Maryland nearly squanders lead but edges Delaware
Maryland held off Delaware 73-67 after almost squandering a 22-point, second-half lead before escaping with a win in the season opener for both teams Tuesday night at Xfinity Center in College Park, Md.
Freshman Jalen Smith had 19 points and 13 rebounds in his collegiate debut for the Terrapins, and it was just enough to offset a career-high 29 points from Blue Hens senior Eric Carter, including 22 in the second half.
The Terrapins’ 1-2 inside punch of Smith and sophomore Bruno Fernando had their way much of the night. Fernando had 15 points before fouling out with 3:44 to play. Their strong showing keyed a 44-33 edge on the boards.
Maryland led by as many as 22 points, 56-34 with 14:57 to play, when Anthony Cowan, who finished with 15 points, hit a 15-foot jumper. But the Blue Hens bounced back with a 12-0 run, cutting the deficit to 58-48 at 9:31 on Jacob Cushing’s 3-pointer.
Delaware crept closer, pulling within 63-58 on Darian Bryant’s lay-in at 5:45. Smith got back-to-back layups, but Delaware hung around. Cushing drilled another 3 at 1:27 to make it 70-67, but Cowan hit one of two free throws and then added two more with 13 seconds remaining.
The Terrapins had blown open a tight game with a 15-1 run just before halftime. Maryland ran off 11 straight points to lead 44-27 when Ricky Lindo got a stickback inside just 32 seconds before the break.
Delaware trailed just 29-26 at 4:34 when Carter hit one of two free throws, but the Blue Hens missed eight of their last nine field goal attempts, going the last 5:28 of the first half without a field goal. The Terrapins canned five of their last seven first half attempts, and Fernando was perfect with 11 points on 5-for-5 shooting, all dunks.
With the win, Maryland improved to 8-0 in season openers under coach Mark Turgeon. The Terrapins, who received votes in both preseason polls, play at Navy on Friday night. Delaware is at Saint Peter’s on Saturday.
—Field Level Media