COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Sunday afternoon had several reasons for Maryland fans to celebrate. Of course, celebrating a Big Ten championship being the most important, but also celebrating the career of Anthony Cowan Jr. on Senior Day against Michigan.
Since Day One, Cowan has been a Maryland guy through and through. He was a fan-favorite, a point guard that thrives in pressure situations and is not afraid of anything. He played in high school locally and stayed all four years. There were bumps, especially with him and his head coach Mark Turgeon. But he stayed as long as one can and gets to go out with the program’s first-ever Big Ten title.
“He did the right thing because there’s no guarantees for him after college,” Turgeon said on Cowan staying for a fourth season. “Our relationship has really grown because towards the end of his sophomore year he didn’t like me and I didn’t like him. He just wasn't the point guard I wanted him to be and we had a sit-down and talked about it. I loved him but I wanted more out of him.”
Just like the senior has throughout his four-year career, Cowan’s best performances were in a relatively quiet manner. Navigating the offense throughout the game, he never became the ball-hog type point guard that has become the norm in the sport. He’s there, lying in wait to take over if the team needs him to, but his job is to facilitate. A straw that stirs the drink has never been a more fitting analogy.
Against Michigan, he led the team in scoring for the 15th time in his final season. A game-high 20 points on 7-for-11 shooting performance was his most efficient outing of the year. He also added eight assists and four rebounds.
It was a different type of takeover, besides just being the primary scorer. The 20 points crept up, one where you look down and realize he’s been in charge the whole game. Since the jump, he was in control of the team and that was a difference in how they avoided a slow start.
“I got on Anthony pretty good at practice yesterday because he wasn’t smiling and hung his head a couple of times. I’m like ‘okay buddy. We feed off you, change your attitude’ and he did.”
On the same day, he set the all-time mark at Maryland in free throws made by going a perfect 6-for-6 at the charity stripe. He’s made a career of getting to the line and slowing down the pace of the contest, now 579 made in his time as a Terp.
And in a senior day fashion, Cowan rarely came off the court. He only missed 49 seconds of his final regular-season game. Once he came off early in the first half after he picked up two fouls. The second and last time was to give Cowan a well-deserved ovation from the Terrapin fan base.
The curtain call on Anthony Cowan’s career at the Xfinity Center. pic.twitter.com/prY3TNYo6f— Tyler Byrum (@theTylerByrum) March 8, 2020
As he came off the court, a big embrace from his head coach.
“I don’t know if anybody ever seen (Turgeon) like that. He said he had a 1,000-pound monkey on his back and I felt the same. We both just kind of took that out,” Cowan said.
Postgame was right about what one would expect from the four-year starter. He was in a celebratory mood but far from content. He knew what’s coming in the Big Ten Tournament and more importantly in the NCAA Tournament. Reflection isn’t exactly on his mind at this time.
“We all know there’s more work to do,” Cowan said. “We can celebrate this for the rest of the day, but we just got to get right back to work tomorrow.”
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