. dropped 13 points off of the bench in 25 minutes.
The Terps are now 3-0 and currently sit just outside of the top 25 in the “receiving votes” category of the AP Poll. The Terrapins play two more winnable games at home against Bucknell on Saturday and Jackson State on Monday, before headed to Florida to play in the “Emerald Coast Classic”.