Over the last two seasons, winning on the road in the Big Ten has been a seldom sight for Maryland men’s basketball.
But for 25 minutes Sunday, it looked like Maryland was going to secure just its second conference road victory in the past calendar year. Instead, the Terps were outplayed in second half by Minnesota, resulting in a 65-62 defeat.
“I think it was a good learning experience for those young guys,” Maryland head coach Kevin Willard said on the “disappointing” loss. “I’m proud of the young guys, they’re playing hard. But you know, I can’t have Jahmir [Young] and Donta [Scott] have nine turnovers.”
A seven-point halftime lead turned worthless as Minnesota capitalized on every beat thereafter. The Golden Gophers made five of their 3-point attempts in the second half, a different story than their 1-of-14 stat line in the first 20 minutes. They also assisted on 11 of their 15 made field goals in the second half. Four of Maryland’s lowly nine second-half field goals were assisted.
Maryland scored just seven points in a span of eight minutes through the midway point of the second half, allowing the Gophers to catapult into the lead. From the 7-minute mark to the final 60 seconds, the Terps went without a field goal.
A large reason for Maryland’s stagnant play was it being without Julian Reese. With 8:28 left in the game, as Reese sat on the bench with four fouls, Minnesota took its first lead since early in the contest.
Backup center Caelum Swanton-Roger filled in, but posted a plus-minus of -18. Reese later fouled out with 22 seconds remaining.
The Terps ultimately played an inefficient brand of basketball, committing 17 turnovers. In the first half, Minnesota scored 12 points off 15 takeaways, but left a lot on the board. The Golden Gophers capitalized in almost every way in the second half, though, making over half of their shots and notching 15 bench points.
“I mean, 15 turnovers in the first half ... I just, you know, this team has me a little perplexed because we don’t we don’t practice that way, and we don’t prepare that way,” Willard said.
Eight Minnesota players scored double-digit points, while Maryland relied on Jahmir Young, Donta Scott and Reese, who combined for 48 of the team’s 62 points.
At one point in the first half, Maryland went on a 14-0 run to earn an 11-point lead. But that quickly dissipated in the second half, showcasing Maryland’s dire need for a consistent offensive rhythm.
“I got to shuffle the starting lineup a little bit I guess,” Willard added.
Three things to know
1. Offense out of sync. Nine made field goals in the second half isn’t a winning formula. The Terps were nearly bailed out by an extraordinary 24 trips to the line, but Young — who finished with a team-high 20 points — looked like the only Terp comfortable with the ball.
2. Reese couldn’t stay on the court. When Reese was on the floor, Maryland was the better team. At the half, he already had 10 points, five rebounds and two blocks. When he checked out of the game early in the second half, the Terps led by nine. By the time he checked back in, the Terps were down two.
3. Road struggles continue. Maryland has won just one of its past 11 intraconference road games and is 1-5 away from home this season.