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Maryland basketball beats Catholic, 76-59

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The Terps shake off a slow start against a Division III opponent.

Cowan 3 Lila Bromberg | Testudo Times

It was a tale of two halves Tuesday night in College Park as Maryland basketball crossed up Catholic University, 76-59.

Anthony Cowan took over as the floor general he needed to be, notching 18 points, six rebounds and tying a career high with seven assists. Jared Nickens played 26 minutes, shooting 4-6 from downtown and scoring 14 points in the process. Joshua Tomaic also saw a season-high 17 minutes, and made the most of them, pulling in 8 rebounds and scoring seven points.

It was a rough start, as the Terps started the night down three regular contributors. Dion Wiley was out with an illness, Justin Jackson was out with shoulder soreness and Bruno Fernando was still sidelined with an ankle sprain. The latter two also missed Maryland’s game Saturday against Gardner-Webb.

Without them, the Terps trailed 12-7 at the under-16 media timeout and 17-16 eight minutes in. Jared Nickens made a two-point jumper with just over nine and a half minutes left in the first half to give Maryland its first lead since it was 2-0. After Catholic answered with a three-pointer, Joshua Tomaic hit one of his own to put the Terps up 21-20.

Reese Mona checked into a game in the first half for the first time this season and logged four meaningful minutes, bringing some intensity on the defensive end of the floor, a Varun Ram a couple seasons ago.

Thanks to a 7-0 run over a two-minute span, Maryland led 25-20, but the Cardinals would bounce back, tying the game at 27 before the Terps finished the half on a 10-4 run. Maryland led 37-31 at the break. Cowan led with 10 points, three assists and four rebounds.

The Terps outscored Catholic 23-9 over the first 10 minutes of the second half to open up a 20-point lead. Most of the rest of the half was just a formality, as Cowan kept dishing out assists and Maryland kept making shots. The Terps shot 57 percent from the field in the second half and won going away.

Maryland gets a little break for finals, but will be back in action on Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. ET when Fairleigh-Dickinson comes to the Xfinity Center. That will be the Terps fourth of six straight at home.

Three things to know

1. Maryland started too slow. Today was Reading Day, final exams start tomorrow and Catholic is a D-III opponent, so a slow start shouldn’t have been totally unexpected, but losing at the under-12 timeout was a bit surprising.

2. It didn’t matter because Catholic is a D-III school. The reality is that the Terps didn’t need to start hot, and realistically could have even started slower, and they still probably would have won by double digits.

3. Maryland is still turning the ball over a lot. The Terps finished the night with 15 turnovers against D-III Catholic. Not all of them were unavoidable, but that number has to shrink.