COLLEGE PARK – Anthony Cowan Jr. is undoubtedly the most important Terrapin on Maryland’s roster. Not only is he the point guard that steers the ship and leads the team in scoring, but he has an ability that is rarely seen in the college game.
Cowan has shown that he can completely take over a ballgame.
In an 82-72 win over the No. 18 Iowa Hawkeyes, Cowan set a new career-high in points. Dropping 31 points in a revenge-like effort, there was no doubt who was the best player on the court Thursday night at the Xfinity Center. Every big possession it was Cowan controlling the possession and bringing the ball up the court. When Maryland need a bucket, it was Cowan that delivered or found a way to get to the charity stripe.
Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon was admittedly impressed by his point guard. Tonight re-affirmed his perception of Cowan.
“I think Anthony is one of the top point guards in the country and I think he’ll be in the Cousy (Award conversation) and end up in the final five and have a chance to win that sucker,” Turgeon said postgame. “He’s terrific and the thing I love about it is it’s all about winning with Anthony this year.”
Hitting nine of his 15 shots – and making all but one of his shots from inside the arc – Cowan was playing on a different level. Slashing to the rim, hitting late in the shot clock jumpers; no matter what he was doing, no guard or forward could slow him down.
For good measure, he also compiled six rebounds and six assists while going 10-for-11 at the free-throw line. A far different outing from his nine-point, 2-for-10 game on the road against the same Hawkeyes.
“They sat in a zone, so I just had to get aggressive,” Cowan said. “That’s kind of how we got out the way last time we played them there. We just wasn’t [sic] aggressive with the zone so that’s what I made sure I did.”
Thursday was not the only time that the senior guard has exploded with a killer instinct mentality. Against Illinois, he single-handily snatched the victory away from the Illini in the jaws of defeat. He poured 30 on Temple in the Orlando Invitational. Those performances have become sporadic at times. Rarely have they been full games but there were glimpses here and there.
Now, nights where Cowan takes over are becoming more common.
"The game is so much easier for him because he just figured out how to play it and got tired of us getting on him and showing him film,” Turgeon said. “He’s flipped and become this terrific, understanding basketball player.”
“It’s slowed down for me a little bit in terms of just trying to make the right decision with the ball. And that’s what I tried to do tonight," Cowan said.
Fans know that they have something special with Cowan. His bursts and scoring ability at times rivals Melo Trimble whose playing times crossed with one another. Toward the end of the contest against Iowa, the crowd was roaring with “M-V-P” chants throughout the Xfinity Center.
They knew he put on a show. They know there will be more to come. And fans are just excited to have a player ready to lead them into March.
“That’s big time. 31 points, six boards, what else can you ask out of a point guard,” Aaron Wiggins said.
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