COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Fairleigh Dickinson was hanging with Big Ten power Maryland, giving the Terrapins all they could handle in a one-point game.
And then this happened:
“We didn’t score for, it seemed like the holidays,” lamented Fairleigh Dickinson coach Greg Herenda.
Maryland rattled off 24 consecutive first-half points to turn a close game into a blowout, and the short-handed Terrapins got 12 points and 15 rebounds from Kevin Huerter in a 75-50 victory Thursday night.
After letting an eight-point lead dwindle to 20-19, Maryland (11-3) kept the Knights scoreless for more than eight minutes.
“We executed and we made shots,” Terps coach Mark Turgeon said. “We were good in the zone, we were good in man, we were good in everything. Obviously, that was the difference in the game.”
Bruno Fernando led the charge with seven points, and Huerter and Anthony Cowan scored six apiece.
Fairleigh Dickinson (3-8) went 0 for 10 from the floor with four turnovers during the dry spell and trailed 46-23 at halftime.
“We had a lot of shots that normally we make,” Herenda said. “Give the credit to Maryland. They sped us up. Once they settled in, they just made it really hard for us.”
Huerter made all four of his shots in the first half, helping Maryland go 15 for 21 (71 percent).
“From then on, we didn’t concentrate quite as well,” Turgeon said. “I thought we lost a little bit of interest in the second half.”
The Terrapins were without three players who had a combined 27 starts this season: Justin Jackson (shoulder soreness), Michal Cekovsky (ankle soreness) and Dion Wiley (illness). It was the third straight game that Jackson sat out.
Maryland did, however, get back Fernando, a 6-foot-10 freshman who missed the previous two games with a sprained ankle. Fernando had 11 points and eight rebounds in 23 minutes.
Darryl Morsell and Cowan each contributed 13 points to help the Terps win their fifth straight.
Darian Anderson led the Knights with 17 points. Fairleigh Dickinson has lost six in a row and is 0-7 against Maryland in a series that began in 1980.
‘We’re not as bad as we were tonight,” Herenda said.
This one turned just after the midpoint of the first half, when Turgeon called a timeout after FDU used a 15-7 surge to get within a point.
Ivan Bender got the Terps started with a basket in the lane. Cowan made three free throws, Huerter and Jared Nickens nailed 3-pointers and Fernando added a field goal and two free throws for a 16-point cushion.
It was 44-19 before the Knights finally ended their scoring drought at 8 minutes, 13 seconds on a basket by Noah Morgan off an offensive rebound.
Maryland’s defense made the offense better.
“When you get stops, you get to run out on transition, you get open 3s, you get layups,” Nickens said. “It all started on the defensive end.”
Fairleigh Dickinson: Two years removed from winning the Northeast Conference, the Knights are rebuilding with a starting lineup that has two freshmen and only one senior. Herenda can only hope the young unit jells when conference play starts next month.
“We were doing the things we need to do in our conference to win,” the coach said.
Maryland: Though the result was never in doubt, the Terrapins showed their mettle by winning comfortably without three key players. Turgeon had the opportunity to go deep on his bench, and he was rewarded with an impressive display of teamwork: Six players scored in double figures and Maryland shot 48 percent from the floor.
Fairleigh Dickinson: At LIU-Brooklyn on Dec. 29.
Maryland: Faces Maryland-Baltimore County on Dec. 29 to end a run of five straight non-conference home games.