COLLEGE PARK – The University of Maryland men’s basketball team got to face an unfamiliar regular-season foe on Feb. 9. Although the two teams are county neighbors, it was the first time in school history the Terps faced Bowie State University in the regular season. In the end it was Maryland coming away with a […]
COLLEGE PARK – The University of Maryland men’s basketball team got to face an unfamiliar regular-season foe on Feb. 9.
Although the two teams are county neighbors, it was the first time in school history the Terps faced Bowie State University in the regular season. In the end it was Maryland coming away with a 93-62 win.
Bowie State had played the Terps in an exhibition game last year, almost to the same result andthat game sparked interest in the matchup within the area.
“When two teams are so close to home, regardless of ranking, it is good for the area. A lot of us played together growing up and even though the result wasn’t what we had hoped for, it was a lot of fun,” Bowie State guard Kenneth Tappin said.
The Terrapins welcomed their cross-county rivals by showing them what a top 10ranked school looks like and dominated Bowie State in every facet of the game after they made adjustments to deal with the Bulldogs’ press.
“Coming out of the game, we just have to be better. We’ve seen a variety of defenses this
season, so although we may not have been expecting it, I think we should’ve done a better job
handling it,” senior guard Rasheed Sulaimon said. “All credit goes to Bowie State. They came out and played very hard. I think once we settled into the game, we made some good plays and adjusted to the press.”
Maryland Head Coach Mark Turgeon thought that, while his team was too much for Bowie State, his Terps learned a little bit about themselves in the process.
“It was a good night for us,”Turgeon said.“We shot the ball well, we got to the foul line, we made free throws. I thought we defended pretty well for the most part. We took care of the ball until about the last three minutes of the game. To be quite honest, we weren’t prepared for the traps and all the little things that they were doing defensively. I thought we adjusted well.”
Turgeon scheduled Bowie State in an open spot on the schedule after having to cancel an exhibition game before the season. The game marked the first non-conference game the Terps had played this late in a season since 2011.
“It kind of keeps us in our rhythm,” Turgeon said.“Instead of playing Saturday to Saturday, we got to prepare for a team and play the game with the crowd. So it kind of keeps us in rhythm. The good thing is
that we didn’t play a lot of guys a lot of minutes.”
The “tune-up” game against the Bulldogs did not do Maryland much good in its next game though, as the Terps had their record 27 home winning streak snapped by Big 10 foe Wisconsin on Feb. 13.
The Terps came out slow against the Badgers and were dominated on their home floor. In the end, Wisconsin won 70-57.
The Badgers hit all of their key shots and dominated on the offensive glass, leaving the Terps desperate for points. Star guard Melo Trimble couldn’t buy a basket either, as he finished 1-for-14 from the floor.
“I want to give Wisconsin a ton of credit,” Turgeon said. “They were dialed in from the beginning. They were quicker and more physical. Coach Greg Gard has done an unbelievable job with his team. When I
shook his hand at their place, I knew they were on the right track and they were terrific tonight.”
As mentioned, Maryland stared out slow and couldn’t seem to get going. Despite connecting on three-of-four three pointers in the first half, the Terps were 7-for-21 from the field as a whole and went into halftime down by 15.
“This is the first time I thought our offense affected our defense. It was just one of those nights,” Turgeon said.“We kept trying to get to the foul line in the first half and couldn’t get there. So frustrationkind of mounted. We lost the game in the last 10 minutes of the half. Our effort was good enough in the second half.”
Maryland did get things rolling in the second half behind some full-court pressure and an ability to finally make some shots. Jake Layman and Sulaimon each scored eight points in the final 20 minutes, but Trimble continued to struggle and went 1-for-9.
The Terps were able to get within six by the 10-minute mark and had the Xfinity Center rocking with the hopes of another huge comeback win. However, Wisconsin responded with an 8-4 run over the next two-and-a-half minutes to push the lead back to 10.
Sulaimon has been the Terps’ leading scorer for the last five games. He led Maryland again on Saturday, scoring 17 points. Layman, Diamond Stone and Trimble each added ten.
Afterward, Turgeon dismissed the notion that the loss would affect his team for days to come.
“Reality is, we are 22-4. We have had a good year. Every team goes through it. This is really the biggest adversity we have hit because we lost a home game,” Turgeon said. “We will see how we handle it. I just want to get physically tougher and I want to get mentally tougher between now and Thursday. That is really want I want to do. Hopefully by doing that they can play confident. They have responded all year, so I expect them to do it again.”
Wisconsin (16-9, 8-4) saved its season with the win and will likely be playing in March because of the quality win on the road. The Terrapins may have lost their shot at a one seed, but as long as they can right the ship their seed shouldn’t matter.
“We didn’t do what we had to do,” Sulaimon said. “I felt like we came out with our foot in the mud and we were slow getting to everything. We have to be better than that and adjust quicker going forward. At the end of the day, it’s just another game in the Big Ten. Luckily we still have another opportunity. We’ll go back and watch film and hopefully next time we’re faced with a situation like this we’ll handle it better.”
Maryland (22-4, 10-3) now has to rebound on the road against Minnesota before returning home to hopefully avenge an earlier season loss to Michigan.