Maryland men’s basketball played Catholic University on Tuesday night. The Terps were missing three players, but it wasn’t supposed to matter.
They won, but it wasn’t pretty. After winning the tipoff and getting an easy dunk for Michal Cekovsky on the first play, it was Catholic that would take control of the first ten minutes.
The opening four minutes of the game were terrible for the Terps. Heading into the under-16 media timeout, Maryland was looking a 12-7 deficit and Catholic had hit 5-of-6 shots inside the arc. The Cardinals were outhustling the Terps and playing like they wanted it more.
“I can’t explain it,” head coach Mark Turgeon told reporters after the game. “I just think they were much more prepared and excited to play the game than our guys were. We just didn’t guard anybody that first four minutes.”
Maryland was still down 17-16 at the under-12 and all in all Catholic led the game for 9:46. That was the last break Catholic would head into with the lead, and, save for another minute the game was tied, the Terps managed to put Catholic comfortably in the rearview.
Maryland still turned the ball over way too many times. They added 15 more against a Division-III opponent to bring the season total to 215, worst of 351 Division I teams. The Terps have turned it over on 23.8 percent of their possessions, which ranks No. 338.
Anthony Cowan led Maryland with 18 points and tied his career-high with seven assists, while adding six rebounds. However, he also joined Morsell as the only two players on either team with over four turnovers; Cowan had four, Morsell had five.
“I mean at this point, we just gotta try to key in more and take care of the ball,” Cowan said after the game. “Simple as that.”
The Terps will likely return the trio of Justin Jackson, Bruno Fernando and Dion Wiley the next time out, which should bolster both rebounding and bench play. Jared Nickens and Joshua Tomaic combined for 21 of the bench’s 24 points with 14 and seven, respectively; Reese Mona had the other three at the free throw line.
Maryland has eight days until its next game against Fairleigh Dickinson, and two more games left in its home stand. After that, it’s all Big Ten play for the Terps in the new year, where such poor ball control will bury any hopes of contending for a conference title.
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