BALTIMORE (AP) — No. 23 Maryland used its defense to work its way out of a tough spot.
Anthony Cowan had 17 points and Maryland scored 20 points off turnovers in a 55-41 victory over Loyola of Chicago on Saturday. The Terrapins also held the Ramblers to 32.7 percent shooting while bouncing back from Thursday night’s disappointing 62-60 loss at Purdue.
“I knew we had toughness, but my guys showed me a lot today,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “To have a devastating loss the way we did on the road and come back less than 48 hours later and play the way we played defensively showed great toughness.”
Cowan became the 55th player in Maryland history to score 1,000 career points, hitting the milestone with a free throw in the first half. Aaron Wiggins added 10 points for the Terps (8-2).
Cameron Krutwig scored 12 points for the short-handed Ramblers (5-5), who have lost four of five. Loyola committed a season-high 19 turnovers.
“We just had way too many bad possessions,” coach Porter Moser said. “You’re going to have bad possessions, but not this many.”
Maryland won despite getting modest contributions from its imposing frontcourt. Sophomore Bruno Fernando and freshman Jalen Smith each picked up two fouls in the first half, and the pair combined for two points and two rebounds in 10 minutes as the Terps carried a 24-20 lead into halftime.
The 6-foot-10, 240-pound Fernando, who was averaging 14.7 points and 10.3 rebounds coming into the game, finished with eight points and five rebounds. The 6-10 Smith had one point and three rebounds in his first college game in his hometown.
Cowan and Fernando scored on Maryland’s first two possessions of the second half, and Cowan added a 3-pointer to make it 31-22 with 17:03 to go. Loyola never got closer than six points the rest of the way.
It was the fewest points allowed by Maryland since a 71-38 victory over Monmouth on Dec. 12, 2012.
“I think it’s definitely been pretty impressive, the defense that we’ve played thus far,” Cowan said. “I don’t think it was just this game. I thought we defended very well last game. That’s just been harped on in practice, just trying to be a good defensive team, and I think we’re finally kind of showing that.”
The game was the second half of a doubleheader in the Charm City Classic. Morgan State defeated Towson 74-69 in the opener.
Loyola of Chicago: The Ramblers dressed only eight scholarship players because guards Bruno Skokna and Lucas Williamson remain out with injuries. Loyola has lost both of its games against power conference teams this season (Boston College and Maryland).
Maryland: The Terps got solid minutes from frontcourt reserves Ivan Bender, Ricky Lindo Jr. and Joshua Tomaic, and that experience should help later in the year against Big Ten opponents. Maryland improved to 3-0 under Turgeon in games played in Baltimore.
After splitting two games this week, Maryland could tumble out of the Top 25 after a two-week stay.
Maryland guard Darryl Morsell twisted his ankle in warmups. The sophomore scored just four points in 12 minutes, and only logged two minutes in the second half.
After scoring a combined two points in the Terps’ last three games, freshman reserve Serrel Smith Jr. had eight points, all in the second half.
“Serrel probably had his first- or second-best game of the year,” Turgeon said.
Loyola of Chicago enters a week-long exam break and won’t play until Dec. 16, when it entertains Norfolk State.
Maryland hosts Loyola (Md.) on Tuesday in the teams’ first meeting since 2003.
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