BALTIMORE (AP) — Maryland coach Mark Turgeon is proud of the way his team has battled through injuries and successfully emerged from its nonconference schedule.
The key now is for the Terrapins to get fully healthy for the Big Ten.
Melo Trimble had 21 points and Maryland extended its winning streak to five games with an 88-72 victory over Charlotte on Tuesday night.
Anthony Cowan scored 16 for the Terrapins, who made 10 3-pointers in the second half after going 1 for 9 before the break. Michal Cekovsky and Kevin Huerter had 10 points apiece for Maryland (12-1).
The Terrapins were playing without senior forward Damonte Dodd (knee) and redshirt sophomore guard Dion Wiley (left wrist sprain), forcing Turgeon to start three freshmen.
“We weren’t very good early in the game,” Turgeon said. “I thought we got a little bit better as the game went on. I thought we played an excellent second half. It’s hard this time of year coming off finals. I am really proud of the team to be 12-1, playing as many young guys. We’ve had one game all year where we’ve had the whole team healthy.”
Jon Davis led Charlotte (6-5) with 28 points, tying his career high, while Andrien White scored 17. Benas Griciunas finished with 12 points for the 49ers, who were just 4 of 14 from beyond the arc.
Maryland trailed by as many as 10 points in the first half before eventually cutting Charlotte’s lead to 37-36 on an over-the-head putback by Cekovsky at the halftime buzzer. That was the spark that the Terrapins needed after committing 13 turnovers in the opening half.
Huerter made two quick layups, Cekovsky had a dunk and Maryland had a 42-39 lead in the opening minutes of the second half.
“Basketball in itself is a game of runs,” Davis said. “We have to come out in the second half with that same fire. And when (teams) do go on those types of runs, and it’s going to happen, we have to retaliate better.”
Maryland stayed in sync and took advantage of some poor shooting by the 49ers. Huerter made a pair of 3-pointers, Jaylen Brantley added another, and the Terrapins had a 56-49 lead midway through the half.
“We felt good going in halftime, but give Maryland credit, they played a terrific second half,” Charlotte coach Mark Price said. “They started making their 3s in the second half. They’re a very good basketball team. I was proud of the way our guys battled all night long. It was a good challenge for us.”
Maryland then pulled away as it continued to stay hot from the field. Brantley and Trimble hit two more 3-pointers that extended the margin to 83-64 with just under four minutes left.
“We’ve been through this all year, having to dig down,” Trimble said. “Once we went to halftime, Coach Turgeon gave us an earful and we responded the right way.”
Ivan Bender also finished with 10 points for the Terrapins.
Maryland improved to 11-2 all-time in games played in Baltimore, which is key recruiting area for coach Mark Turgeon.
THE BIG PICTURE
Charlotte: The 49ers put together a tough out-of-conference schedule with road games against Maryland, Florida and Wake Forest and should be battle-tested for league play.
Maryland: The Terrapins finished their out-of-conference schedule 12-1 with their only loss coming against Pittsburgh in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. If some of the younger players continue to contribute, Maryland should be able stay in the top tier of the league.
TRIMBLE LEADS THE WAY
Trimble has now scored 20 or more points in seven games this season. After being held to just four points in the opening half against Charlotte, Trimble took over the game and went 5 of 7 from the field, including three 3-pointers.
Charlotte: The 49ers open Conference USA play against visiting North Texas on Dec. 31.
Maryland: The Terrapins host Illinois in the Big Ten opener on Dec. 27.
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