Done in by three-pointers, Maryland loses its third straight game
Terps honor winning past, then drop third straight
Boos reverberated through Xfinity Center with a little more than five minutes remaining in Maryland’s 83-69 loss to Iowa on Saturday night. The jeers were not for the visiting Hawkeyes or the officials. Rather, they were for the wounded Terrapins, who had just surrendered yet another offensive rebound putback and watched their deficit balloon to 21 points.
Maryland Coach Mark Turgeon had taken off his suit coat by then, and he promptly called for a timeout as a once-festive crowd began to head for the exits. Those fans had come to watch the program honor its 2002 national championship and 2001 Final Four teams, which Turgeon had hoped would help snap his team out of its
Instead, No. 24 Maryland (22-7, 10-6 Big Ten) lost a third straight game, the first time it has done so since Turgeon’s first season in College Park, and it looked listless. Just eight days ago, Maryland was a win away from a share of first place in the Big Ten and had the brash confidence that comes with winning.
“Three games, eight days later, we don’t,” Turgeon said. “We need to get that back. It’s up to me to figure out how to do it.”
Turgeon shouldered the blame, beating himself up afterward as he tried to answer questions. He wondered aloud: Where did this team’s confidence wander off to? And what happened to the toughness that Turgeon trumpeted through the first three months of the season?
There were no immediate answers against a hot-shooting Iowa team that hit 16 of 26 three-point attempts, eight of which came from guard Jordan Bohannon (24 points). Maryland may have been able to weather that onslaught had its transition defense not gone slack. Iowa forward Tyler Cook took advantage, finishing with 21 points. The Hawkeyes (16-13, 8-8) turned 15 offensive rebounds into a 30-6 advantage in secondchance points.
Turgeon and his players were also left to wonder what happened to their offense, which was thrown out of sorts all evening by Iowa’s 2-3 zone. Junior Melo Trimble, who finished with just 10 points on 4-for-13 shooting, couldn’t pull his team out of the doldrums as a sevenpoint halftime deficit grew to double digits in the second half. Maryland made just 11 of 34 three-point shots and struggled to manufacture scoring in the lane, finishing with 28 points in the paint and going just 6 for 9 from the free throw line.
“It seemed like we missed a lot of open ones today and they made all of their open ones. Sometimes it just comes down to that,” said freshman guard Kevin Huerter, who had a team-high 13 points. The defensive struggles were a continuation of Wednesday night’s 89-75 loss to Minnesota, in which Maryland allowed 55 second-half points. But while in that postgame news conference Turgeon told reporters to give credit to the Gophers’ streaky shooting, he didn’t credit Iowa’s Saturday night. He also refused to attribute this setback to his own team’s shooting struggles. Maryland stayed within striking distance in the first half by hitting seven three-pointers, although only one of those came from the starting guard trio of Trimble, Huerter and Anthony Cowan Jr.
“They made seven in the first half. That’s usually a recipe for getting a team out of the zone. . . . Luckily we made eight,” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said.
Xfinity Center was rocking during halftime as the 2001 and 2002 teams were honored, but the celebration quickly waned. Huerter opened the second half with a three-pointer to cut Iowa’s lead to 47-43, but the Terrapins didn’t look the same after that and never got closer. Maryland didn’t score another field goal for nearly five minutes. Turgeon was forced to call an early timeout after Bohannon fed Isaiah Moss for a finish in transition to push the lead to 11. After Maryland committed a turnover out of the timeout, Bohannon drained his seventh three-pointer of the game to make it a 14-point game.
Maryland also didn’t have an answer for Iowa star Peter Jok, who levied a major blow to the Terrapins’ comeback hopes midway through the second half. After dishing an assist to forward Cordell Pemsl for a layup, Jok followed with a three-pointer to make it 69-53 with 10:28 remaining.
Trimble trimmed the deficit back to 13 with his first threepointer of the game, but by then it seemed too late. The Hawkeyes went back to the post two possessions later, with Cook dropping in a left-handed hook shot to demoralize the Xfinity Center crowd further. The home fans were booing a few minutes later after Baer snatched an offensive rebound and scored an easy layup to make it 77-56.
When it was mercifully over for Maryland, Turgeon said he wished his team would have played better on a night of remembrance. He also reminded his players that all of their goals are attainable as the final week of the regular season approaches but only if they are able to rediscover the qualities that got them to this point.
“Some teams go through this late in the year and then can turn it around,” Turgeon said. “Hopefully we’re one of those teams.”
Coach Mark Turgeon blamed himself for the loss, wondering where his team’s confidence had gone.