COLLEGE PARK — Maryland’s 53-point victory Sunday night over UMES at Xfinity Center was the largest in Mark Turgeon’s seven seasons and the biggest for the Terps since a 106-52 win over Longwood during the 2010-2011 season.
That February win gave future Hall of Fame coach Gary Williams No. 665 for his career, one more than legendary UCLA coach John Wooden. It pushed the Terps to 16-8 for the season, the last of the 22 years Williams coached at his alma mater.
Here are three quick thoughts about the win over UMES:
1. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of what the Terps did in their season opener came from their bench, which outscored the Hawks’ reserves 52-0.
The performance of guards Dion Wiley and Darryl Morsell (Mount Saint Joseph), as well as wing Jared Nickens, showed the kind of competition there is for backup minutes behind sophomores Anthony Cowan Jr., Kevin Huerter and Justin Jackson.
With their playing time cut last year by the arrival of Huerter and Jackson, Wiley and Nickens could see Morsell chopping into their minutes even more this year.
Wiley, who hit his first two 3-point attempts and finished with 13 points Sunday, has played well in both games this season.
Nickens, who was on the court for five minutes against Stony Brook, scored 15 points in 18 minutes and didn’t miss a shot, including four 3’s.
Morsell, who had four points and three turnovers in the opener, finished with 11 points and five rebounds in 20 minutes and had as many assists as turnovers (three).
2. After a lot of hype the past few months, freshman center Bruno Fernando has started his career like most talented big men.
There have been some flashes of promise — or even more — but he seems to be trying too hard.
It’s interesting that Fernando’s first two games are very similar statistically to the first two by Diamond Stone two years ago. They each followed a 10-point debut with a less impressive offensive performance in their next game.
The biggest difference is the motor and emotion with which Fernando plays than what Stone showed in his one season at Maryland. Though he hasn’t finished efficiently around the rim, it’s not for a lack of trying.
It was also hard to read Stone, who liked to play with a blank expression and tried to look mean. Fernando is anything but, and his energy and effervescence will be contagious with his teammates and with Maryland fans.
While nobody is expecting Fernando to break Stone’s freshman record of 39 points scored in his first Big Ten game against Penn State, it’s probably not a stretch to say that Fernando will play just as big a role on this year’s team as Stone did on that Sweet 16 team two years ago.
3. Cowan’s terrific start is not a surprise, given what he did as a freshman.
Cowan also showed promise in some performances over the summer at the Under Armour All-American camp and in the Kenner League at Georgetown.
What’s been impressive is the way Cowan, who seemed to be constantly on overdrive last season, has slowed down his tempo while being able to play with more of a change of pace. Still, Cowan needs to hit his 3-point shots with some consistency to remain effective.
After two games, Cowan is 0-for-5 from long range after shooting a little over 31 percent as a freshmen. To his credit, Cowan has done just about everything else, including grabbing 15 rebounds the first two games and going to the free-throw line 14 times, hitting 13.
There’s a lot of pressure on Cowan with Melo Trimble gone, and he seems to be handling the added responsibility well, knowing that Huerter and Jackson are there to share the leadership role and that Morsell will take some of the ballhandling load.