Maryland men’s basketball remains winless in true road games with 67-49 loss at Iowa

Coach Mark Turgeon during Maryland men's basketball's 59-58 win over Illinois on Dec. 7, 2019. (Cam Andrews/The Diamondback)

Coach Mark Turgeon put his hands on his hips and turned away from the court, where Joe Wieskamp had just drained another three, this one as time expired on a first half that had gone sideways fast.

There was a point early on where No. 12 Maryland men’s basketball looked in control against an injury-riddled Iowa squad. Despite another slow start — a trademark for the Terps — guard Anthony Cowan went to the line ready to shoot five free throws after Hawkeyes coach Fran McCaffery earned a technical foul for voicing his opinion of a foul called on Cowan’s three-point attempt moments earlier.

It seemed those five shots from the charity stripe, in part courtesy of McCaffery’s fury, would help further separate the two sides. In a way, it did — only, it was Iowa who received the boost.

Led by Wieskamp and forward Luka Garza, the Hawkeyes embarked on a torrent first-half run to establish a 14-point lead at the break. And that advantage held Maryland off in the final 20 minutes, leaving Turgeon’s team without a win in a true road game this season in the 67-49 defeat at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“We were bad. We stunk,” Turgeon said. “And I’ve been doing this a long time, and that ranks up there as one of the worst one of my teams have ever played.”

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Until McCaffery’s technical, Wieskamp hadn’t scored. But with a personal 5-0 run midway through the period, the sophomore guard leveled the contest and set up the early makings of a 14-0 run, in which he scored nine points.

And even as the Terps (13-3, 3-2 Big Ten) found their way to the free-throw line, they struggled to make the most of it. They shot 8-for-16 in the opening frame, with Cowan making just three of his seven attempts. Maryland hit 30 percent of its field goals and two triples, watching as Iowa (11-5, 2-3) sank from long distance time and again.

“I think we let our offense affect our defense a little bit,” Cowan said. “On the road, that can’t happen.”

It was Wieskamp’s final make of the first half — coming off an off-ball screen and draining his fourth trey of the period — that secured the Terps’ fourth-most first-half points allowed. Among those other three games — Holy Cross, Illinois and Penn State — Turgeon’s squad came back to beat the Fighting Illini and Crusaders.

And in Maryland’s other two true road tests against the Nittany Lions and Seton Hall, the Terps also trailed at the break. They wouldn’t come back in either of those matchups.

“I wish I had the exact answer. It’s 100 percent on us,” Cowan said. “We just gotta be better on the road.”

With guards Aaron Wiggins and Eric Ayala combining to shoot 0-for-10 with seven turnovers, the Terps were without their usual supplementary offensive weapons to attempt to dig into a sizeable halftime deficit. Cowan finished with nine points, and forward Jalen Smith with 13. But Wieskamp and Garza compiled 47 points between them, maintaining Iowa’s lead.

When Maryland made a run — cutting the score to 44-34 following a triple from Cowan and dunk from Smith — a bad pass from Cowan led to Bakari Evelyn’s 3-pointer, ensuring the Hawkeyes’ advantage wouldn’t dip back into single digits.

[Read more: From Eppley to Xfinity: Will Clark’s roundabout journey to Maryland basketball]

And as the Terps went on another four-plus minute scoring drought, Cowan tried to find an open man in the corner. Instead, his jump pass led to a turnover, and Wieskamp hit one of his five threes on the ensuing possession to push the advantage to 21 points.

As the time ticked down at the Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Maryland floundered for chances to get back into the contest, dooming the squad to its lowest scoring output in a Big Ten matchup.

“It was pretty much our defense,” Smith said. “We just let up, and once they got hot, they didn’t cool down.”

With under four minutes to play, a long miss from Garza bounced high into the air. Four Terps were around the ball, including the 6-foot-10 Smith. Instead, it was Wieskamp who managed to corral the board, and as he went up to the rim despite a gaggle of black jersey’s around him, he finished through contact and converted the and-1.

Wieskamp’s teammates came over to high-five him, putting the finishing touches on a career-high 26-point performance. So despite Iowa having eight scholarship players available due to a bevy of injuries, Wieskamp and Garza combined to upset the Terps, leaving Turgeon’s team winless in true road contests this season.

“I’ve had good road teams … since I’ve been here,” Turgeon said. “For some reason, this one hadn’t figured it out yet.”

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