Maryland men's basketball's 63-61 upset loss to St. Bonaventure on Friday came with a fitting ending: guard Darryl Morsell put Anthony Cowan off balance with an errant inbound pass, and Cowan stumbled and lost the ball pushing up the court as time expired.
On a night the Terps committed 20 turnovers and couldn't get out of their own way, the image of Cowan flying out of control with one last chance to tie the game felt appropriate.
It was the second time in three contests Maryland struggled against a team it should have beaten handily. But while the Terps overcame Bucknell's red-hot 3-point shooting to win, 80-78, last weekend, their self-inflicted wounds proved insurmountable against the Bonnies.
Maryland had already committed 16 turnovers and registered just seven assists when St. Bonaventure forward Courtney Stockard hit go-ahead free throws with about 12 minutes remaining Friday night.
But while the Terps responded with a 14-4 run to take momentary control, four more giveaways ultimately ended their five-game unbeaten run to start the campaign. And with tough contests against Syracuse and Purdue coming Monday and next Friday, that carelessness could quickly lead to the team's first non-conference losing streak since 2013.
Maryland has now committed more than 16 turnovers per game this year compared to less than 13 last season. So, the squad needs Cowan, along with fellow sophomores Kevin Huerter and Justin Jackson, to step up and show more assurance soon. The trio combined for 11 turnovers and nine assists Friday night — numbers that aren't good enough if this team is serious about reaching its lofty postseason goals.
Cekovsky provided an early scoring boost to lift the Terps in the first half and finished with nine points to go along with four rebounds and two blocks. He didn't make much of an impact down the stretch, though, mostly watching from the bench as St. Bonaventure mounted its final charge to earn a surprise victory.
Despite slimming down during the offseason and supposedly looking much better at the offensive end in practice, Bender hadn't shown much production before this one. But against the Bonnies, he delivered a solid eight-point performance in only 14 minutes.
The Terps need Cowan to return to the player that dominated over their first four contests. For the second straight game, he shot at 40 percent or below and committed multiple turnovers. So while two second-half 3-pointers and a pair of clutch free throws to tie the game with about 25 seconds left made an impact, it wasn't enough to compensate for his mistakes.
Jackson has had the slowest start of Maryland's three standout sophomores this year. Though he gave the ball away four times, his nine points are perhaps a sign that his offensive game is heating up as Big Ten play approaches.
Huerter was the only Maryland player to record more assists than turnovers (five to three). But he also shot just 2-for-9 from the floor, committed four fouls and did little with the game on the line late.