BALTIM0RE — Maryland basketball bounced back from a close loss Thursday with a 55-41 win over Loyola-Chicago in the Charm City Classic on Saturday afternoon.
While this was far from an offensive showcase, the Terps had more than enough to support their defense. Maryland had a meager nine points after 13 minutes of play, but warmed up to take a 24-20 lead into halftime. The Terps gained some separation in the second half, leading by as many as 17 before cruising to a 14-point win.
Anthony Cowan Jr. poured in a game-high 17 points, going 6-of-12 and 3-of-8 from deep to offset five turnovers. It took until late in the second half for any of his teammates to join him in double figures, but Aaron Wiggins caught up and finished with 10. Bruno Fernando was 4-of-4 for eight points and five rebounds. Sophomore center Cameron Krutwig led Loyola-Chicago with 12 points, eight boards and five turnovers.
Maryland shot 44.7 percent from the floor to the Ramblers’ 32.7 percent, and both teams struggled from three-point range (the Terps went 8-of-25 while Loyola-Chicago was 2-of-15). The Ramblers had 19 turnovers and only five assists, and Maryland converted those opportunities into 20 points. Loyola-Chicago had just seven off 15 Maryland giveaways.
The Terps had their early battles with foul trouble, as Fernando picked up two personals in the first 2:50 and Baltimore native Jalen Smith was whistled for his second with 10:14 left in the opening half. Smith picked up his third just two minutes into the second half. With both being off the floor more often than on, Maryland was outrebounded 33-29, but the Terps held their own inside, swatting a season-high 12 shots.
The offensive struggles started from the jump. Maryland went on separate scoring droughts of 4:58 and 4:45 early in the first half, and with just seven minutes left in the period, the Ramblers led 14-9. But the Terps found a spark and went on a quick 9-0 run to pull ahead. After Loyola-Chicago stopped that run, Ayala and Cowan drilled back-to-back threes to make it a 24-16 game. Krutwig hit a pair of layups to get Loyola-Chicago within 24-20 at halftime.
Maryland started the second half on a 7-2 run, extending its lead to a game-high nine. The 31-22 score held for 3:52, but after Marques Townes ended the drought at the foul line, Cowan gave the Terps a double-digit advantage on a layup. Both teams then resumed missing shots until Maryland went on an 13-0 run to open up a 44-27 lead with seven minutes left. It would never get closer than 11 coming down the stretch.
The Terps are back in action Tuesday against Loyola-Maryland.
Three things to know
1. The Terps survived Fernando and Smith’s foul trouble. The two bigs were limited to six and four minutes in the first half, respectively. This forced Ricky Lindo into 11 minutes of action, while Ivan Bender saw seven minutes and Joshua Tomaic played five. Nobody in that trio scored any points in the half (Lindo scored two after the break), but they all played well on the defensive end, highlighted by Tomaic’s two blocks. Loyola-Chicago is a small team, but it’s encouraging to see those reserves make the most of their opportunities.
2. Anthony Cowan bounced back. After a 4-of-17 showing against Purdue, the junior point guard went 6-of-12 from the field and 3-pf-8 from deep on Saturday. The turnover bug returned, as Cowan committed a concerning five, but this was an otherwise solid performance.
3. Maryland’s perimeter defense was dominant. Just like against Marshall, the Terps stifled Loyola-Chicago’s best scoring threats and kept three-pointers off the board. The Ramblers went just 2-of-15 from long range, and top scorers Marques Townes and Clayton Custer combined to shoot just 7-of-23 from the field.