Maryland survives halftime scare to pull off close win against Bucknell

Feature photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

For the first time this season the Maryland Terrapins unexpectedly went into the locker room after the first half trailing the Bucknell Bison by 15 points.

Maryland had a disappointing first half, with Bucknell dominating them in almost every position. The Terps allowed them to have 50 points in the first half on 65 percent shooting, including 7-of-10 from beyond the arc. Bison’s guard, Stephen Brown, had a total of 23 points against the Terps.

Mark Turgeon believed that Bucknell capitalized on Maryland coming into the game flat after an emotional roller-coaster win over Butler on Wednesday.

“Bucknell was just terrific,” Turgeon said. “I thought they made everything in the first half no matter what we tried.”

However, backup shooting guard Darryl Morsell was a real game changer for the Terps as his career-high 15 points, including 12 in the second half alone that helped guide Maryland (4-0) to 80-78 victory over the Bison (0-4). After subbing in for Dion Wiley, his strong defensive and offensive possessions helped the Terps close the gap in the second half. In the first five minutes of the second half, Morsell scored eight of his 15 points including a highlight-reel, one-handed dunk.

Morsell’s teammates commended his efforts tonights, especially on the offensive side of the ball when the team needed baskets.

“He was tremendous,” said the freshman forward Bruno Fernando, who scored a total of 14 points. “I love playing with Darryl. I love what he brings to the team.”

The second half was a different story.  Coming out of the locker from a double digit deficit, the Terps aggression and change of pace set the tone.

With successful three-pointers from Anthony Cowan Jr. and Dion Wiley, Maryland was able to tighten the lead to four, 55-51 with fifteen minutes left in the game. Kevin Huerter hit a successful three, giving Maryland  their first lead of the second half with under ten minutes to go making the score 63-61.

With less than two minutes left in the second half, Bucknell trail the Terps by two. Missing his first free throw shot, Huerter made his second, increasing the lead to three.  The Bison’s forward Zach Thomas missed an open 3-point shot that was  recovered by Fernando. Guard Nate Jones fouled Cowan allowing him to shoot two at the free throw line that increased the lead for Maryland  by five. A missed layup by Brown and a 3-pointer from Thomas, did not allow Bucknell  to close the gap. With two seconds left on the clock, Thomas made a 3-pointer, narrowing the Terps’ lead to just two.  Morsell was then called for an offensive foul giving the Bison  possession again. Unfortunately, Thomas fell short of the three allowing Maryland to pull off with the win.

Turgeon said the win was only possible because of the drastic changes made in the second half.

“We just made adjustments and they worked,” Turgeon said. “Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. And we just played harder. Those guys were good. For the most part we’re getting better.”

Maryland will host Jackson State on Monday at the Xfinity Center.