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Second-half surge carries No. 5 Maryland over Harvard 80-73

Second-half surge carries No. 5 Maryland over Harvard 80-73

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) -- No. 5 Maryland is answering the challenge against stronger competition in the Orlando Invitational.

Coach Mark Turgeon's just wondering what it'll take to get Terrapins (7-0) going a little earlier in games, regardless of who they're playing.

"I think we've beaten two NCAA tournament-type teams down here so far, and we get to play for a championship on Sunday," Turgeon said after Friday's 80-73 victory over Harvard in the semifinals of the eight-team tournament at Disney World.

"I'm disappointed in myself that I can't get our team to play better at the start," the coach added. "I don't what know it is. If I knew what it was, I'd have it corrected. "

Anthony Cowan Jr. scored 17 of his 20 points in the second half, and the persistent Terps gradually overcome another slow start to begin a season with seven straight wins for the first time under Turgeon.

Cowan followed up on a 30-point performance in the previous day's come-from-behind win over Temple with 10 points and an assist during a 12-4 burst that sparked a game-closing surge for the Terps, who also got the job done defensively by holding Harvard (5-3) without a field goal for a six-minute stretch of the second half while Maryland was taking control.

Jalen Smith had 15 points and 10 rebounds and Aaron Wiggins, Darryl Morsell and Eric Ayala scored 13 apiece for the Terps, who will play Marquette or USC for the championship.

"I thought (Thursday) we really had energy. Today we had nothing," Turgeon said. "We're a rah-rah team in the dressing room, a rah-rah team when we're stretching. I thought we were ready. We just didn't share the ball enough. I just want our guys to play a little more unselfishly at the start and I think we'll be a better team."

Bryce Aiken led Harvard with 30 points, but the Crimson missed 18 of 26 attempts from behind the 3-point arc and didn't have enough muscle or firepower to hold off the Terps after leading by as many as 11 in the opening half. Noah Kirkwood finished with 12 points and Robert Baker had 11.

"Bryce can score with the best of them," Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said. "He had a pretty efficient offensive game, but he can be better than that, certainly in other areas of quarterbacking our team and leading our team."

Amaker was impressed with Maryland, which -- despite slow starts being a recurring theme -- won its first five games by no fewer than 18 points.

"The key word for me, and I think all good teams have this, is balance," Amaker said. "I think they have a lot of pieces to the puzzle."

THE TAKEAWAY

Maryland: The Terps fell behind 9-0 in the opening minutes and trailed 35-31 at halftime. They also overcame a slow start against Temple on Thursday, but found a way to win despite not shooting well from the line. In addition to turning the ball over 16 times, the Terps made just 25 of 40 free throws.

Harvard: The Crimson would have led by more at halftime if they hadn't gone 1 of 10 on 3-point attempts. After going 22 for 22 from the line in beating Texas A&M in the first round, Harvard only shot 17 free throws against Maryland, making 10.

UP NEXT

Maryland: Plays Marquette or USC in Sunday's championship game.

Harvard: Plays the loser of the Marquette-USC semifinal for third place Sunday.

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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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