“I had a feeling our guys were going to step up, knowing it was a championship game,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said after Anthony Cowan Jr. scored 22 points in the Terps’ 84-63 victory over Marquette. “I know my guys, and I knew they were going to step up.”
By Harry Allison
Cowan captured tournament MVP honors with 72 points in three games, including a career-best 30 against Temple on Thanksgiving. Daryl Morsell had 17 points and 10 rebounds, while guarding the 5-foot-11 Markus Howard.
Maryland (8-0) is off to its best start since the 2006-07 season, and Turgeon finally got the complete performance he’s been looking for from his team, which overcame slow starts to beat Temple and Harvard in the first two rounds.
Aaron Wiggins scored 15 points and often wound up guarding Howard when Morsell wasn’t on the high-scoring guard.
“Our number one thing is to be selfless. And you can talk about it, but you’ve got to live it,” Turegeon said. “I thought the last 65 minutes down here, we lived it. We’re getting close to being the team I thought we would be. Sometimes it takes a tournament like that to get us there.”
Brendan Bailey led Marquette (5-2) with a career-high 27 points, including seven 3-pointers. Sacar Anim added 21.
“They did three things better than anybody we’ve played to this point,” Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “They’re the fastest team we’ve played in transition. They’re the best offensive rebounding team we’ve played. And then, obviously, they were fully committed to taking Markus out of the game. None of those things were a surprise.”
With mostly young players around Howard, the Golden Eagles coach said, the team did not react well to what Maryland did to try to limit Marquette’s star.
“Markus has pretty much seen every type of defense,” Wojciechowski said. “But our group, because it’s a new group, hasn’t necessarily seen that.”