Maryland basketball is 5-0 after cruising to a 92-77 victory over Mount St. Mary’s on Sunday in College Park.
The Terps had little trouble with the winless Mountaineers, pulling ahead for good early in the first half and leading by upwards of 20 points for the entire second half.
Bruno Fernando led the Terps in scoring for the third consecutive game, finishing with 21 points on 10-of-12 shooting along with seven rebounds. Rookie forward Jalen Smith posted his second double-double of the young season, scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 boards. Freshman guard Serrel Smith Jr. scored a career-high 13 points off the bench, and Anthony Cowan Jr. and Darryl Morsell finished in double figures with 12 and 10, respectively. Omar Habwe scored 18 points for the Mountaineers.
Maryland shot 62.3 percent from the floor and 36.8 percent from three-point range, its best numbers so far this season. The Terps also predictably dominated on the glass, pulling down 40 rebounds to the Mountaineers’ 22. Turnovers are an area of concern, though, as Maryland had 18 giveaways while forcing just 13.
Both teams were sloppy early, combining to commit 11 turnovers in the game’s first eight minutes. At one point, the contest had six giveaways and two made field goals. The score was tied 7-7 at first media timeout, but Maryland went on a 10-0 run and led 17-7 at the very next break.
Maryland led 47-29 at halftime, with Fernando tallying a team-high 13 points and five boards. The Terps struggled with turnovers all period, but their 10 giveaways only led to six Mountaineer points. Maryland was solid in most other areas, shooting 19-of-29 from the field and 4-of-9 on threes and holding a 23-8 rebounding edge. Mount St. Mary’s was high-volume, low-success on three-pointers for most of the first half, but hit three straight attempts to make the score a little more respectable at the break.
The Terps’ second-half performance was well short of dominant, but Maryland was never in danger, leading by double digits for the game’s last 29 minutes. The margin first eclipsed the 30-point threshold at the 10:37 mark on an elbow three by Wiggins. Mount St. Mary’s followed with a 12-0 run, but wouldn’t get closer than 20 until the final minutes.
Mark Turgeon emptied his bench in the second half, sending in both the walk-ons and freshman wing Trace Ramsey, who hadn’t seen any action in the first four games, for the final two minutes. Joshua Tomaic played eight minutes in the second half, while Reese Mona appeared for five. Andrew Terrell knocked down a jumper in the final minute for his first points since 2015.
Maryland returns to action Friday against Marshall. It’ll be the toughest test of the season so far, as the Thundering Herd are currently 86th in KenPom—nearly 60 spots higher than any of Maryland’s first five opponents—and reached the second round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament.
Three things to know
1. This was Maryland’s best shooting performance of the season. The Terps made 38 of 61 field goal attempts (62.3 percent) and 7 of 19 three-pointers (36.8 percent), both season bests. Fernando remained incredibly efficient, going 10-of-12 one game after shooting 8-of-8. Smith Jr. knocked down three triples, while Aaron Wiggins added two.
2. Serrel Smith Jr. had his breakout game. The freshman had only scored in one of Maryland’s first four contests, tallying seven against North Carolina A&T. But he entered and produced early in this one, scoring eight points in the game’s first 14 minutes. He finished with 13, one of five Terps in double figures. Maryland’s other reserves all saw the floor, but besides Wiggins’ eight, combined to contribute just five points.
3. Turnovers were the lone problem. Maryland had 10 giveaways in the first half and finished the game with 18. The Terps’ ball control has generally been a plus this season, as they entered Sunday averaging just 11.3 turnovers per game. But they had eight in the first half against Hofstra on Friday and were even sloppier throughout this one. It’s not quite a trend yet, but it’ll be worth watching going forward.