By Sydney Fazio
The University of Maryland Men’s basketball team faced Butler University for their first meeting since the second round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament, at the Xfinity Center, Wednesday.
With over 16,000 fans filling in the seats of Xfinity, Maryland enjoyed a massive home crowd to help them overcome a tough matchup against Butler. The now 3-0 Terrapins defeated the Bulldogs 79-65.
Butler came out strong in the first few minutes, scoring six points in the first two minutes. Eleven Maryland turnovers made ball control a little bit easier for Butler throughout the first half, giving them the lead for almost half of period one.
“It was a tale of two halves, actually,” Butler coach LaVall Jordan said. “First half, you couldn’t stop them like we wanted to, but when we did, we turned it into points. Second half, we stopped them, and then we made poor decisions to try to convert off the stops, and so we got stagnant offensively.”
The game was all tied up at 20 with 9:46 in the first half when sophomore guard Anthony Cowan drained a huge 3-pointer for Maryland, eliciting a wild roar in Xfinity Center. After a jumper by center Michal Cekovsky and a layup from forward Justin Jackson, guard Kevin Huerter extended the lead to 30-20 with another three.
The first half ended with Maryland in the lead 42-35, due to Terps efficient scoring. The team shot 70.8 percent from the field and 60 percent from three.
Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said Butler is a really well-coached team, but he just felt like the Terps had an edge.
“They were terrific in the first half, but I just thought defensively as the game wore on we got stronger.” Turgeon said. “It’s a great team effort. I like our team. We’re physical.”
The first 30 seconds of the second half was scoreless when Kelan Martin for the Bulldogs missed a three-point basket. Maryland guard Dion Wiley got the rebound, and answered with a three of his own for the Terps.
The Terrapins stepped up their game in the second half, rebounding better both offensively and defensively. Jackson and Cowan had 11 rebounds combined in the second half. Maryland improved at the foul line as well, increasing their free throw percentage from 33.3 in the first half to 82.4 in the second. Butler didn’t miss a free throw all night.
Cowan ended the game with a career-high 25 points; not to mention 10 rebounds, too. Coach Turgeon said he didn’t even look tired.
“I think he is really getting a feel of how to run the team.” Turgeon said. “He was really good tonight.”
Cowan called it a team-wide effort.
“I think it was just a great team win.” Anthony Cowan Jr. said. “I just looked at the stats, it looked like everyone just really contributed on different sides of the ball.”
Maryland got boosts from freshman guard Darryl Morsell with 13 points and freshman forward Bruno Fernando with eight points and four rebounds.
The Terrapins will face Bucknell at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday at home in hopes to pick up their fourth win.