If there was any doubt regarding Maryland men's basketball's energy after its loss to St. Bonaventure on Friday, the Terps put those criticisms to rest in the opening nine minutes of their 80-65 win over New Mexico on Saturday.
Maryland started the game on a 27-3 run behind revamped shooting and shutdown defense. The Terps continued that dominance for 40 minutes, responding to their first loss of the season with a overpowering victory in the Emerald Coast Classic in Niceville, Florida, before heading to Syracuse on Monday for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
After committing 20 turnovers in its 63-61 loss Friday, struggling to crack the Bonnies' 1-3-1 zone, Maryland (6-1) looked rushed at times against the Lobos' full-court press, giving the ball away 22 times.
But the Terps, who shot 21.7 percent from beyond the arc against St. Bonaventure, made up for their miscues with 53.3 percent three-point shooting against New Mexico (2-4). Guard Anthony Cowan (21) and forward Justin Jackson (16) finished in double figures, while guards Kevin Huerter, Dion Wiley and Jared Nickens shot a combined 6-for-11 on threes.
Although Jackson's shooting woes continued into Saturday, the swingman played more aggressively, shooting 8-for-8 at the free throw line and grabbing seven rebounds. Cowan helped the Terps maintain their edge with his pace, but the sophomore notched a 8:2 turnover-to-assist ratio.
Maryland held New Mexico to 33.3 percent shooting.
While coach Mark Turgeon's squad dominated New Mexico, the Terps were expected to play TCU in the winner's bracket Saturday. Their problems against zone defenses persist into their matchup against the Orange, who are known historically for their efficient 2-3 zone defense.
Though Maryland suffered three losing streaks of two or more games last season, it never trailed the Lobos. Five of the Terps' six victories this season have come by double digits, and they hope to play with the sense of urgency they flashed at the start Saturday as they cap their toughest nonconference stretch of the season Monday.