The Maryland Terrapins came into Thursday’s matchup desperately needing a win. The Terps had run into a rough patch over the last two weeks and dropped three of their last four games. The third and most recent loss came on Monday when Maryland couldn’t hold a late lead against Michigan and lost in a 68-67 heart-breaker.
On Thursday the Terps returned their comfortable home atmosphere to host Minnesota, another Big Ten team looking to make a name for themselves in the conference. Just like Maryland, the Golden Gophers have experienced some tough injuries and been labeled a disappointment. When the game started the two teams continued to look rather similar but the Terps would pull away in the second half and win 77-66.
Four Maryland players finished with double-digit scoring but the starting five was as solid as they have been all season in every facet of the game. Anthony Cowan is usually the driving force behind the teams scoring but the sophomore played a great all around game to help lift Maryland to a win. After going scoreless in the first half, Cowan finished with 15 points, 6 rebounds and a career high 10 assists.
When you look at Minnesota’s night it’s almost crazy how they remained in the game in the first half. The Golden Gophers struggled to shoot over 30% from the field throughout Thursday’s contest but made enough from beyond the arc to stay in striking distance. Some great offensive rebounding and a surplus of Maryland turnovers also helped contribute to a slim 29-28 Maryland lead at the half.
The second half was an entirely different story. While Minnesota continued to struggle, Maryland came out of the gate strong by making 10 of their first 11 shots. Michael Cekovsky started to heat up during this span, racking up a quick ten points in the paint. The rest of the Maryland lineup consistently fed Cekovsky the ball and he continued to deliver with a handful of dunks that brought the crowd back to life. Cekovsky finished his night with 17 points and four blocks.
Thursday’s win also saw a return to form for Kevin Huerter. Unlike some recent games, the Terps didn’t have to wait around for the pale menace to show up. Huerter led the way right from the start, scoring 11 of his 19 points in the first half. The sophomore would also finish with eight rebounds and five assists to round out one of the best starts of his career.
Maryland will hit the road again on Monday to play Indiana at Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers are another team stuck in the middle of the Big Ten and will certainly pose a threat to a Maryland team that has struggled on the road.
Image Credit: Patrick Semansky / AP