Mar 21, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Maryland Terrapins forward Jalen Smith (left) grabs a rebound against forward Bruno Fernando (middle) and Belmont Bruins guard Dylan Windler (3) during the second half in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at

(Photo Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)

March Madness: Maryland sneaks past Belmont 78-77, lead by Baltimore standouts

Both Mount St. Joe stars took shone big on the national stage on Thursday.

March 22, 2019 - 11:45 am

By: Kyle J. Andrews

It wasn’t an easy victory. Nonetheless the Maryland Terrapins will advance to the second round of the 2019 Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament after defeating the Belmont Bruins, 79-77.

After watching the Belmont dismantle Temple on Tuesday, the Terrapins had their work cut out for them. Maryland came into the game with a 5-5 record since the beginning of February — last losing to the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Big Ten Tournament.

Terps star point guard Anthony Cowan Jr. struggled from the floor, shooting just 3-for-18 from the floor with a paltry nine points. Luckily for him, others starters picked up the slack, starting with two players from Mount Saint Joseph High School.

Freshman forward Jalen Smith and sophomore guard Daryl Morsell lead the way respectively with 19 and 18 points of their own. At one point in the victory, a scramble for the ball recovered by the Terps allowed Morsell to dump off a clean pass to a trailing Smith — throwing it down over the head of a Belmont defender.

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After being down 40-34 at the end of the half, head coach Mark Turgeon put the ball in Morsell’s hands. With Cowan Jr. struggling on offense, Morsell was used often times as the lead ball-handler. That worked to Maryland’s advantage with many hockey-style assists coming from the hand of Morsell to Cowan Jr. to another player. The two paired for eight combined assists, to go along with forward Bruno Fernando’s four.

Fernando had a remarkable night in the stat sheet. The possible NBA lottery selection scored 14 points and grabbed 13 boards en route to the win.

Despite the victory, the Terps came dangerously close to letting one player dictate the entire game. Belmont’s Dylan Windler went off for a game-high 35 points and added 11 rebounds in his effort. Cowan and Morsell switched on and off of the guard to avail. In the end with just a few seconds left, his halfcourt heave missed the mark with Maryland coming away victorious.

The Terps will take on LSU on Saturday at 12:10 PM on CBS.

Follow Kyle on Twitter @KyleJAndrews_