It has been a long journey, but Maryland men’s basketball broke through and picked up its first road win of the calendar year against Northwestern on Monday night.
The Terps trailed by as much as 11 less than a minute into the second half before using a 16-4 run to secure a seven-point win. After not hitting a single field goal in the first half, and registering just two made free throws, Anthony Cowan came alive down the stretch and finished as Maryland’s second-leading scorer with 13 points. 11 came in the last 14 minutes.
For most of the season, Maryland has relied on Cowan to be its scoring leader, but he’s had a harder time getting going in the last three games. Teams are defending him better off the dribble, and Northwestern continued that trend in the first half. He fired just one shot attempt—a missed three—in the first 20 minutes, and his stat line at the half was deuces wild with two points, two assists, two rebounds and two turnovers.
In fact, he wouldn’t add to his score until there were just over 14 minutes left in the game. Cowan finally found a gap in the Wildcats’ defense and was able to turn the corner and lay it in over two defenders. On the next possession, he drew a foul and hit two at the charity stripe to cap a 6-0 Maryland run, cutting the lead to three and giving Cowan confidence.
Seeing a shot go down opened up the floor for Cowan. After Scottie Lindsey nailed a triple to put Northwestern up by five, Cowan responded with a triple of his own to bring the score to 52-49 going into the under-12 media timeout. After taking 26 minutes to score his first field goal, he had just racked up seven points in just under three minutes.
The Wildcats would hit two free throws out of the media timeout, then Cowan went back to work. He took Anthony Gaines off the bounce, extending to put the ball on the glass over the outstretched arm of another Northwestern defender to kick off a second 6-0 Maryland run. Cowan followed up with a steal on the other end to start a Terps fast break.
The sophomore would get fouled with 1:22 left and nail two free throws to wrap up his scoring for the night. He’d finish as an apt co-star to Kevin Huerter’s 18-point outing with 13 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals on the night. When it looked like the Terps may be heading towards another road loss, Cowan stepped up and manufactured some offense.
In other news
While he had a quiet game against Northwestern on Monday, Bruno Fernando picked up his second Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors for the week of Feb. 12-18. He averaged team highs of 19.5 points and 12.5 rebounds in two outings.
While the men are unlikely to make the NCAA Tournament, the women’s team is still a top-16 seed heading into the final week of the season. Brenda Frese’s squad fell a spot to No. 14 in the latest rankings and would be a 4-seed in the Kansas City Region if the tournament started today.
Baseball’s Taylor Bloom was named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week. The senior righty pitched seven shutout innings in a 4-0 opening weekend win against Tennessee.
Five-star men’s basketball signee Jalen Smith was named the Baltimore Catholic League’s Player of the Year on Monday. It’s the second consecutive year the McDonald’s All-American has won the award, after he averaged 24 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks a game for 27-4 Mount Saint Joseph.
And legendary Maryland basketball coach Lefty Driesell is a finalist for the 2018 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Class. After being enshrined in both the Maryland and National Collegiate Basketball Halls of Fame, it’s his fourth fourth time as a Naismith finalist. He’s credited with the idea of “Midnight Madness” from his time at Maryland, and is the only coach to win 100 games at four different stops. He’s one of three coaches, along with Maurice Cheeks and Rudy Tomjanovich, on the list of 13 finalists. This year’s honorees will be unveiled on March 31 at the Final Four in San Antonio.