After splitting a tough road trip, Maryland basketball dropped the first of a two-game stretch in College Park, falling 89-75 to Minnesota.
The Terps, who came in as five-point favorites at home, weren’t able to generate much offense against a team it beat a month prior. Meanwhile, the Gophers were on fire in the second half, shooting 55 percent to Maryland’s 40 percent.
Rebounding wasn’t particularly an issue with Maryland big man Michal Cekovsky out, but scoring was. Minnesota had three players in double figures by the eight-minute mark in the second half. Maryland only had Ivan Bender, whose career-high 15 points weren’t enough. Anthony Cowan, Justin Jackson and Melo Trimble would all score as the game wound down, but it was too little, too late.
After Trimble had scored 59 of the team’s 134 points in Maryland’s last two games, he only had 11 on 12 shots Wednesday night. The Terps can’t expect to succeed when Trimble has an off night unless they get big contributions from multiple other players, and that didn’t happen.
The game was close until Minnesota pulled away in the second half.
Akeem Springs led Minnesota with 10 of the Gophers’ first 12 points as they kept a slight lead for much of the game’s first 20 minutes..
Maryland came back to take a one-point lead thanks to 12 early points from Ivan Bender. He gave the Terps a boost in their first game since fellow Cekovsky suffered a season-ending ankle fracture. He and Jaylen Brantley combined for 20 first-half points, while no one else on the team had more than five.
Trimble only had two points on one basket in the first half, but threw in five assists. He followed up a hockey assist on an Bender dunk with a regular assist on a Bender dunk end the half. Maryland led 35-34 at the break.
Maryland kept that halftime lead until 12:41 in the second half, when Minnesota’s Dupree McBrayer scored seven straight points to give the Gophers a 57-53 lead.
The Terps couldn’t get consistent offense as Minnesota went on an 11-3 run to take a 61-56 lead, but Maryland narrowed that down to 61-60. The Gophers then put the Terps at too far a distance with a 9-1 run right after that.
Maryland went to a press late, but there wasn’t anything Mark Turgeon’s team could do. Minnesota took a 12-point lead into the final two minutes, and the Terps could only watch.
Maryland will look to bounce back Saturday at home against Iowa.
Three things to know
- The Terps had a tougher time with the Gophers this time around. Maryland looked in charge for much of its 85-78 win at Minnesota in January, but the Gophers have looked better since that game. This is their sixth straight win, and they aren’t out of the tournament hunt yet.
- Maryland couldn't find an answer on an off night from Melo Trimble. Bender and Jaylen Brantley were Maryland’s leading scorers in the first half, and relegated Trimble to a distributor’s role. He did this well, dishing out the aforementioned five assists. But in the second half, nine points from Anthony Cowan and seven from Trimble weren’t enough to stop a Minnesota attack that shot over 50 percent.
- Ivan Bender made up for Michal Cekovksy’s absence on offense, and his teammates set him up well. Maryland’s backcourt, especially Trimble, worked well with Bender on pick-and-rolls to get him easy layups and dunks. Bender still had to finish them though, and he did.