COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Jalen Smith had 16 points and 11 rebounds, Darryl Morsell scored 15 and No. 7 Maryland launched a season of high hopes by defeating Holy Cross 95-71 Tuesday night.
Taking full advantage of their height and depth, the Terrapins placed four players in double figures, finished with a 47-33 rebounding advantage and scored 64 points in the paint.
Despite trailing early, Maryland forged ahead by 12 at halftime and won its 43rd consecutive home opener.
Freshman guard Drew Lowder scored 24 for Holy Cross, playing its first game under coach Brett Nelson. The Crusaders took only five foul shots compared to 24 for Maryland.
Holy Cross trailed by just seven before Maryland went on a 16-4 run that made it 68-49. Smith and Eric Ayala each had six points in the surge, and Anthony Cowan Jr. contributed a pair of free throws and a breakaway layup.
The Terrapins returned seven players from a team that went to the Sweet 16 last season and have added a pair of 6-foot-10 twins to the mix. This team has a chance to be coach Mark Turgeon’s best during his nine-year tenure at Maryland, but the Terps will have to prove it on the court.
Perhaps the clearest glimpse of this squad’s potential came in the final seconds of the first half. After Smith blocked a layup, Cowan got hold of the loose ball and raced up court. He drove the lane and flipped the ball to Morsell, who capped the sequence with a powerful dunk.
Nine players scored for Maryland during a first half in which the Terrapins started slow but finished with a flourish.
Holy Cross was ahead 22-21 before the Terrapins used an 8-0 run to take the lead for good.
It was 35-28 before a layup by Smith and a 3-pointer by Serrel Smith Jr. upped the margin to double figures.
Maryland is 6-0 against Holy Cross in a series that began in 1971. The teams last met in 2008.
Holy Cross: The Crusaders look as though they will benefit from working under Nelson, who spent the previous five years on the staff at Marquette. Holy Cross ran its offense well and hustled back on defense, qualities that should be helpful when conference play begins in the Patriot League.
Maryland: The Terrapins got off to a solid start by using their height, but the outside game needs work. Maryland was 5 for 27 from beyond the arc, missing 11 of 13 in the first half.
Holy Cross stays on the road, facing New Hampshire on Saturday before playing three straight at home.
Maryland hosts Rhode Island on Saturday night, the second of five straight home games to open the season. The Rams were 18-15 last season, 9-9 in the Atlantic 10.
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