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Maryland basketball’s Bruno Fernando dunked all over Iowa


Iowa v Maryland Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Maryland basketball ran away from Iowa late Sunday night, eventually beating the Hawkeyes by 18 points. None were more exciting, though, than four from freshman Bruno Fernando in a 45-second span in the game’s final four minutes.

With Iowa in a zone defense, Kevin Huerter slashed past his man and to the basket, drawing Fernando’s man toward him in help defense. Huerter caught a pass from Darryl Morsell and quickly lobbed the ball over the defender to a soaring Fernando, who emphatically threw it down with two hands.

On a normal night, it would have been the most energizing and exciting play of the game, but Thursday night was not a normal night, and the next possession hadn’t happened yet.

With less than three minutes left and an 11-point lead, the Terps were dangerously close to putting the game out of reach for the Hawkeyes. When Anthony Cowan threw a lob from just beyond the three-point arc, Fernando ensured there would be no comeback as he reached behind his head with his right hand, caught the ball and threw it down with the burning intensity of a thousand suns over Iowa forward Nicholas Baer.

The freshman has been close to pulling something like this off multiple times this season, but has never managed to put the ball through the rim. Tonight was different. Fernando slammed that ball home and with it sent an entire arena into a frenzy.

“He is a versatile guy. He’s bouncy, he’s physical and he’s strong,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery, who was ejected in the first half, said after the game. “He has some offensive skill, but the thing I like about him is he plays really hard; he really competes.”

“I don’t know. I don’t even know how I got that ball. I just jumped,” Fernando said.

The Terps needed a win Sunday night, and they likely would have gotten one even without this dunk, but it was the exclamation mark on an all-around exciting evening at the Xfinity Center.