Maryland hung tough early, but fell on the road to the best team in the country Thursday night, 91-61.
The Terrapins started fast and raced out to an early 5-0 lead. Bruno Fernando sunk a midrange jumper and Kevin Huerter nailed a three-pointer off of a Fernando assist.
Unfortunately it was only a matter of time before the Spartans found their rhythm after no games for five days prior to this one.
Seven of the first eight made field goals for the Spartans came courtesy of the three-point variety. Michigan State finished shooting 57.1% from the field (32-56) and from three-point range (16-28).
Maryland withstood the Spartans hot shooting during the first fifteen minutes of the game which featured an offensive barrage that had both teams trading buckets back and forth.
After Huerter knocked down a three-pointer to regain the lead 27-26, Maryland only made two more field goals the rest of the first half. Both were from Maryland’s leading scorer on the night, Anthony Cowan who finished with 26 points.
The Spartans closed the half on a 15-3 run, essentially crushing any hope Maryland had at pulling off the upset in East Lansing.
In the second half, the Spartans continued their hot shooting from all areas of the floor. Maryland never was able to trim down the 12 point deficit they trailed at the start of the final half.
With the injuries to Ivan Bender and Justin Jackson, Head Coach Mark Turgeon was simply unable to keep his big men out of foul trouble with only three true frontcourt players healthy.
Michal Cekovsky fouled out with just two points and one rebound.
Freshman Bruno Fernando finished with four fouls to go along with seven points, seven rebounds, and three turnovers.
Graduate transfer Sean Obi was the first Terp off the bench and finished with two rebounds and did not take a shot. He only was called for one foul, but was exposed on defense as he was often too slow on the pick-and-roll defense.
Maryland played the number one team in the country about as tough as they could have missing two frontcourt players.
Only three Terps made more than one field goal, and only two players made more than two. Justin Jackson’s loss is most notable on the offensive end of the floor as a majority of the scoring each night falls on the shoulders of Cowan and Huerter.
As a team, a few positives to come from this game, (if there can be any in a thirty point loss), were the fact that the Terps limited their turnover total to just 12. They also shot 86.7% from the free-throw line (13-15).
Maryland (13-4, 2-2) will look to get back in the win column this Sunday when they host the cellar-dweller of the conference, Iowa (9-8, 0-4) at 8pm.