Despite a series of second half runs from Maryland men’s basketball, Iowa dominated its rivalry against the Terps all evening as Maryland fell to the Hawkeyes, 81-67, Sunday in Iowa City, Iowa.
Maryland’s offense looked better than it had in other Big Ten games on the road this season, but its defense struggled to contain Iowa’s prolific offense. Maryland moved to 2-4 in conference, with all four losses occurring on the road. He returns home for the rematch against Michigan on Thursday.
Jahmir Young followed up his season’s 30-point performance against Ohio State with a 20-point showing against Iowa. Donta Scott also scored 15 points.
“I thought we took a step in the right direction, believe it or not. I thought we had a fight on the road,” said Maryland coach Kevin Willard.
Julian Reese got the scoring for the Terps with two early baskets to give Maryland an early lead – something it has struggled to achieve in conference road games this season. But after Maryland took a 4-0 lead, Iowa exploded, 8-0.
Reese, who was the only Maryland player to score a point within the first seven minutes of the game, has been in constant trouble against Big Ten teams this season. Reese totaled 12 errors in the last three games before Sunday and averaged more errors per game than any other Big Ten player.
When Reese gets into stink trouble, Willard usually chooses to go with his big man, Patrick Emilian. Against Iowa, Emilian was out with an injury, and was seen wearing his walking shoes before the game.
“He is perhaps the most valuable man we have,” Willard said of Emilian. “He supports not only Julián, but Donta as well. … It hurts our rotation.”
Willard said Emilian injured his ankle again, which has been bothering him this season, in training on Friday and is likely to be out for an extended period of time.
Reese’s foul troubles continued for Iowa City, as the second base tackler committed two fouls before the middle of the first half. Willard was forced to leave a small lineup on the floor with Reese taking bouts on the bench. However, when Iowa began to pull away and Maryland ran into a prolonged drought, the Terps had no choice but to bring Reese back despite his terrible trouble.
The Baltimore native was dominant offensively when on the ground, scoring eight of Maryland’s first 14 points. He finished with 10 points and six rebounds.
Maryland ranks No. 26 in the nation in dual participation, according to the KenPom.comwhich means that he is more willing to play with his players for two faults than most teams.
Iowa led 19-10 at halftime before the Terps took a 6-0 lead to cut the lead to three. A low-scoring affair on both sides showed little outside shooting early on. The two teams combined for 14 attempts from distance and four attempts.
Maryland’s offensive game plan—similar to the one it executed so flawlessly against Ohio State a week earlier—was clear. The Terps gave up a three-ball and attempted to score on the inside with a drool drive hack and other touchdowns for their seniors against a relatively small Iowa group.
He worked for most of the first half as Maryland dueled with the Hawkeyes on the road. That was until Iowa caught fire in Three. After Maryland trailed by just three minutes with just over seven minutes left, the Hawkeyes outscored the Terps 18-5 over the next four minutes.
Maryland’s first three points—on only six attempts—came from Young with 1:28 to go in the half. Iowa was in the driver’s seat for the majority of the first half, but Maryland made a late push in the half to get into a breakdown at 10.
Maryland took control of the wheel to open the second half, mustering eight straight points to trail by just two, thanks to back-to-back three-pointers from seniors Scott and Hakeem Hart. The Terps drilled more three-pointers in the first minute of the second half than they did in the entire 20 minutes of the first period.
But in the running game, Iowa went it alone, beating Maryland 12-3 over the next six minutes to take back control of the game.
“Our defensive power on the road is really missing,” Willard said. “Even when we’re running, we’re not feeding on our running.”
Reese committed his fourth foul with eight minutes left, sending him to the bench as Maryland trailed by seven minutes.
He got back into the game with three and a half minutes left in the game as Iowa held a 10-point lead. Whether Reese was on or off the field didn’t matter much in the second half, as Iowa took advantage of Maryland’s defense regardless of personnel, resulting in a 14-point victory.
Three things to know
1. THE MARRYLAND SEAT DOESN’T EXIST, ESPECIALLY WITHOUT EMILIAN. Preseason concerns about not benching Maryland have been evident in the past few games. Patrick Emilian is one of the only bright spots coming off the bench for Maryland, but there was no backup to pick up his load on Sunday. While Ian Martinez’s steps from last season to this season are clear, he hasn’t been a factor in the past few games. Willard tried various buttons, including playing Pavlo Dziuba in the early minutes and giving Caelum Swanton-Rodger some runs. Ten players took the floor for Maryland, but the bench trips combined for 11 points.
2. The Maryland District defense was ineffective. Maryland typically plays man-to-man defense more in the half court than in the area. But against Iowa, she played a lot of zone defense, sometimes going for zone appearances in the game. Maryland struggled to contain the Iowa shooters when it went into its territory, allowing Iowa guard Tony Perkins to score 22 points. Chris Murray scored 19 points, 17 of them in the second half. Maryland might have gone to some territory to combat their lack of size, but it resulted in a dominant offensive performance from the Hawkeyes.
3. Droughts in Maryland are very frequent. Maryland’s offense is a 17-game in-progress season as Willard reinvents his offensive style based on personnel. One thing that has been constant this season are the extended dry spells. Scoring is even more difficult when you’re struggling with long range shooting and Maryland is second to last in the Big Ten by 3 points. Maryland suffered several three-plus minute droughts against Iowa, which led to the Hawkeyes extending their lead by several runs.