ANNAPOLIS — Maryland’s shots were clanging off the rim, and suddenly the Terrapins found themselves in a tie game with Navy.
Time to crank up the defense.
Maryland limited the Midshipmen to six baskets over the final 14½ minutes and pulled away to a 78-57 victory Friday night.
Anthony Cowan scored 24 points and Darryl Morsell added 15 for the Terrapins, who won despite never really getting into a solid groove offensively.
“I was proud of my guys tonight. We really played well the last 14 minutes or so,” coach Mark Turgeon said. “We were great defensively.”
Morsell made two free throws to put Maryland (2-0) in front for good, 41-39, and Cowan buried a 3 to give the Terrapins a bit of separation.
Minutes later, Morsell had a dunk and a layup in a 10-3 spree that made it 54-44.
Despite going 5 for 23 from 3-point range, Maryland outscored Navy 23-12 at the foul line and forced 17 turnovers.
Sooner or later, the youthful Terps will find their shot. Until then, they’re going to try to win by playing hard on the other end of the court.
“We haven’t shot the ball well these first two games, but we’re still locked in defensively,” Morsell said. “It shows a lot about this team. When we start hitting shots, it’s going to be fun. That’s all I can say.”
Cam Davis scored 12 for the Midshipmen (0-2), who ultimately couldn’t keep up with the faster, taller Terrapins.
In the opener of the fifth annual Veteran’s Classic, Wichita State beat Providence 83-80. The nightcap was competitive well into the second half.
Navy returned from halftime with a 7-0 run to close to 33-32, causing Turgeon to call a timeout with just over two minutes elapsed.
“The biggest thing we had going for us was energy,” Davis said. “When we came out at halftime, we did everything we needed to do.”
Not long after that, however, the Terrapins finally pulled away.
“We wouldn’t figure out the zone, so we just spread it out and drove it because we couldn’t make a shot,” Turgeon said.
Maryland led 33-25 at halftime despite a 10-for-32 shooting performance that included 12 misfires from beyond the arc.
Navy missed 10 of its first 11 shots and fell behind 16-6. Soon after that, the Terrapins’ shooting touch went awry, too.
The Midshipmen were fortunate to be within striking range after going 7 for 26 from the floor with nine turnovers.
ADMIRAL IN THE HOUSE
Former Navy star David Robinson was in attendance and introduced to the sellout crowd during the first half.
Prior to this game, the last time Maryland faced Navy on the basketball court was in the second round of the 1985 NCAA Tournament, when Len Bias and the Terps bested Robinson and Navy 64-59.
Maryland: The Terrapins are 2-0 and haven’t looked good in either victory. Fortunately, they’ve got plenty of time to grow and work out the kinks with a succession of home games against lesser foes before hosting Virginia on Nov. 28.
Navy: Playing out of their league, literally, the Midshipmen didn’t have the height or talent to match up against a Big Ten foe. Fortunately for Navy, the competition in the Patriot League is not quite as formidable.
Maryland: The Terrapins host North Carolina A&T on Monday night, the first of six consecutive home games through Dec. 1.
Navy: The Midshipmen host another Maryland school, Coppin State, on Wednesday night.
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