- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 29, 2019

COLLEGE PARK — The University of Maryland is back in session.

Monday was the first day of spring semester classes, but Tuesday was the more exciting date on the calendar, the first basketball game since most students returned to campus. And after their only back-to-back losses of the season, the No. 21 Terrapins were back in session on the court, too.

Bruno Fernando posted his 13th double-double of the season as the Terrapins trounced the Northwestern Wildcats 70-52 at the Xfinity Center.

Fernando posted 22 points and 10 rebounds and Jalen Smith had 14 points and nine boards for Maryland (17-5, 8-3 Big Ten). Their fellow starters — Anthony Cowan, Eric Ayala and Darryl Morsell — all added eight points.

It was a welcome win for the Terrapins and their student section, after losses to No. 6 Michigan State and unranked Illinois comprised a disappointing previous week.

The Wildcats’ two best players are senior big men Dererk Pardon and Vic Law, but Maryland dominated down low, outrebounding 44-28. Northwestern (12-9, 3-7 Big Ten) also shot just 31 percent from the field.

“We were terrific defensively,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “We really guarded them. They had trouble shooting the ball and I think we had a lot to do with it. We were running guys off line, knew where the shooters were. Our transition defense was a little bit better.”

Maryland raced out to a 15-5 lead thanks to a 9-0 run powered by Cowan, Fernando and Morsell. The Terrapins also held Northwestern scoreless for a period of 4:20 later in the half while adding 10 on the board.

Northwestern shot just 7-for-31 (22.6 percent) in the first half, and the Terrapins’ 33-22 halftime lead probably could have been wider if not for their seven turnovers.

Cowan picked up his third foul, a flagrant 1, in the final seconds of the half after a tussle with Anthony Gaines. Turgeon opted not to start the veteran point guard in the second half as a result.

It turned out Fernando and the freshmen had a handle on the game in Cowan’s absence. The point guard subbed in at one point, promptly took his fourth foul and left again, not to return again.

“Anthony’s a really good defender for us, so to continue to guard the way we guarded in the second half without Anthony was terrific,” Turgeon said. “He was a great teammate in the second half.”

Maryland continued to run up the lead. Fernando, from the top of the key, dealt a pass down low to Smith, and the freshman nicknamed “Stix” dunked it.

“I was trailing and I got the ball. I was gonna shoot the ball but then I saw my man was wide open so I just fed it to him for easy two points,” Fernando said, adding that he had fans from his native Angola at the game supporting him.

That put the score at a tidy 50-30, and the Terrapins were safe the rest of the night. Cowan sat and finished with a season-low 19 minutes, and Turgeon got his bench players some run.

Although his team’s poor shooting performance included some missed attempts from close range, Northwestern coach Chris Collins insisted Maryland deserved a lot of the credit too.

“I thought their defense was good,” he said. “When we did get good looks, whether it be at the basket or open shots, we could just never string anything together.”

The Terrapins’ next game will be a likely frigid visit to No. 24 Wisconsin this Friday. They defeated the Badgers when they met in College Park on Jan. 14 — clobbering them in the first half but blowing a 21-point margin before the 64-60 win was secured.

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