Freshmen didn’t have to do heavy lifting in win
Starting trio of Jackson, Cowan, Huerter help Terps secure 5-0 record
COLLEGE PARK — Forward Justin Jackson didn’t take over the game, as he had done for a stretch of the second half in wins over Georgetown and Towson.
Point guard Anthony Cowan didn’t take a single 3-point shot, trying to jump-start his offensive game, as he had done against the Hoyas and Division III St. Mary’s.
Shooting guard Kevin Huerter didn’t suddenly try to start scoring, as he had done in high school, rather than continue to be the statstuffing facilitator and defender he had been through his first four college games.
And Maryl and coach Mark Turgeon couldn’t have been happier that this trio of starters — believed to be the first three freshmen to start together in program history — didn’t suddenly get selfish.
“It’s nice for them not to have to carry the load tonight and have other guys do it,” Turgeon said after Maryland’s 77-63 win over Stony Brook on Tuesday night at Xfinity Center gave the Terps a 5-0 record. “It’s hard at that young age to have to do that every night.”
Coming off a season-high 21-point performance, in which he hit eight of 13 shots overall, including five of seven on 3-pointers, Jackson scored just eight points on 3-for-8 shooting and missed his only 3-point attempt. The 6-foot-7, 225-pound forward did have a team-high nine rebounds.
Huerter finished with just four points, to go with five rebounds and two assists, but seemed to play more aggressively on the offensive end Barclays Classic Brooklyn, N.Y. Friday, 9:30 p.m. TV: MASN Radio: 105.7 FM, 980 AM Maryland’s Anthony Cowan dribbles downcourt against Stony Brook. Cowan scored eight points, and fellow freshman guard Kevin Huerter, rear, had four. while continuing to be his team’s best perimeter defender. Huerter hit his first shot early, finished a strong drive on a pass from Melo Trimble and found junior center Michal Cekovsky on a second-half alley-oop.
Cowan played more point guard than Trimble, allowing the junior guard to take over the game offensively at times (21 points). Cowan also scored eight points, with six coming from the free-throw line, to go with four rebounds, two assists and a steal.
“We did a lot of film work with Anthony about just running the team and defending,” Turgeon said.
It appears, at least for now, that Turgeon will continue to start the three freshmen.
There doesn’t appear to be a chemistry problem with having three freshmen start and older players, such as juniors Jared Nickens and Jaylen Brantley, as well as redshirt sophomore Dion Wiley, coming off the bench. Wiley had 13 points in 13 minutes, hitting four of five 3-pointers. Brantley had six points, two rebounds and an assist in 21 minutes. The Terps also got 11 points from backup center Michal Cekovsky, who played his first game after missing four with a sprained foot.
“Tonight I was nervous. ‘Oh, my gosh, I only have eight guys [healthy],’ ” Turgeon said. “I wasn’t sure Dion was going to play, I wasn’t sure Ceko was going to play. Then we actually had 10. ... It was an encouraging night.”