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Maryland snaps two-game skid, control Minnesota at home

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USA Today Sports

Maryland snaps two-game skid, control Minnesota at home

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Kevin Huerter scored 19 points, Anthony Cowan Jr. had a career-high 10 assists and Maryland used a strong second half to beat cold-shooting Minnesota 77-66 Thursday night.

Michal Cekovsky delivered 10 of his 17 points during an 18-2 run that gave the Terrapins a 50-34 lead against the weary Golden Gophers, who could not summon the energy to make a comeback.

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Maryland (15-6, 4-4 Big Ten) snapped a two-game skid and improved to 12-1 at home. Cowan did his part by distributing the ball and scoring all 15 of his points over the final 12 minutes.

Jordan Murphy had 19 points and 14 rebounds for Minnesota, his nation-leading 19th double-double of the season. The Golden Gophers are in the middle of a stretch of three games over six days, concluding with a matchup against No. 22 Ohio State in New York on Saturday afternoon.

Minnesota (14-7, 3-5) finished 23 for 64 (36 percent) from the floor and made only three baskets in the opening 10 minutes of the second half.

The Golden Gophers led 32-29 before Huerter hit a 3-pointer to spark the decisive run. The 7-foot-1 Cekovsky followed with the first of his five dunks in a span of just over 5 minutes, most of them on alley-oop passes from his guards.

With Huerter leading the way, Maryland made 10 of its first 12 field-goal tries after halftime.

In the first half, the Terrapins trailed 16-10 before Huerter scored eight points in a 13-0 run. It was 29-21 before Minnesota rattled off seven straight points to end the half.

READ MORE: BRACKETOLOGISTS ARE NOT CONSISTENT WHEN IT COMES TO MARYLAND

BIG PICTURE

Minnesota: The Golden Gophers can be forgiven for their recent slump, given that they're missing two of their best players. But they can't afford to feel sorry for themselves if they want to survive this stretch that features one home game from Jan. 15 to Feb. 3.

Maryland: The Terrapins desperately needed this victory after losing three of four. Now at .500 in the conference after beating a depleted Minnesota squad, Maryland can regroup during a stretch in which it plays just one game over the next nine days.

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Former Maryland WRs had NFL success only 2 programs matched in 2019

Former Maryland WRs had NFL success only 2 programs matched in 2019

LSU players and fans like to call the Tigers 'DBU,' based on all the success former LSU defensive backs have had in the NFL. The same goes with Clemson for 'WRU,' or the University of Southern California for 'QBU.'

Maryland has never been considered to be 'WRU,' but after this one stat, they certainly deserve to be in the conversation.

The Terrapins were one of three programs that had two former players top 1,100 receiving yards in the NFL this year. Second-year pro D.J. Moore finished with 1,175 receiving yards for the Carolina Panthers, while Stefon Diggs has 1,130 yards for the Minnesota Vikings. 

Besides Maryland, only Penn State and Alabama had two players accomplish the same feat.

For the Crimson Tide, both former All-Americans Julio Jones and Amari Cooper finished with over 1,100 receiving yards. As far as former Nittany Lions, both Chris Godwin and Allen Robinson reached the mark. Godwin enjoyed a breakout season in 2019, finishing with 1,333 receiving yards, the NFL's third-best. Robinson, in his second season with the Bears, finished with 1,147 yards.

What makes this feat impressive for Maryland is that Diggs and Moore were the only two former Terrapin wide receivers on NFL rosters in 2019. To compare, the Crimson Tide had seven, while Penn State had four.

The 22-year-old Moore just finished the first breakout season of his career and Diggs is just entering his prime, so expect plenty of production from these two for years to come.

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Jalen Smith slams home a powerful put-back dunk against Northwestern

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Jalen Smith slams home a powerful put-back dunk against Northwestern

Jalen Smith gets a lot of slack for leaving points on the board inside the paint. Against Northwestern, he made sure these two points would count. 

Following an Anthony Cowan Jr. missed layup in transition, Smith followed in with an authoritative slam dunk. 

After a sluggish start in the first half for the Terps offense, this slam dunk got Maryland's juices flowing as they looked poised to scrap together a comeback. 

The slam came just 30 seconds following another Smith flush, showing an added intensity for the Terps. 

Those four straight points got Maryland back within 10 points of Big Ten foes Northwestern, whose zone defense befuddled the Terrapin offense in the opening 20 minutes. 

If the Terps hope to complete the comeback, more momentum-swinging points like these will be necessary. 

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