Maryland will be trying to keep its perfect 2017-18 record intact Saturday night when it hosts non-conference foe Bucknell. The Terrapins have won each of their games by at least 14 points, including a 14-point home win over Butler on Wednesday, while the Bison are looking for their first victory of the campaign after three losses.
Sophomore guard Anthony Cowan Jr. leads Maryland in scoring at 18.7 points a contest and is coming off tallying a career-best 25 points and 10 rebounds in the win over Butler. Only one other player is scoring in double figures for coach Mark Turgeon — Kevin Huerter at 10.7 ppg — though five Terrapins are averaging between 7.7 and 9.7 points this season. Maryland has been winning despite sophomore forward Justin Jackson — expected to make a big leap into a leadership role on this season’s squad — starting slow, averaging 7.7 points on 39.1 percent shooting from the field. Despite its winless start, Bucknell has had its moments thus far, trailing by just one midway through the second half at No. 9 North Carolina on Wednesday before falling by 12.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
ABOUT BUCKNELL (0-3): The Bison have a veteran team, with three seniors in coach Nathan Davis’ starting lineup, but the player who will drive Bucknell is senior forward Zach Thomas, the team’s leading scorer (25.3 points), rebounder (10 per game) and 3-point shooter (14 on the season). The 6-7 Thomas has stepped up his game in his final collegiate campaign and is leading the team in minutes as well, averaging 32.3. And he hasn’t shown any signs of shying away from the spotlight, hitting 4-of-9 from 3-point range and finishing with 21 points in the Bison’s attempt at an upset of defending national champion North Carolina.
ABOUT MARYLAND (3-0): Many looked at Jackson as the sophomore that would step into the big shoes of departed star Melo Trimble this season, but Cowan knew he’d be ready for that task after mostly deferring to Trimble as a freshman. The 6-foot guard has been just as active offensively as Trimble was, scoring his career-high 25 points against Butler on just eight shots from the field because he was able to get to the line 15 times, hitting 12 of those attempts. Trimble was able to get himself points while setting up teammates for open looks, and, after watching Trimble do that in 2016-17, Cowan looks like he’ll be taking over that role this season.
1. Maryland is 29-2 in non-conference home games since the start of the 2014-15 season.
2. The Terps have dominated the boards in their first three contests, outrebounding their opponents by an average of 18 a game (42.7-24.7).
3. Against Butler, Cowan became the first Terrapins player to finish with at least 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in a game since Greivis Vasquez posted a triple-double in February 2009.
PREDICTION: Maryland 82, Bucknell 71