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Maryland basketball surges past Radford for 78-64 win

The Terps trailed for much of the first half, but pulled away in the second.

NCAA Basketball: Seton Hall at Maryland Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Early in the second half of Maryland basketball’s Saturday matchup with a scrappy Radford team, the Terps were on upset alert. Coming off a narrow loss to Seton Hall that ensured Maryland wouldn’t beat a power-conference team outside of Big Ten play, Mark Turgeon’s squad couldn’t afford another upset in College Park.

Maryland avoided that fate with a second-half surge. After trailing 39-36, the Terps outscored Radford 42-25 over the final 17:07 and led by as many as 22. Bruno Fernando took over during that second-half run. The sophomore center scored 13 of his 19 points after the intermission, and finished with 12 rebounds to post his fifth double-double of the season.

Four Terps finished in double figures: Eric Ayala scored 14, Darryl Morsell notched 13 and Anthony Cowan Jr. tallied 10 despite a poor shooting night. Perhaps the game’s most notable performance, though, came from Ricky Lindo. With regular forward Jalen Smith out with a stomach illness, Maryland’s other freshman forward recorded eight points and 10 rebounds in 22 minutes.

Radford came out scorching hot, as the Highlanders jumped out to an early 11-3 lead. They scored on their first eight possessions, giving them a 19-10 advantage. After that, though, the offense went scoreless on 14 straight possessions, with Radford missing 13 consecutive shots. Maryland inched its way back into the game, tying the score at 19 with 7:45 left in the `half. The teams went back and forth from there, with Maryland finally pulling ahead at the 2:57 mark and taking a 34-32 lead into halftime.

After starting the second half on the wrong end of a 7-2 run, Maryland put its foot on the gas and kept it there. The Terps scored seven straight to reclaim the lead, and by the 13:11 mark, they were up 53-43. At the end of a 15-2 run, the lead was 63-45. Radford wouldn’t get within 14 after that.

The margin surpassed 20 points with 7:11 remaining, and it’d stretch as high as 22. Maryland slowed down a little down the stretch, which kept new scholarship player Andrew Terrell on the bench, but there was no tension in the final minutes.

Maryland will enter the new year with a 10-3 record, and when Big Ten play resumes in January, the Terps will start with a home game Wednesday evening against Nebraska. They’ll follow with two road contests at Rutgers and Minnesota.

Three things to know

1. After a slow start, the Terps finished fast. With nearly 23 minutes of gameplay gone by, Maryland was 11-of-31 from the floor and had 36 points. It took the Terps just 11:38 to score their next 36 points, and they shot 56 percent in the second half to finish at 47 percent for the night.

2. It took a group to fill in for Jalen Smith. The five-star forward went through shootaround, but a stomach illness kept him out of the game. Joshua Tomaic got the surprise start; he entered Saturday with four points in seven games all season. For the most part, though, Maryland either went small or played Lindo alongside Fernando. The late addition to the Terps’ 2018 class finished with career highs of eight points and 10 rebounds. Ivan Bender was effective in eight minutes, while Tomaic played six minutes and recorded just one rebound. Maryland will need Smith going forward, but managed without him in this one.

3. Maryland still started both halves slow. This was a noteworthy issue against Seton Hall, as the Terps fell behind 14-3 early and allowed a 9-2 run to start the second half. Maryland’s defense showed up late again Saturday, as the Highlanders scored on their first eight possessions to take a 19-10 lead. And out of the break, Radford briefly reclaimed the lead with a 7-2 run. Maryland turned this game around, but the Terps won’t be able to spot Big Ten teams points in both halves going forward, and they know it.

Via StatBroadcast