Not getting the ball on the rim is bad, but it’s something Maryland fans unfortunately saw at last year’s Big Ten tournament with a botched inbounds pass in a first-round loss to Wisconsin.
The play Maryland ran Thursday was similar to last year’s Big Ten road opener at Illinois, when Kevin Huerter’s 3-point shot bounced off and Bruno Fernando tipped it in to force overtime.
In that case, Cowan’s overtime heroics led to a road win.
Assuming that option No. 1 or No. 2 was to get the ball inside to Fernando, you have to assume that the 6-foot-10-inch sophomore center was bottled up much as he was for most of the game, especially in the second half.
Last year, Maryland was lucky to win in Champaign.
In that case, Turgeon put in little-used redshirt senior forward Ivan Bender and four freshmen in a game the Terps trailed the No. 4 Cavaliers by one. They were outscored 4-0 in a game Maryland lost by five.
3. Cowan can’t do it by himself — and shouldn’t try.
There were times Thursday night when Cowan tried to do too much, reminiscent of several games last season when he didn’t trust his teammates or get them involved as much as he should.
While this season is much different in the fact that Cowan doesn’t have a player like Huerter to share the role as the go-to guy, his mindset is much like it was a year ago.
Much of that has to do with Maryland’s youth, but the difference this season is that Cowan has better options with Fernando and Jalen Smith inside than he did a year ago.