Maryland returns to winning ways by thwarting Northwestern
COLLEGE PARK The University of Maryland is back in session.
Monday was the first day of spring semester classes, but Tuesday was the more exciting date on the calendar, the first basketball game since most students returned to campus. And after their only back-to-back losses of the season, the No. 21 Terrapins were back in session on the court, too.
Bruno Fernando posted his 13th double-double of the season as the Terrapins trounced the Northwestern Wildcats 70-52 at the Xfinity Center.
Fernando posted 22 points and 10 rebounds and Jalen Smith had 14 points and nine boards for Maryland (17-5, 8-3 Big Ten). Fellow starters Anthony Cowan, Eric Ayala and Darryl Morsell all added eight points.
It was a welcome win for the Terrapins and their student section, after losses to No. 6 Michigan State and unranked Illinois comprised a disappointing previous week.
The Wildcats’ two best players are senior big men Dererk Pardon and Vic Law, but Maryland dominated down low, outrebounding 44-28. Northwestern (12-9, 3-7 Big Ten) also shot just 31 percent from the field.
Maryland raced out to a 15-5 lead thanks to a 9-0 run powered by Cowan, Fernando and Morsell. The Terrapins also held Northwestern scoreless for a period of 4:20 later in the half while adding 10 on the board.
Northwestern shot just 7-for-31 (22.6 percent) in the first half, and the Terrapins’ 33-22 halftime lead probably could have been wider if not for their seven turnovers.
Cowan picked up his third foul, a flagrant 1, in the final seconds of the half after a tussle with Anthony Gaines. Mark Turgeon opted not to start the veteran point guard in the second half as a result.
It turned out Fernando and the freshmen had a handle on the game in Cowan’s absence. The point guard subbed in at one point, promptly took his fourth foul and left again, but Maryland continued to run up the lead. Morsell drained a 3-pointer; Fernando, from the top of the key, dealt a pass down low to Smith, and the freshman nicknamed “Stix” dunked it.
That put the score at a tidy 50-30, and the Terrapins were safe the rest of the night. Cowan rested the rest of the night, finishing with a season-low 19 minutes, and Turgeon got his bench players some run.
The Terrapins’ next game will be a likely frigid visit to No. 24 Wisconsin this Friday. They defeated the Badgers when they met in College Park on Jan. 14 clobbering them in the first half but blowing a 21-point margin before the 64-60 win was secured.