Cowan scores 21 as No. 24 Maryland beats Minnesota
By David Ginsburg
AP Sports Writer
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Anthony Cowan scored 21 points, Jalen Smith had 19 points and 11 rebounds and No. 24 Maryland beat Minnesota 69-60 on Friday night to end the regular season in feel-good fashion following a two-game skid.
The Terrapins led by 12 at halftime, stretched the margin to 19 in the opening three minutes of the second half and went up 54-32 with 13 minutes left.
Bruno Fernando had 11 points and 11 rebounds to help Maryland (22-9, 13-7 Big Ten) avoid its first three-game losing streak of the season. The Terps were coming off a lopsided defeat at Penn State and their lone conference loss at home, versus Michigan.
Amir Coffey scored 23 points for Minnesota (19-12, 9-11). The Golden Gophers’ only lead was 2-0.
Limited to 10 points against Michigan, Cowan topped that with a 12-point first half against Minnesota. The junior guard finished with a team-high five assists and played 37 minutes.
Smith, a lanky 6-foot-10 freshman, just missed matching his career high of 21 points, set against Minnesota in 82-67 victory Jan. 8.
Maryland led 34-22 at halftime despite missing 11 of its final 12 shots.
Minnesota had more turnovers (8) than baskets (7) in the first half and was 2 for 14 from inside the arc.
The Terrapins led 9-6 before Smith drilled successive 3-pointers to ignite an 18-7 run. Smith added a dunk during the surge and Cowan capped it with a 3 from the top of the key.
Smith started the second half with two free throws and Cowan made a layup to launch a 9-2 spurt that made it 43-24.
Minnesota: The Golden Gophers are a different team on the road, a problem that is not unique in the Big Ten. Minnesota finished 13-3 at home and 2-9 on the road, including 2-8 in the conference.
Maryland: The Terrapins desperately needed a blowout victory to erase the bitter taste of the two games that preceded it. Coach Mark Turgeon can only hope this serves as a confidence boost heading into the Big Ten Tournament.
Coffey scored a combined 63 points in Minnesota’s previous two games, helping the Golden Gophers beat Northwestern and Purdue. In this one, however, he went 8 for 17 from the floor and struggled before scoring 17 over the final 9:34.
With only two upperclassmen on the squad, reserves Ivan Bender and Andrew Terrell, Senior Day at Maryland was expected to be rather uneventful.
Bender rewrote the script after being introduced in a pregame ceremony. The Bosnia native bent down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend.
Though caught by surprise, Andrea Knezevic said yes.
Both teams open play Thursday in the Big Ten Tournament at the United Center in Chicago.