Maryland handles Mount St. Mary’s as Fernando scores 21
Fernando had 21 points, seven rebounds and four blocks as Maryland defeated Mount St. Mary’s 92-77 on Sunday. Fernando made 10 of his 12 field goal attempts and is shooting 82.9 percent from the floor (34 of 41) as a sophomore.
“I just dunk,” said Fernando, who made five dunks on the day. “That’s a high-percentage shot. Whenever you go out and dunk, how am I going to miss that? It’s something I do every day at practice and shootaround. That’s really all it comes down to.”
The Terrapins outscored the Mount 56-22 in the paint as they improved to 5-0 for the fifth consecutive season. Jalen Smith added 16 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for Maryland, while fellow freshman Serrel Smith Jr. had a career-high 13 points.
The early centerpiece of the offense, though, is Fernando. He is averaging 15.8 points, an increase of 5.5 points over his average as a freshman.
“I don’t know if there’s a a big guy in the country that’s improved as much as he has in one year,” coach Mark Turgeon said. “Think about where he was last year at this time to where he is now. It’s great to see.”
Omar Habwe scored a career-high 18 points and K.J. Scott added 15 for the Mountaineers (0-4), who fell to 0-20 all-time against Big Ten opponents.
After the teams reached the game’s first media timeout tied at 7, Eric Ayala made a 3-pointer. Fernando and Darryl Morsell followed with dunks on consecutive possessions, and Aaron Wiggins later made a 3-pointer to stretch the lead to 17-7. The Mount never got closer than seven points the rest of the day.
Maryland led by as many as 32 points before Mount held a 34-17 edge over the final 10 minutes.
“I just could not be more proud of our fight,” coach Dan Engelstad said. “We didn’t stop. That’s one of the things we’ve done in the last couple weeks. We get into games, and then we stop. This one, they made a little push and we were able to close the game out that strong.”
The Terps shot 62.3 percent from the floor as they improved to 9-0 all-time against their in-state foe.
Mount St. Mary’s: The Mountaineers have only one upperclassman on their roster, and Sunday provided some predictable growing pains. However, it was an improvement over the Mount’s first game against a power conference team, a 50-point loss at N.C. State to open the season.
Maryland: The Terps, who at times played five freshmen together Sunday, continued their buildup toward a tougher portion of their schedule. Maryland will face Marshall, Virginia, Penn State, Purdue and Loyola Chicago in a 16-day stretch beginning Friday.
Maryland had five players score in double figures for the third game in a row. The balanced Terps had seven players with at least seven points in the victory.
Mount freshman Dee Barnes logged only one minute in the team’s first three games before scoring eight points in nine minutes in the second half. “He hasn’t gotten the playing time, he hasn’t gotten the rewards that he’s been looking for, but he got a chance today and he showcased it and that’s what you need to do when you get an opportunity,” Engelstad said.
After opening with four in a row on the road, Mount St. Mary’s plays host to North Carolina A&T on Wednesday. Both teams have lost to Hofstra and Maryland this season.
Maryland continues its six-game homestand when it meets defending Conference USA champion Marshall on Friday.