Exclamation points rarely come in the first half.
But with Maryland men’s basketball’s defense failing to contain the Iowa Hawkeyes from around the perimeter, that exclamation point came just before the first-half buzzer.
The Terps trailed 54-41 with a few seconds left in the half, having already given up nine threes and the most points they have allowed in a single half this season. Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon rained down three after three in the first half, but he added something extra just before the break. Bohannon spotted up once more from beyond the arc with the clock expiring and connected on his sixth three of the half to put Iowa up 57-41, a deficit which the Terps eventually wouldn’t be able to overcome.
Iowa punished the home team from three all night long and made easy work of Maryland, taking down the Terps 110-87 in College Park. Iowa ended up with 19 made threes and shot 56% from deep to deliver Maryland its fourth straight defeat.
“Iowa’s a very elite team offensively,” interim head coach Danny Manny said. “We knew that going into the game, you have to tip your hat to the way they shot the basketball.”
With the loss, Maryland is 11-13 on the season and 3-10 in conference play.
Coming into Thursday’s matchup as losers of three straight games, Maryland couldn't afford another slow start against the Hawkeyes. The Terps were down by at least seven points going into halftime in each of the past three games against Indiana, Michigan State and Ohio State — all of which resulted in defeats.
Junior forward Donta Scott had other ideas after tying his career-high with 25 points against No. 16 Ohio State in the game prior. Scott drilled a three-pointer 32 seconds into the game and junior guard Hakim Hart followed suit with a three of his own to give Maryland the early momentum.
Iowa erased the Terps’ two quick threes with a 5-for-8 shooting start to go up 11-8 about five minutes in.
Maryland’s three-point shooting kept it within striking distance early with senior guard Eric Ayala shaking off some of his recent rust with his first three-pointer of the evening. Soon after, Hart and graduate guard Xavier Green sunk back-to-back threes.
Yet, even though the Terps were atypically crisp from beyond the arc, starting off with five straight makes, Iowa’s offensive responses allowed it to maintain a first-half lead. Guard Jordan Bohannon nailed a three-pointer and made sure the Maryland faithful knew it with a little nod intended in their direction.
Forward Kris Murray and Bohannon continually flaunted the Hawkeyes’ marksman-like shooting from long range. The duo traded threes left and right as Iowa saw its lead improve to 27-19 with around 10 minutes to go in the half.
An Ayala layup capped off a 7-0 run for the Terps over the course of 51 seconds, bringing the score to within one. However, Bohannon laid that run to rest with a crowd-silencing three, his fourth make of the first half, to replenish the Hawkeyes’ advantage.
Defending the three seemed more like a chore than a necessity at times for Maryland’s lackadaisical perimeter defense. Iowa kept making Maryland pay.
Hawkeyes’ freshman guard Payton Sandfort joined in the three parade as well, knocking down his second make from deep with 4:45 left in the first half to put Iowa up by 10.
It was a high-flying first half and the Terps struggled to keep up. Iowa hit the half-century mark before the final minute of the first half, eventually leading 57-41 at the break. Bohannon hit another three right before the buzzer in what was a rare exclamation point before the second half.
The last time Maryland played Iowa, which was back on Jan. 3 in a five-point road loss, it found itself up on the scoreboard, by four points. This time, it was down 10 after allowing Iowa to hit 10-of-16 threes and to shoot 60% from the field in 20 minutes of play.
Iowa’s offense continued to be an unstoppable force even to begin the second half.
A 13-0 run from the Hawkeyes put them up 72-45, while Maryland was stuck on a scoring drought that lasted for more than four minutes.
Interim head coach Danny Manning switched things up and put in sophomore Marcus Dockery into the game with Maryland trailing by more than 30 with 12 and a half minutes to go. Dockery fired away from beyond the arc but failed to connect on his first shot attempt.
Everything was simply going in Iowa’s direction with too much time left on the clock for it to work with.
Murray and Bohannon added onto the mountain of threes with a few more. Murray even rocked the front iron with a shot from three, but a favorable bounce let the ball swish through the netting to add insult to injury towards Maryland’s side.
Bohannon hit his ninth and 10th three-pointers of the night to balloon the Hawkeyes’ lead to 88-57. He had a dazzling 30 points, all of which came from threes, with still just under 10 minutes left to play.
Iowa reached the 92-point mark with both Murray and Bohannon at 30 points apiece. On the host’s side of things, only two Terps hit double-digits up until that point.
Iowa continually made three-pointers look as easy as unguarded layups. The game in College Park took on more of a video game form than a real-life one for the Hawkeyes, so it seemed. Iowa finished the job shooting 19-for-34 from three, with Bohannon leading the way with 10 makes.
There were no typos on the scoreboard Thursday evening in College Park as Iowa closed out the 23-point win over the Terps. Iowa’s 110 points is a record for a visiting team in Xfinity Center, per Patrick Stevens of The Washington Post.
“First I want to give credit to Iowa... for us I feel like it’s more of like an effort thing,” Fatts Russell said. “We just gotta give 100% the whole game and every possession, we talked about it, but we just can’t keep talking about it like we actually gotta do it in a game.”
Three things to know
- Maryland failed to offer resistance to Keegan Murray, again. Iowa’s Murray is one of the top players in the nation and brought it to the Terps for the second straight meeting. He scored 35 points the first time around, and produced at an efficient rate yet again on Thursday night. Murray had 16 points by halftime, finishing with 30 total. He was relentless in the paint and was virtually unstoppable when he got close to the hoop. Murray added seven rebounds and shot 12-for-14 en route to taking down the Terps for the second time this season. Murray had a combined 65 points in his two games against Maryland this season.
2. Both teams were red-hot shooting the long ball. It was a game of threes for the visitor’s side as they went 10-for-16 from three-point range in just the first half alone. Iowa’s Bohannon was on fire in the first 20 minutes. He knocked down 6-of-9 three-pointers in the first half and finished with 10 total makes from three.
“I’ve been around a lot of basketball, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anyone score 30 points on 10 threes,” Manning said.
On the other end, Maryland wasn’t slouching from three despite going down big early on. The Terps went 6-for-8 in the opening half as team. At the end of the contest, both programs combined for 33 made threes. Iowa led with 56% shooting from deep compared to Maryland’s 54%.
3. Maryland is on its first four-game losing streak of the season. Prior to the Terps’ game with Iowa, they were riding their third three-game losing streak of the season. Maryland has limped through a few rough stretches, but with tougher competition as the season has gone along, it’s easy to see how the losses are compiling. Losses to Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio State and now Iowa have derailed any kind of NCAA Tournament hopes that this team previously had. The road only gets tougher moving forward as Maryland has a date with Big Ten Goliath, Purdue, on the road on Super Bowl Sunday.
“For us, we got a couple more games left, we gonna keep fighting and try to turn this thing around,” Russell said.