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Takeaways from Maryland basketball’s 95-61 win over Catawba

The Terps are an injured bunch, but the freshmen capitalized in big minutes.

Scenes from 2016 Maryland Madness Sammi Silber / Testudo Times

Maryland basketball thrashed Division II Catawba College in its first exhibition game, 95-61, just like it was supposed to. But it came with a price as Melo Trimble left the game in the first half after turning his ankle. The injury is said not to be serious, and the team said he should just “miss a few days.”

After the game, Mark Turgeon told reporters, “Melo’s going to be fine. If this was a big game, Melo would’ve played. I guess they call it a grade-one ankle sprain, so we’ve got to get him ready for Friday.”

The Terps came into the game without sophomore Ivan Bender, who will miss some time with a fractured wrist, and junior Michal Cekovsky, who sprained his right foot. That’s obviously more than the ideal number of injuries, but it allowed the Terps’ new faces to see additional time on the floor. Maryland’s trio of top-100 recruits, Anthony Cowan, Kevin Huerter and Justin Jackson, saw big minutes in their first game.

The freshmen

Cowan earned the start next to Melo Trimble, Jared Nickens, L.G. Gill and Damonte Dodd, and served as the primary ball-handler in that lineup, though Trimble didn’t fully relinquish his role. Cowan was as active as advertised, slashing and kicking out out to Maryland’s plethora of shooters. He finished the game with 15 points and five assists in 24 minutes, and was the brightest of the freshmen bunch. He was vocal and led the offense at times. He seems to already have overtaken Jaylen Brantley on the depth chart.

Huerter showcased his range and the fluidity of his quick jump shot, most notably knocking down a three-point shot in the corner at the buzzer before the half. He was also able to run on the break, serving as a point guard and pushing the pace off rebounds. He finished with eight points on 3-of-9 shooting and six assists in 24 minutes.

Jackson has an outrageous 7’3 wingspan and is clearly going to be a problem for opposing teams defensively. He spent time at the wing and down low to complement Damonte Dodd’s rim protection. His arms were able to keep defenders in front and he viciously swatted a pair of shots out of bounds. Jackson showed he can attack the rim, and although he didn’t finish a few drives well in the exhibition game, he had the awareness to seal off opposing bigs for three offensive rebounds. In 23 minutes, Jackson scored 15 points and grabbed six rebounds.

International recruit Joshua Tomaic also got some run with all the injuries in the frontcourt. He isn’t expected to play large minutes this season, but depending on the severity of Cekovsky’s injury he may have to. In 11 minutes, he grabbed four rebounds and dished a perfect pass to Dodd down low for a dunk. He had some issues picking up two quick fouls in illegal screens, but he’s a work in progress.

Maryland basketball will open the season on Friday against American in College Park at 7 p.m.