Late surge carries Maryland past Loyola (Md.) 94-71
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Playing listlessly and with little focus, Maryland squandered most of a 24-point lead against an overmatched foe.
Finally, midway through the second half, the Terrapins decided it was time to play up to their potential.
Anthony Cowan Jr. scored 23 points, freshman Jalen Smith added a career-high 20 and Maryland used a 19-0 run to secure a 94-71 victory over Loyola of Maryland on Tuesday night.
After leading 55-31, the Terrapins found themselves up by only 10 points with 10:11 remaining.
“We weren’t mentally into it, as you guys could tell by our defense,” coach Mark Turgeon told reporters afterward.
And then, just like that, the Terps (9-2) held the Greyhounds scoreless for nearly four minutes while pouring it on at the other end of the court.
“I think they just got fed up with each other and the way they were playing,” Turgeon said. “I didn’t do anything. It was just our guys saying enough is enough, and they started guarding.”
That made it 83-54 with 6:15 left, and the Greyhounds (4-7) were done. Turns out, they got a little too giddy after getting so close against the bigger, more athletic Terps.
“We celebrated a little too aggressively,” coach Tavaras Hardy said. “I told them, ‘You’ve got to be stoic. Just keep it cool, calm, don’t wake a sleeping giant.’ Obviously, the 19-0 run after that didn’t feel good.”
Maryland went 11 for 21 from 3-point range and finished with a 42-28 rebounding advantage.
“We did a lot of positives in this game tonight,” Turgeon said.
“Obviously, they’re really talented, bigger than us at every position,” Hardy said of the Terrapins. “We knew that coming in. I wanted to see our guys fight. And we did.”
The Terrapins went 7 for 11 from 3-point range and had assists on 13 of their 16 baskets while building a 46-28 halftime lead.
Maryland led 17-7 before Champion hit successive 3-pointers to get Loyola within striking distance, but that’s as close as the Greyhounds would get.
Eric Ayala followed with a 3-pointer, sparking an 18-10 surge in which four different Terps connected from beyond the arc.
Loyola: The Greyhounds have only two seniors on the roster, none in the starting lineup, so games like this can only help when they open Patriot League play next month.
Maryland: This game was much like the Terrapins’ season, in that the team was alternatingly sharp and sloppy. Fortunately, Maryland could afford those lapses against the Greyhounds, who did not have a player who could match up with Smith and Fernando, both of whom are 6-foot-10.
DEALING WITH IT
It’s been an up-and-down span for Maryland, which dropped from the Top 25 after losing to Purdue last week.
The Terps bounced back to beat Loyola of Chicago on Saturday, but put forth an uneven performance against the Greyhounds.
“Ten years ago, this would have killed me, a game like this,” Turgeon said. “But it’s been a tough stretch, and we have a lot on our plate.”
Loyola: Travels to UMass Lowell on Dec. 21.
Maryland: Hosts Seton Hall on Dec. 22.