Maryland men’s basketball coach Mark Turgeon pled with the media to give Minnesota credit after his team’s 14-point home loss on Wednesday night. The Golden Gophers scored 89 points — the most the Terps have allowed this season — behind a 55-point second half. They forced Turgeon’s group to shoot 7 of 27 from three.
“I’m going to brag on Minnesota,” Turgeon said after the game. “They were terrific. We couldn’t guard them.”
He closed his press conference with, “We’ll be ready to go Saturday.”
But the Terps’ issues persisted in Saturday’s 83-69 home loss to Iowa. Maryland struggled to guard inside and on the perimeter while its offense settled for 3-pointers that often clanged off the rim, giving Iowa transition opportunities.
The Terps have now lost three straight for the first time since 2012, Turgeon’s first season with the program.
“I don’t want to come in here and brag about Iowa like I did for Minnesota — they were terrific — but we had a lot to do with it,” Turgeon said. “We’re just not playing well. We’re not playing with any confidence.”
When Iowa forward Tyler Cook (21 points and 10 rebounds) wasn’t dominating, guard Jordan Bohannon torched the Terps from beyond the arc. The freshman hit eight of his 10 three-pointers and finished with a game-high 24 points. The Hawkeyes finished 16-for-26 (62 percent) from deep and grabbed 15 offensive rebounds, leading to 30 second-chance points compared to Maryland’s six.
Facing a zone defense, the Terps shot 45 percent from the field but hoisted 34 three-point shots — their second-highest total this season — and made just 32 percent of them. Guard Melo Trimble converted on one of his nine long-range tries and finished 10 points, well below his scoring performances against Wisconsin and Northwestern that earned him Big Ten Player of the Week. Guards Kevin Huerter (13 points) and Anthony Cowan (11 points) were the other Terps to score in double figures.
Losers of five of their past seven, the Terps enter their final two regular season games tied for third in the Big Ten standings. They’re in danger of not receiving a double bye in the conference tournament, given to the league’s top four seeds.
This comes less than a week after Maryland traveled to Wisconsin with Big Ten’s top spot on the line.
“We’re still a really good team,” said forward Damonte Dodd, who scored six points in 17 minutes before fouling out. “We just lost a couple — well more than a couple — but we’re still playing for a lot and remaining positive.”
The 17,615 fans at Xfinity Center enjoyed a torrid pace at the start, with the teams combining to score 45 points by the under-12 media timeout. But once the Terps’ offensive production slowed, Iowa capitalized. Behind Cook and Bohannon’s charge, the Hawkeyes (22-7, 10-6 Big Ten) opened a 10-point cushion with about a minute left in the first half.
Maryland entered the break down, 47-40, after Trimble’s free throw and guard Jaylen Brantley’s layup off a steal. On Iowa’s final possession, the Terps hounded the Big Ten’s leading scorer, guard Peter Jok, who couldn’t attempt a shot before the buzzer. The stretch ignited fans clad in red and white, and perhaps gave Maryland confidence despite a shaky defensive start.
The Terps pulled within six in the opening moments after intermission and had chances to cut into the deficit. But after Maryland missed its next five shots, Bohannon nailed another trey and assisted on a layup to put the Hawkeyes up 11 with about 16 minutes to play. The Terps didn’t come within single digits again.
“I would say we’re kind of content with things — that might not be the best word — but I don’t think we’re angry,” Huerter said. “We didn’t think we played that bad.”
At the under-8 timeout, fans began filing out of Xfinity Center with their team trailing, 71-56. Patches of students remained on the wall during Maryland’s 5-0 spurt to make it a 15-point game with about two minutes left.
But Iowa responded with their 16th three-pointer to cap the Terps’ fifth home loss of the season.
“We had just been so tough,” Turgeon said, referring to the team’s 22-4 start. “And for some reason in the last few games we haven’t been. So, hopefully, between now and Tuesday we become a tough team. We figure out that when the going gets tough, you have to be confident and play through it.”
CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, a previous version of the story said it was a sold-out Xfinity Center crowd. It was not a sell out. The story has been updated to reflect this correction.