Maryland men’s basketball’s last two losses each were decided by one possession. Jahmir Young had a chance to tie or win both games with the ball in his hands during crucial late possessions for the Terps.
After failing to convert on those opportunities against Northwestern and Michigan State, Young took advantage on Wednesday night against Iowa.
In the Terps’ final possession of the game, Iowa didn’t send a help defender to guard Young coming off of a ball screen. He made the Hawkeyes pay.
Young blew by his defender and laid the ball in with his left hand to win the game for Maryland. Young scored 17 of his game-high 22 points in the second half and eight points in the final 90 seconds, lifting Maryland to a 69-67 win over Iowa.
The fifth-year guard scored just one basket in the first half and didn’t look like the same player that had been carrying Maryland’s offense for much of the season, shooting 1-for-6 from the field as the Terps struggled to score. His slow start was long forgotten by the end of the night, as his late outburst fueled a crucial win.
The Terps (12-8, 4-5 Big Ten) had five one-possession losses on the season and hadn’t won a single-score contest prior to the win against Iowa on Wednesday night.
Young had help from forwards Julian Reese and Donta Scott, who scored 17 and 14 points respectively for Maryland in the Terps’ victory.
“[Young] struggled last game and he was a little upset about that, and he struggled in the first half,” coach Kevin Willard said. “And I’m like, Jahmir, come on babe, it’s gonna click, just keep playing.”
Maryland’s offense was stagnant out the gate — an important issue Willard said he needs to work on fixing — as it took the Terps more than five minutes to make their second basket of the game.
The score remained close early on despite the slow start for Maryland, but Iowa steadily built its advantage and captured its first double-digit lead of the game with about six minutes left in the first half.
Before the lead could get out of hand, Young made his first and only shot of the half, an open triple from the corner.
It was one of four first-half threes for the Terps, who attempted seven in the opening 20 minutes. Iowa, who outplayed Maryland in almost every other facet in the first half, went 0-for-7 from beyond the arc and led the Terps by six points at halftime.
Scott led the Terps with seven points while Iowa freshman Owen Freeman led all scorers with 10 points on 5-for-6 shooting.
The Terps also saw early contributions from Reese and guard Jahari Long, who each had six points at halftime. Long’s came from two three-pointers, one game after he sank three shots from beyond the arc against Michigan State.
The Terps trailed despite uncharacteristically leading the three-point battle due to being outplayed near the basket. The Hawkeyes found success inside and scored 28 of their first-half points in the paint while Maryland scored just 14 points in the paint in the opening half. The Terps also continued to struggle with turnovers, giving the ball away nine times in the first half.
But Iowa’s offense went cold after the break, starting the second half shooting 4-for-14. It allowed Maryland, which started 7-for-11, to grab its first lead since going ahead 3-2 early in the first half.
The Hawkeyes ended up shooting just 33.3 percent in the second half, as Maryland held the Big Ten’s highest-scoring team to nearly 20 points under their average score.
A Reese basket gave Maryland a 46-45 lead with about 12 minutes remaining, and several lead changes followed in the next few minutes.
With less than six minutes to go, though, a jumper from Iowa guard Payton Sandfort expanded the Hawkeye lead to seven points, an advantage they’d hold onto for several minutes.
But with less than a minute and a half to go, Young hit the first of two big late-game threes to put Maryland ahead by one. With just over 30 seconds left in regulation, Young came off a screen and nailed another triple to put the Terps up 67-65.
“Shotclock’s going down, coach wants the ball in my hands,” Young said. “I see they didn’t pick me up off the ball screen [and] I’m pretty good pulling up going right, I work on that shot so many times, so it’s just second nature.”
The Terps had a defensive blunder on the next possession, fouling the Hawkeyes’ Tony Perkins, who made two free throws to tie the game and give Maryland the ball for one last possession.
Then, Young laid in the game-winner.
The win snapped a two-game losing streak for Maryland. The Terps, who seemingly need nothing short of a miracle to hear their name called during Selection Sunday in March, earned their second quad one victory of the season.