Maryland closes out a signature win over Butler 79-65, and move to 3-0 on the season.
The Terrapins promoted #BlackoutButler and the 16,317 fans in attendance really created a classic Xfinity Center atmosphere. Butler’s S Mcdermott admitted after the game it was a “tough atmosphere” to play in.
Butler was poised to be an early season threat, since the program has become a mainstay in the NCAA Tournament.
Mark Turgeon opened up after the game and mentioned how proud he was of his guys and their performance in such a “high-level game.”
Anthony Cowan led all scorers with 25 points, but also added 10 rebounds and five assists. Maryland’s other players in double figures were Darryl Morsell with 13 and Dion Wiley with 11 points.
Turgeon spoke about Wiley getting the start saying, “He’s the next guy up.” He also added that Maryland “went with a small lineup”, that featured Anthony Cowan, Dion Wiley, Kevin Huerter, Justin Jackson, and Michal Cekovsky.
The Terrapins really won this game with their shooting ability, especially early on. Sean McDermott of Butler said “We just kind of dug our feet in and sat down and made them take some touch shots. Credit to them for hitting them.”
Maryland shot just over 70% from the field in the first half, which helped combat the team’s 11 turnovers in just 20 minutes of play.
Butler’s head coach LaVall said “I thought it was a hard fought game”, and that his team’s “effort was clearly there” but the execution wasn’t.
Both teams will have plenty to learn from this early matchup, especially freshman Bruno Fernando from Maryland. Turgeon said that “he will learn a lot from this film”, since this matchup was an eye-opening experience.
Fernando spoke after the game and said that the officials were speaking to him about his body positioning and how that was resulting in foul calls. Specifically, they were saying that his elbows were low an hanging outside the frame of his body, and hitting defenders up high.
Fernando, Morsell, and transfer Sean Obi were three key additions that Turgeon also spoke of after the game. He mentioned the “finesse teams” he has had in the past, but these guys “make practice every day a little more physical.”
This team is playing with a certain tenacity that has been missing in past seasons. Even when they were leading Butler by seven at the half, Cowan was visibly frustrated with the turnovers and defense.
Maryland fans also have to be pleased with how the Terrapins closed out this game. Rather than taking early shots when they had the lead, they held the ball and played it around until they had to shoot. Closing out games with ease is a trait Maryland Basketball needs to instill this season if they want to build this program to new heights.