Maryland started off hot, taking an early 16-point lead before Cornell was even on the box score, and later expanded it to as big as 23 points. However, they cooled down and let Cornell back in the game with sloppy play and poor shot selection. Maryland was able to regain control in the final minutes, in a way-too-close-for-comfort 70-62 win over the Big Red.
The near collapse came after Maryland started the second half without hitting a field goal for the first 11-plus minutes. Maryland responded, in large part, thanks to Alex Len. Len made a huge hustle play that really got the Terps – and their fans – back in the game.
The Terps were given the chance to dig out of the hole they put themselves, and they did. Coach Mark Turgeon said “I wasn’t going to call a timeout in the first four minutes, I wanted them to grow up.” The young Terps did, but it took a little help from the old man of the group, Sean Mosley.
Mosley led the Terps in scoring tonight, with 19 points. Mosley also added in 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. It was one of the best nights, if not the best, Mosley has had this season, and one of the best of his career. Alex Len also had a great night, finishing with 15 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks.
The hustle play Len had to get a loose ball and save it from going out, then cleaning up a rebound and making the basket and free throw were huge. It completely shut down the Cornell momentum and swung it in Maryland’s favor. Len has been nothing short of spectacular so far.
On the other side of the spectrum were Nick Faust and Pe’Shon Howard. Faust had a stellar game against Samford, but came crashing back to earth after a 1-for-11 (including 0-for-5 from 3) shooting night against Cornell. Faust was shooting every chance he got, and even when he was open couldn’t hit a shot. It was rough seeing him out on the floor late in the game.
Pe’Shon Howard didn’t have his best game since his return. He started slow, and had far too many turnovers throughout the game. Coach Turgeon mentioned in his press conference afterwards that some of the guys were trying to throw “too many no-look passes.” At one point, Howard threw a no-look alley-oop from half court. I couldn’t see Turgeon’s immediate reaction because his back was to the court.
With conference play starting on Sunday, Maryland has a long way to go. Fans may want to temper their expectations after the momentum the Terps had after the games against Albany and Samford. Things weren’t made better when CBS Sports Seth Davis had the Terps in his “Buy” section in his Stock Report column, then tweeted that he sees them making the NCAA Tournament.
Maryland has a few days to rest and get ready for NC State on Sunday, Maryland’s first road game in more than a month. For more info, follow Brendan Darr on twitter: @BrendanDarr1067