COLLEGE PARK — There are games when the final box score is a bit deceiving.
The box from Maryland’s 91-73 win over Iowa on Sunday night at Xfinity Center was quite revealing.
The Terps had six players in double figures for only the second time this season. But unlike the last time, in a 75-50 win over Fairleigh Dickinson last month, it was more than just a balanced effort. It included a dominant performance by Maryland’s big men.
Center Bruno Fernando had a career-high 21 points, which wasn’t surprising given the physical and athletic advantage the 6-foot-10 Angolan had over his counterpart, fellow freshman Luke Garza.
On a night when the Terps shot just 4-for-17 on 3-point shots, Maryland was very efficient finishing at the rim. The team’s three big men — Fernando, senior Michal Cekovsky and redshirt freshman Joshua Tomaic — were a combined 16-for-19 from the field.
Sophomore point guard Anthony Cowan Jr. finished with 15 points and tied his career high with seven assists, but the most impressive stat was zero turnovers. It marked the sixth time in his career that Cowan didn’t turn the ball over, but only the second time this season.
Here are some observations and opinions from Maryland’s 91-73 win over Iowa.
Maryland men's basketball coach Mark Turgeon talks about his team's Sunday night victory over Iowa at the Xfinity Center in College Park, Md. (Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun video)
Anthony Cowan’s defense is often overlooked
Because he’s become a pretty reliable and at times dynamic scorer this season, the defense played by the 6-foot Cowan does not get the same kind of attention or credit as his offense.
A year after his Iowa counterpart, sophomore point guard Jordan Bohannon, came into Xfinity Center and hit his first eight 3-point shots in Iowa’s 14-point win, Cowan did a much better job Sunday.
Though Bohannon finished with 17 points on 5-for-13 shooting, including 5-for-10 on 3-pointers, he made only two shots after halftime and Cowan ran him off the 3-point line on a few occasions.
In general, the Terps did a much better job following the game plan defensively than they did in the 30-point blowout loss to No. 1 Michigan State on Thursday night at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, though it was a much easier game plan to execute.
Not only did Maryland do a better job on Bohannon than it did a year ago, the Terps also shut down sophomore forward Tyler Cook and got him into foul trouble.
A year after recording his first double double with 21 points and 10 rebounds in an 83-69 win, Cook had just seven points and one rebound in 27 minutes.
Cook picked up his fourth personal on a charging call drawn by Fernando and his fifth when he got in Tomaic’s face and was called for a technical.
The redshirt junior guard, who came to Maryland three years ago with Melo Trimble, Jared Nickens and Cekovsky, had one of the best halves of his career.
Wiley hit his first three shots, including a pair of 3-point shots, and finished the half with 10 points on 4-for-5 from the field. It was reminiscent of a nine-point half Wiley had as a freshman against Virginia.
But as often has happened during Wiley’s injury-filled career — he missed his sophomore year two years ago with a torn meniscus and stretches of his last season with back problems — Wiley's big night ended early.
Only 11 seconds after he came in when freshman Darryl Morsell (Mount Saint Joseph) picked up his third personal early in the second half, Wiley was poked in the eye and was done for the night.
Perhaps the player who has benefited the most from redshirt junior Ivan Bender’s season-ending torn meniscus is Tomaic, who sat out as a freshman last season and didn’t get much playing time until Bender and sophomore forward Justin Jackson (torn meniscus) went down.
Though Tomaic is clearly still adjusting to playing at the college level, the 6-9, 220-pound forward from the Canary Islands seems to be a quick learner.
That shouldn’t be surprising for a player who speaks four languages and, despite English being the fourth language he learned growing up, made honor roll last spring.