3-point shots: Observations and opinions from Maryland's 80-78 victory over Bucknell

In coming back from a 15-point halftime deficit to beat Bucknell on Saturday night at Xfinity Center, Mark Turgeon put the three years he spent running plays for Melo Trimble further in the rearview mirror. The three sophomores who spent last season in Trimble’s shadow did the same.

As the Terps charged back to avoid their first loss of the 2017-18 season, Turgeon called plays for anyone on the court, including freshman center Bruno Fernando. And if he didn’t have any plays called for him, freshman guard Darryl Morsell made them anyway.


Fernando and Morsell (Mount Saint Joseph) shared most of the credit — especially Morsell, who scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half — but it took sophomore forward Justin Jackson waking up from his offensive slumber and sophomore guard Anthony Cowan Jr. to help put the Bison away with clutch free-throw shooting.

Here are three observations and opinions from Maryland’s 80-78 win:

1. As deep as the Terps appear to be, Turgeon should have a pretty clear idea about what his best lineup should look like at crunch time. For most of Maryland’s comeback, Turgeon had the lineup of his three sophomores and two freshmen on the court.

The only other players who found their way onto the floor during that time were redshirt juniors Dion Wiley and Ivan Bender. While Wiley hit a couple of big shots during the run, Bender was in there mostly to give Fernando a breather.

The other player who could enter this equation, especially when Big Ten play starts, is senior center Michal Cekovsky, who sat out most of Saturday’s game with what Turgeon said could be strep throat. Maryland still has yet to see what a lineup with Cekovsky and Fernando looks like in a close game.

2. As well as he’s playing on the defensive end and on the boards, Jackson needs to get out of his offensive slump. The 6-7 Canadian showed signs of doing that late in the second half, when he hit his first 3-pointer of the season after missing his first nine and less than a minute later when he followed in his own miss with strong putback.

Jackson is the only Maryland player who is considered a strong candidate to leave for the NBA after this season, though Fernando could be added to the list if his game continues to explode. Jackson is almost the opposite of some of the players on the 2015-16 team who wanted to show NBA scouts they could play at the next level.

It seems as if Jackson is trying not to mess up his draft status as a player mentioned prominently as a potential high first-round pick and with every miss he becomes a little more tentative. The 3-pointers will fall, but Jackson could do himself a favor by continuing to drive to the basket to draw fouls.

3. It’s obvious Kevin Huerter has worked on his floor game. Now about those turnovers …One of the deficiencies in Huerter’s game as a freshman was his inability to get to the basket and force contact, as evidenced by shooting just 28 free throws as a freshman.

Huerter scored a season-high 16 points Saturday on 6-for-11 shooting, and just two were 3-pointers. He also got to the foul line five times, making three. He scored on a nice variety of drives and floaters, with both the left and right hand.

Though he still needs to get stronger in order to take full advantage of his versatile offensive game, Huerter also has to try to cut down on his turnovers. One of the most reliable ballhandlers and decision-makers on the Terps, Huerter had five turnovers for the second straight game.

In some ways, Huerter has a little Steve Blake in his game, in the fact that he sometimes makes the hard passes look easy and the easy passes look hard. Huerter’s no-look passes have led to several dunks by Fernando and Cekovsky this season, but on any level, there’s a problem when teammates are not looking for them.