COLLEGE PARK – The University of Maryland men’s basketball team finally has a win it can hang its hat on. In a game that was a tight Big Ten battle throughout, the eighth-ranked Terps used a late surge to knock off No. 3 Iowa at home, 74-68. Although Maryland has played like one of the […]
COLLEGE PARK – The University of Maryland men’s basketball team finally has a win it can hang its hat on.
In a game that was a tight Big Ten battle throughout, the eighth-ranked Terps used a late surge to knock off No. 3 Iowa at home, 74-68. Although Maryland has played like one of the top teams in the nation all year, the victory was the Terps’ first over a ranked opponent this season.
“It was our first (ranked game) at home,” said Maryland Head Coach Mark Turgeon. “It is hard on the road against ranked opponents. I don’t get caught up in that and it kind of made me mad when people were talking that way. We have had a tough road schedule against top teams. It’s good to have one at home and it feels great.
“We beat a heck of a team, a really, really good basketball team. I don’t know what they are ranked, but we beat one heck of a team. Maybe one of the best – if not the best team – right now in college basketball. So that’s a good sign for us.”
Following a testy sequence in which Robert Carter Jr. picked up his fifth foul on a questionable call with less than two minutes to go, Maryland called a timeout up 62-60 and tried to regroup. However Turgeon didn’t do much of the talking in the huddle. It was Carter who did most of it.
“He was very demonstrative in telling us that we were going to win this game,” said Rasheed Sulaimon. “Coach didn’t really have to say anything.”
On the ensuing possession, Jake Layman lobbed a perfectly placed entry pass to Diamond Stone, who finished off the play with a two-handed throw down. Iowa tried to push the ball back down the court, but Melo Trimble poked the ball away from Mike Gesell and started a fastbreak. Layman kicked the ball ahead to a streaking Jared Nickens, who laid the ball in to give Maryland a six-point lead and sent the Xfinity Center into a frenzy.
“I was trying to get everyone focused off me and on the win,” Carter said about the timeout. “We had to figure out what’s the next play, who is coming in, who is going to take the next shot, who is going to make the next stop. I was just trying to keep everyone calm and focused on the task at hand.”
Maryland took a 41-35 lead into halftime thanks in large part to shooting 55 percent from the field and connecting on six three-pointers. Sulaimon, Layman and Carter led the way as they accounted for 29 of the team’s 41 points.
Meanwhile, Iowa’s Player of the Year candidate in Jarrod Uthoff was nowhere to be found. Uthoff came in averaging 18.9 points and six rebounds-per-game, but had just three points (0-for-5 shooting) and two boards at the break. He would finish the game with just nine points on 2-for-13 shooting.
The Hawkeyes managed to tie the game at 42 roughly four minutes into the second half and it was back-and-forth the rest of the way. The Terps would push the lead to five three minutes later, but Iowa stayed within striking distance and even took a one-point lead with eight minutes to go.
Maryland answered with an 11-6 run and eventually led by two when Carter was called for his fifth foul. After the Terps took the six-point lead late, Iowa began to foul but couldn’t get closer than four.
Carter and Sulaimon each scored 17 points to lead Maryland (18-3, 7-2). Layman and Trimble each added 11.
“I am proud of my team,” Turgeon said. “I was proud of the fans. Great crowd, great energy. The students came out and gave us a huge lift.
“I thought we showed some toughness in the second half. We weren’t great on offense, but we just kept guarding and our rebounding got better as the game went on. It wasn’t easy for us, but we got it done.”
The loss was the Hawkeyes’ first in the conference this year as they fall to 16-4 (7-1).
Maryland is now 10-0 in the last two seasons when coming off a loss.
The Terps will travel to Ohio State next for another Big Ten matchup on Jan. 31.