Terps hold off Ohio St. rally

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - COL­LEGE BAS­KET­BALL -

younger dur­ing that stretch. When­ever they cut it two, we were ter­rific after that. We re­ally guarded. We did some things in the last three min­utes that I was re­ally proud of.”

After fresh­man guard Ser­rel Smith Jr. was fouled on a 3-point shot and con­verted all of his free throws — giv­ing him a ca­reer-high 14 points — sopho­more guard Dar­ryl Morsell (Mount Saint Joseph) made a steal, was fouled on a drive and made both free throws. Morsell scored 11 points, go­ing 6-for-6 from the foul line.

But it was Fer­nando tak­ing over on two straight pos­ses­sions to help keep Ohio State — which played with­out se­nior point guard and se­cond-lead­ing scorer C.J. Jack­son be­cause of a shoul­der in­jury — from mak­ing fur­ther noise and let­ting the an­nounced crowd of 17,569 take a col­lec­tive breath.

On the first, the 6-foot-10 An­golan grabbed the re­bound of a miss by Morsell, and with­out hes­i­ta­tion found fresh­man wing Aaron Wig­gins for a fly­ing one­handed dunk. After a 3-pointer cut Mary­land’s lead back to six, Fer­nando drove, spun and scored on a left-handed layup.

Asked about the two plays — the as­sist to Wig­gins was one of four for Fer­nando, one shy of his ca­reer high — Tur­geon said it was sign of ma­tu­rity not only for his big man but also for his young team.

“We’ve worked re­ally hard on what we do after an of­fen­sive re­bound, so it was great to see Aaron cut­ting. Bruno made the play, which was ter­rific,” Tur­geon said. “To be quite hon­est with you, it was prob­a­bly one of our best pos­ses­sions of the game.

“We had a lot of them, where we used the whole [30-se­cond] clock and ran a play for Bruno and he shoots a lit­tle left-handed hook with the shot clock go­ing off. That was a ter­rific pos­ses­sion. We played with a lot of poise there and ex­e­cuted at a high level."

That kind of ver­sa­til­ity — he also hit a cou­ple of face-up mid-range jumpers — shows where Fer­nando has grown from a raw tal­ent into what Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said Satur­day is a player wor­thy of be­ing first-team All-Big Ten.

Per­haps be­cause he is do­ing it with such reg­u­lar­ity this sea­son, Fer­nando sheep­ishly said he couldn’t re­mem­ber his last bas­ket.

“I re­mem­ber the pass to Aaron, but the layup and the drive?” he said with a smile. “I’ve said it all the time, I’ve worked on ex­pand­ing my game and just try to be more of a team player, fa­cil­i­tate the game for my team and mak­ing the right play at the right time. … It’s some­thing we’ve got to keep do­ing as a team.” Smith heats up: Play­ing 19 min­utes off the bench, in­clud­ing 11 in the se­cond half after fel­low fresh­man Eric Ay­ala left in the first half feel­ing ill, Ser­rel Smith Jr. gave the Terps a big boost by mak­ing four of seven shots from the field and five of seven from the free-throw line.

“It was a miss­ing spot there that had to be filled,” Smith said. “Coach came in [at half­time] and told us that Eric wasn’t feel­ing well. It was my time to step up and play that role.”

Smith had hit some big 3-point­ers on the road re­cently, in­clud­ing one at Iowa and an­other to help fuel Mary­land’s short-lived se­cond-half come­back at Michi­gan. But he seemed to know that with Ay­ala out, the Terps needed more from him Satur­day.

“Every se­cond I’m on the court, I try to keep my­self con­fi­dent,” Smith said. “Keep my­self up, try to step up. If the ball is ro­tat­ing to me, I try to hit the shot. That’s re­ally it.”

Cowan passes Joe Smith: Though he wasn’t born un­til after Joe Smith’s Mary­land ca­reer ended fol­low­ing his sopho­more year in 1994-95 as ACC Player of the Year and the No. 1 pick in the 1995 NBA draft, Cowan was well aware of the for­mer Mary­land star. His fa­ther, An­thony Sr., was a big fan of Smith’s.

Told that he passed Smith on the school’s all-time scor­ing list with 1,291 points, Cowan said, “Re­ally? My dad’s go­ing to be so happy.”

Now 28th on the scor­ing list, Cowan will set his sights on some other, less no­table Terps. Jay McMillen, whose big­gest claim to fame is giv­ing Lefty Driesell the line about Mary­land be­com­ing “the UCLA of the East,” is at 1,300, and for­mer Wood­lawn stand­out Evers Burns is at 1,315.

In­stant anal­y­sis: Mary­land showed its back­court depth when Ay­ala went to the locker room in the first half and never re­turned. Along with Ser­rel Smith Jr., Wig­gins added seven points. Morsell had 11 to go with eight re­bounds. The Terps also showed they might be bet­ter with four perime­ter play­ers on the floor with Fer­nando.

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OHIO ST. (17-10): Ahrens 3-5 0-0 9, A.Wes­son 5-9 0-0 13, K.Wes­son 3-12 0-2 7, Woods 4-11 0-0 10, Muham­mad 1-8 0-0 3, Young 1-2 1-1 3, Wash­ing­ton 5-12 4-4 15, Jal­low 1-4 0-0 2. To­tals 23-63 5-7 62.

MARY­LAND (21-7): J.Smith 2-5 1-2 5, Fer­nando 5-9 4-5 14, Morsell 2-8 6-6 11, Cowan 6-10 4-5 19, Ay­ala 0-1 0-0 0, To­maic 0-0 0-0 0, Lindo 1-3 0-0 2, Wig­gins 3-4 0-0 7, S.Smith 4-7 5-7 14. To­tals 23-47 20-25 72.

Half­time—Mary­land 33-28. 3-Point Goals—Ohio St. 11-33 (Ahrens 3-5, A.Wes­son 3-6, Woods 2-3, K.Wes­son 1-5, Wash­ing­ton 1-6, Muham­mad 1-6, Jal­low 0-2), Mary­land 6-17 (Cowan 3-4, Wig­gins 1-2, S.Smith 1-3, Morsell 1-4, Ay­ala 0-1, Lindo 0-1, J.Smith 0-2). Fouled Out—None. Re­bounds—Ohio St. 27 (K.Wes­son 7), Mary­land 36 (Fer­nando 10). As­sists—Ohio St. 14 (Wash­ing­ton, A.Wes­son 4), Mary­land 12 (Cowan, Fer­nando 4).

PATRICK SEMANSKY/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Mary­land guard An­thony Cowan Jr., who led the Terps with 19 points and four as­sists, shoots over Ohio State guard Musa Jal­low in the se­cond half Satur­day.

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