Unbeaten Maryland rallies past Bucknell 80-78
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — The last thing Maryland expected against winless Bucknell was to be down by 15 points at halftime in a game that would not be decided until the final second.
Having survived that unwanted scare, the Terrapins can only hope to benefit from the experience.
With freshman guard Darryl Morsell leading a strong second-half comeback, Maryland remained unbeaten by escaping with an 80-78 victory Saturday night.
The Terrapins (4-0) trailed 50-35 at halftime, rallied to take the lead and then nearly blew it after going up 80-75 with 4 seconds left. With a half-second to go and Maryland up by two, Bucknell’s Zach Thomas fired up a jumper too late off an inbounds pass.
After winning their first three games by a collective 82 points, the Terps found themselves in a desperate fight against the defending Patriot League champions.
“I wouldn’t say it’s great to be behind, but it’s good to be behind and try to figure something out, especially this early in the season,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “That will help us going forward when we get behind.”
Turgeon tried several different lineups, switched defenses and went deep on his bench in an effort to repel the feisty Bison.
“We just changed everything in the second half,” Turgeon said. “It worked for us.”
Morsell scored eight points in a 10-3 run after halftime. Successive 3-pointers by Anthony Cowan and Dion Wiley made it 55-51, and the Terrapins finally moved in front when Kevin Huerter nailed a 3-pointer to make it 63-61 with 9:56 remaining.
It was 68-all when Justin Jackson connected from beyond the arc to put Maryland ahead for good with 5:45 to go.
Cowan scored 17, Huerter added 16 and freshman center Bruno Fernando had 14 points and nine rebounds. Morsell scored 12 of his 15 points after halftime.
Stephen Brown led Bucknell (0-4) with 23 points, Thomas contributed 17 and Nana Foulland added 15.
Bucknell shot 65 percent from the field in the first half, including 7 for 10 beyond the arc.
After the Bison stretched out the Maryland defense with long-range jumpers, Foulland made an array of dunks and layups to help Bucknell expand its 30-27 lead to 15 at the break.
“For us, in the first half we didn’t miss any shots and then in the second half, we missed some shots we could have made,” Bucknell coach Nathan Davis said.
Both teams were playing for the fourth time in nine days. Bucknell’s trek included road matchups against defending NCAA champion North Carolina and Arkansas.
The Bison showed their mettle at UNC, cutting a 16-point deficit to 59-48 before losing by 12.
The script changed in this one, but the result was the same.
JACKSON HOT AND COLD
With Melo Trimble gone, the Terrapins are counting on Jackson to be a scorer this season. He went 3 for 11 from the floor, but he hit two clutch shots down the stretch and grabbed 10 rebounds.
“He made some big-time plays for us,” Turgeon said.
Bucknell fell to 0-8 against Maryland and 2-22 against teams in the Big Ten at the time of the game. The Bison beat Purdue in 2012 and Penn State in 2013.
Bucknell: This was tough opening stretch for the Bison, who played teams from the SEC, ACC and Big Ten in a span of seven days. Bucknell didn’t win any of them, but can take consolation in knowing that the competition in the Patriot League can’t possibly be any more challenging.
Maryland: The Terrapins won the game despite receiving a serious scare. After handily defeating Butler on Wednesday, Maryland looked like a completely different team — one that must improve significantly to be a force in the Big Ten.
Bucknell: Opens its home schedule on Monday night against Siena.
Maryland: Concludes a four-game homestand against Jackson State on Monday night.
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