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Maryland basketball holds off Iowa for thrilling 66-65 win

The Terps have a road win over a ranked team for the first time in 11 years.

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland men’s basketball snuck out of Iowa City with its first road win over a ranked opponent in two presidential administrations, beating No. 21 Iowa 66-65 on a game-winning tip-in Tuesday night.

After a cold beginning for both teams, No. 24 Maryland had been able to take control of the game for most of the second half. As its offense waned, though, Iowa continued to push and took a 63-62 lead with just over a minute left. Bruno Fernando, despite having a down game, hit two free throws and put Maryland back ahead. An Anthony Cowan Jr. foul led to two Jordan Bohannon free throws, but on Maryland’s last possession, Fernando followed a Cowan miss to tip it in for the game-winner.

Cowan firmly broke out of his slump to lead Maryland’s scoring effort with 17 points. He scorched earth from deep, hitting 5-of-10 attempts, and added a season-high eight assists. Fernando would join him in double figures, securing the double-double with the tip-in, finishing with 11 points and 11 rebounds, and Eric Ayala added 11 points of his own. Bohannon and Isaiah Moss were the only two to finish in double figures for the Hawkeyes, finishing with 14 and 12, respectively.

Both teams started slow, with five turnovers and just a field goal between them over the first four minutes. Eight minutes in, Maryland had just one field goal and four turnovers, trailing 12-7. The Terps wouldn’t get their second field goal until 11 minutes in on a dunk from Darryl Morsell, as an uncharacteristically stout Iowa defense was making life hard. Back-to-back threes from Aaron Wiggins and Ayala a few minutes later would give Maryland its first lead at 15-14.

Those triples woke up both offenses a bit, as the teams combined to hit five consecutive threes. Cowan would hit his third triple of the half and Ayala his second to put the Terps up 27-23 going into the half with 18 straight points from behind the arc. Cowan was the only player to make it to double figures in the first half, with a game-high 11 points.

Maryland’s bigs got into foul trouble in the opening period, paving the way for nine first-half offensive rebounds for the Hawkeyes. Fernando was the first to pick up his second, sitting before Maryland’s run started, and would be joined by Jalen Smith and Joshua Tomaic with two fouls each before the end of the half.

Despite some early turnovers, Maryland remained in control to start the second half. Smith would pick up his third foul early, but some back-to-back buckets from Morsell and a third triple from Ayala put the Terps up 12. Iowa responded by going inside, but Maryland kept finding answers from behind the arc. Serrel Smith Jr. and Wiggins each responded to Hawkeyes buckets with triples to keep Maryland ahead by double digits.

With around 10 minutes left, Iowa made a run at the lead, going on an 8-2 run to cut the Terps’ lead to 51-46. Maryland would once again respond with fire from deep, with Wiggins and Cowan combining for back-to-back triples and put the lead back above double digits. The Hawkeyes weren’t done pressing the issue, using a 7-0 run to cut the lead down to four with just over four minutes left. As had been the case all night, Cowan responded with a triple, but the Hawkeyes continued to push, cutting the lead to two.

A Nicholas Baer three would officially spell the end of Maryland’s lead, putting the Hawkeyes up 61-60 with just 2:37 left in the game. It was just free throws from there, until Fernando’s thrilling tip-in with seven seconds left.

Maryland (20-7, 11-5 Big Ten) will return home for its next contest, taking on Ohio State this Saturday at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Three things to know

1. Maryland found consistent answers behind the arc. The Terps were struggling in the first half, as Iowa had put the Terps’ bigs in foul trouble and employed various traps and stout defense to strifle Maryland early. Maryland was 0-of-6 from deep to start, but would finish the half hitting 6 of its last 11 to provide an 18-point boost and push them to the lead. With little else working, Maryland returned to the shot time and again in the second half. As the shot failed them, the Terps saw the lead dwindle, then disappear.

2. Maryland forced its fair share of turnovers and made them count. The Terps came into the game having forced turnovers on just 14.2 percent of its opponents’ possessions, the second-lowest rate in the nation, per KenPom. Despite still turning the ball over more (17-14), Maryland won the transition battle, outscoring Iowa 20-8 on points off turnovers.

3. The Terps get their first ranked road win since 2008. Maryland had lost 27-straight games to ranked opponents on the road before this win, including 19 under Mark Turgeon. Twenty-four of those losses came in conference games, so this also represents the first ranked road win of Maryland’s time in the Big Ten. It was dramatic, but the streak is over.

Via StatBroadcast