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What We Learned: Maryland Terrapins 79, Butler Bulldogs 65

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What we can take away from Maryland’s victory over Butler on Wednesday.

Xavier v Maryland Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Maryland had taken care of business in the first two games this year against lesser competition, but Wednesday night featured a true test when Butler came to College Park as part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games. Let’s just say the Terps passed this first test.

Maryland used a double-double and some clutch shooting from sophomore guard Anthony Cowan to pick up an impressive 79-65 victory over Butler on Wednesday night. The Terps never trailed after the 9:13 mark of the first half to pick up their third straight double-digit victory this year.

It’s still very early on the season but there is certainly some things we can take away from this big win. Let’s take a look a few notable takeaways from Wednesday night.

What We Learned

1. Maryland will be factor in Big Ten, again.

We don’t really know how good Butler is this year — or at least not yet — but history suggests this will go down as a good win for the Terps.

With this win Maryland is 3-0 on the young season and based on the remaining non-conference schedule they should be no worse than 11-2 outside of league play. More importantly, this win shows Maryland is yet again going to be very tough to beat this year. Based on this victory we should expect the Terps to contend in this league.

It’s still too early to say Maryland is the favorite in the Big Ten but a convincing win like this is something to get excited about. Maybe Butler ends up having a bad year and right now I’m overvaluing this victory, but at this point I’m excited about this win and what’s ahead for Maryland.

2. Cowan is new go-to scorer.

With Melo Trimble gone we knew that someone would have to step up as the new go-to scorer for the Terps. It appears Cowan is that guy.

Cowan led the way on Wednesday night with a team-high 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists across 37 minutes on the floor. He was 5-for-8 from the field with three made shots from behind the arc, but he did most of his damage at the free throw line with a 12-for-15 performance.

“Man, was he good tonight,” head coach Mark Turgeon said via The Baltimore Sun. “Twenty-five points, 10 rebounds, five assists, one turnover, guarded like crazy. He didn’t look tired to me. He was a one-man press offense out there when they pressed us. I think he’s really getting a feel for it, how to run the team.”

Cowan has led the Terps in scoring in all three games this year and is currently averaging 18.7 points per game. Odds are he won’t be able to keep it up at this pace all year long, but he has at least proven he can be a scoring weapon for Maryland this year.

3. Terps’ Turnover Troubles .

Maryland has won each game by double digits this year but that doesn’t mean they have been perfect in every night. One glaring issue is turnovers. That was the case in the first two games of the season, and it was even worse on Wednesday night. Below are the turnover totals from the first three games.

  • 15 turnovers against Stony Brook
  • 12 turnovers against Maryland-East Shore
  • 20 turnovers against Butler

So if you do the math you’ll see that the Terps have committed 47 turnovers so far this year. That comes out to just under 16 per game. Maryland has been able to get by these three teams despite the abundance of turnovers but something must change moving forward, especially when we hit conference play.

Overall

The good definitely tops the bad so far this season for Maryland. This was a nice win over a team that regularly contends for a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Butler may not be as good as they’ve been in the past, but winning these types of games is a good sign for this young Maryland team.

There is still room for improvement — especially in the turnovers category — but I’m excited about where this team can go from here. Plus, if Cowan continues to improve across the season then he could end up being an All-Big Ten performer.