May 20, 2018

Maryland’s snakebitten season continues as Bruno Fernando is injured in loss at Indiana

Maryland sophomore forward Kevin Huerter attempts a shot against Indiana on January 22, 2018. Courtesy of Maryland athletics.

After losing starting small forward Justin Jackson and key frontcourt reserve Ivan Bender to season-ending injuries, and stuck in the pack of a down Big Ten with a bland resume lacking a signature win, Maryland basketball took another wretched spiral down its snakebitten season Monday night at Indiana.

Freshman forward Bruno Fernando stumbled to the Assembly Hall floor in the early stages of the second half, clutching his right ankle in pain as Maryland saw an already depleted frontcourt thin some more.

Fernando exited the contest, a 71-68 loss, and suffered a right ankle sprain, which will sideline him for the foreseeable future. Now, Maryland (15-7, 4-5), which lost its fourth straight conference road game, is back to eight healthy scholarship players. And that includes little-used grad transfer from Duke, Sean Obi, who’s appeared in just 14 of 22 games, averaging 6.1 minutes per contest. 

According to ESPN’s Sean Walder, Maryland’s chances of making the NCAA Tournament have no lessened from 79 percent to 57 percent. 

“It’s a tough year for us. We just have to keep battling,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “We’re getting better. We just weren’t good enough tonight offensively on our execution to win this game.”

Fernando led all Maryland big-men in points per game at 9.8, rebounds per game at 6.0, blocks per game at 1.5, and free throw percentage at 71.4 percent.

Maryland, now in sole possession of seventh in the conference — five games behind Ohio State — was led by Anthony Cowan, who scored a team-high 18 points (8 of 16 shooting), while adding five steals, four rebounds and four assists. The sophomore point guard played the entire 40 minutes and had a chance to tie the score with six seconds left but his shot bounced off the rim.

Sophomore wing Kevin Huerter had another well-rounded performance, netting 16 points (6 of 9 shooting), grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing five assists in 39 minutes. Senior guard Jared Nickens pitched in 12 points in 19 minutes off the bench on 4-for-7 shooting from deep. But Maryand received zero offensive contributions from its starting frontcourt in Joshua Tomaic and Michal Cekovsky, who combined to go 0-for-5 in a scoreless performance.

Fernando did finish with six points in which he made all three of his shots, but left the contest five minutes into the second half. 

Maryland shot 52 percent in the first half (14-for-27) and 50 percent from deep (5-for-10), and only trailed 32-29. But the Terrapins struggled down the stretch, making just 31 percent of its shots over the final 20 minutes (9-for-29), including a 4-for-13 mark from deep (31 percent). Maryland ended up shooting 41.1 percent overall, while Indiana shot 50 percent on the button. 

The Hoosiers took advantage of the razor-thin Maryland interior, holding a 40-22 advantage in points in the paint. But the Terrapins did win the rebound battle, 39-28. 

Maryland will now enter its toughest stretch of the regular season, hosting top-ranked Michigan State on Sunday at 1 p.m. before traveling to ranked Purdue, next Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. After that, games versus Wisconsin and Penn State await.

About Kyle McFadden 416 Articles
Kyle McFadden is a graduate from Linganore High School's Class of 2014, a sports junkie and general news-hound. He got his start as a sports writer in January 2014 for Linganore's student-run newspaper The Lance, where he wrote 13 articles. McFadden then launched his own blog in October 2014 called The Beltway Dispatch covering collegiate, local high school and professional sports. Formally known as The Beltway Dispatch, McFadden and Evan Engelhard merged respective platforms in June 2015 to make what is now Maryland Sports Access. With baseball, basketball and golf experience, McFadden brings ample knowledge to the helm of MSA. McFadden covers a wide variety of sports in football, baseball, basketball, golf, hockey, lacrosse, soccer and specializes in the collegiate and high school levels. McFadden volunteers his time at Damascus Road Community Church -- serving as a mentor to the youth, basketball coach at the varsity and junior varsity levels, and leads a small group of high school sophomores every Wednesday night. Although he's only been around journalism since January 2014, he's a high school sports reporter for The Baltimore Sun and freelancer for The Frederick News-Post. McFadden's work has also appeared in DMV newspapers The Aegis, The Capital Gazette, The Daily Times (Delmarva Now), The Hometown Observer, Howard County Times, Germantown Pulse and The Towson Times. He's also won two Mike Powell Excellence in Journalism awards and has appeared on The Best of SNO, which showcases top student work of high school and college journalists. McFadden currently studies at Frederick Community College and plans to transfer to the University of Maryland in the fall of 2018 to work on a bachelor's degree in journalism with aspirations to be a national college basketball writer.
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