LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Anthony Cowan Jr. scored five of his career-high 30 points in the final three minutes, helping No. 5 Maryland overcome a slow start and beat Temple 76-69 in the opening game of the Orlando Invitational on Thursday.
Eric Ayala had 13 points and Jalen Smith finished with 12 points and nine rebounds for the Terrapins (6-0), who trailed by as many as nine in the first half. Cowan put them ahead for good with a long 3-pointer and added two free throws in the closing seconds for a five-point lead.
Ayala also came up big down the stretch with a 3-pointer, two free throws and a driving layup in the final 1:53. Smith capped the win -- Maryland's first by less than 18 points -- with two free throws that gave the Terps their biggest lead of the game with 2 seconds remaining.
Alani Moore II led Temple (4-1) with 22 points. J.P. Moorman II had 14 points and nine rebounds, while Owls leading scorer Nate Pierre-Louis was limited to three points -- nearly 13 below his average -- on 0-for-7 shooting from the field and 3 of 4 free throws.
Maryland: Falling behind early has been a recurring theme for the Terps, who led for just 16 seconds of the opening half using a 9-3 spurt to turn a 34-29 deficit into a 38-37 lead. Neither team could create much separation until Cowan's 3-pointer snapped a 62-62 tie.
Temple: The Owls pushed the Terps to the limit despite only shooting 34 percent from the field and not getting their usual production of the high-scoring backcourt of Pierre-Louis and Quinton Rose, who finished with nine points on 4-for-16 shooting. Jake Forrester had six points and two rebounds in his debut for the Owls, who earlier this week received approval from the NCAA to play the transfer from Indiana.
Maryland: Friday's semifinals against the winner of Thursday's first-round matchup between Texas A&M and Harvard.
Temple: Friday in the consolation bracket vs. the loser of Texas A&M-Harvard.
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