After a shaky first 12 minutes, Maryland men’s basketball left Jackson State in the dust on Monday night, winning 76-45.
There were 13,103 fans in attendance as freshman Bruno Fernando recorded his best game as a Terp. Fernando would finish the game with 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting, plus six rebounds and three blocks.
Kevin Huerter stayed consistent, adding 14 points, three assists and three steals, while Justin Jackson finally found the range, nailing three triples en route to 10 points, and adding a game high eight rebounds.
Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon trotted out his fifth starting lineup in five games. In addition to his three sophomores—Huerter, Jackson and Anthony Cowan—Ivan Bender and Fernando also picked up starts. That’s four players standing at least 6’7 in the starting lineup; Jackson State has four on its entire roster. The size difference was clear on the boards, as Maryland won the rebounding battle 44-27.
After a minute of basketball left the game at 1-1, Fernando was the first to force the issue. He’d score the first three field goals for Maryland and a free throw to bring the game to a 8-3 Maryland lead, and contributing seven of those.
After the free throw, senior center Michal Cekovsky checked in for the first time. Cekovsky had played just two minutes against Bucknell, while struggling with an illness that was discovered not to be strep. He finished the night with four points in 16 minutes.
Jackson nailed his second three of the season to stretch Maryland’s lead to seven. Every starter was off the court by the Under-12 media timeout but Cowan, who preserved a 17-10 lead before the break with a block.
From there, the offense sputtered a bit and over the next four minutes, and the lead was cut to 17-16 with 8:36 left in the half before Turgeon called timeout to rally his troops. Right before the timeout, Darryl Morsell would go down with a leg injury and need to limp to the bench with help. He went to the locker room and spent the second half on the bench.
Maryland responded with another three by Jackson and two more buckets by Fernando to retake control of the half. Fernando would finish the half as Maryland’s leading scorer with 14 points, adding 4 rebounds and 2 blocks, though he could’ve probably had more blocks than they gave him credit for. Huerter added 10 points, and Jackson finished the half with seven points and two blocks of his own.
Cowan was surprisingly scoreless through the first 20 minutes, after leading the Terps in scoring in each of their first four games. It looked to be a function of coaching strategy, though, as Maryland still took a 38-25 lead into the locker room. Cowan would finish the game with no points and six assists.
After the break, the Terps put their foot on the Tigers’ necks and went on a 13-2 run before the under-16 timeout. The run included a thunderous jam by Fernando and Jackson’s third triple of the game. The lead was stretched to 51-27 and wouldn’t get much closer the rest of the way.
Maryland got 29 points off the bench, and 26 points in the paint. With Morsell unable to return, the Terps’ largest contributions came from Dion Wiley and Jared Nickens, who finished with six and 14, respectively, and hit a collective 6-of-12 threes.
The Terps return to action on Friday, when they head to Niceville, Florida, to take on St. Bonaventure in the Emerald Coast Classic.
Three things to know
- Bruno Fernando is the real deal. Fernando was so good in this one that the internet gave him a new job title: President of Jackson State University. He absolutely dominated, killing the Tigers in the paint and sending away any shot he could get his hands on.
- Justin Jackson’s offense is coming back. While Jackson’s been a force on the boards, averaging a team-high 10.3 boards a game entering Monday, his offensive game had left much to be desired. After going 1-of-10 from deep through four games, he finally broke the lid off the basket. He went 3-of-8 from long-range, finishing with 10 points, and two credited blocks (he had more).
- Darryl Morsell’s injury status is crucial. The Big Ten’s Freshman of the Week went down with a hamstring strain, Turgeon said, and is “day-to-day.” How soon he’s ready to go will be important for Maryland. Morsell’s a valuable part of this rotation, and the Terps play in the Emerald Coast Classic, then the ACC/Big Ten challenge and immmediately follow with two conference games to kick off December.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include Morsell’s injury status.