Iowa star Luka Garza headed to the bench with a little over 10 minutes left against Maryland men’s basketball after elbowing Jairus Hamilton in the face for his third foul of the night.
The Hawkeyes were on the wrong side of an 8-3 run by the time he returned less than two minutes later, but that didn’t last long. Garza ran back onto the court and immediately assisted a Jordan Bohannon triple. Patrick McCaffery then scored back-to-back three-pointer to make it a 9-0 Iowa run, squashing any momentum the Terps were building.
Maryland men’s basketball never seemed able to hold its momentum Thursday night, falling 89-67 to No. 5 Iowa. The Hawkeyes used a massive 35-7 run in the back half of the first period to build a comfortable lead on the road.
“I don’t know what happened tonight, but we’ve played extremely hard,” head coach Mark Turgeon said. “I’m really proud of this team, how hard they’ve competed. And tonight it wasn’t there for us.”
With the defeat, the Terps fall to 1-5 in Big Ten play and 6-6 on the season, now with three losses in a row.
The Terps opened the game with energy, scoring two three-pointers to jump out to a 6-0 lead that forced a Hawkeye timeout just 1:38 into the contest. Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery called timeout once again after an Eric Ayala three-pointer put the Terps up 17-7 with 14:17 remaining in the first half, but keeping Iowa off the scoresheet wasn’t able to be sustained.
“We got off to a good start moving the ball making shots,” Turgeon said. “They went zone and we just never really got it going and let our offense affect our defense.”
With 12 minutes left in the half, the Hawkeyes fed the ball to Garza on the left block, but a quick double team force him out to the wing. As he attempted to drive back in on Jairus Hamilton, a masked Darryl Morsell worked to swipe down on Garza and force a tie-up and timeout with the Terps in front.
Out of that timeout, Iowa snapped back into shape. Maryland missed five shots and turned the ball over three time before the next media timeout at 7:56, where the Hawkeyes held on to a 21-19 lead.
The Terps’ struggles on offense continued as they ultimately missed 11 shots in a row, feeding into a 17-0 Hawkeye run. Donta Scott hit a three-point shot from the top of the key that ended the scoring drought, but not the troubles.
Morsell took the ball and drove with 1:40 left in the half and had it tipped away from behind and into the hands of Jack Nunge. The forward flung the ball up the court to a streaking Keegan Murray who emphatically slammed it home on the break.
Iowa ended the first half on a 35-7 run, leading 44-26 at the break. Maryland shot 39.3% in the first half, where 16 of its 28 shots came from three-point rage and only four were successful. Garza led all scorers with 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting and five rebounds through 20 minutes.
“They’re hard to guard,” Turgeon said. “They’re a terrific team, I thought we had a really good strategy that was working pretty well. And then we just we missed every shot against the zone and decided we weren’t gonna run back hard enough.”
Aaron Wiggins worked to kick-off the second half just like the first for Maryland, as he scored the Terps’ first 10 points of the second half and the Hawkeyes were held to just two of their own through three minutes.
Iowa managed to snap back into shape with Joe Wieskamp hitting a layup and Garza nailing a three-point shot. As the Maryland bench was yelling for their defense to stop the ball, Wieskamp cut down along the baseline and was able to draw a foul and sink the layup.
After an 18-7 run from the Hawkeyes, Maryland tried to find some light with an 8-3 stretch of their own. Garza was taken off the floor after picking up his third foul of the contest — an elbow to the face of Jairus Hamilton — letting the Terps operate more loosely.
Garza was on the bench for just a minute and 16 seconds before sprinting back out to ignite a 9-0 Hawkeye run that further put this game out of reach.
“[Iowa’s] a great team, great players individually,” Wiggins said. “They played 10-11 guys and every guy came in and contributed to their win. we tried to throw a couple different defensive schemes at them and stuff, but they’re a great team, they move the ball, well, they were able to score, and we just weren’t tough enough.”
Three things to know
1. Maryland simply couldn’t contain Luka Garza. The 2020 National Player of the Year saw double-teams and swipe down attempts all game, but still managed to get what he pleased. Garza had 17 points and five rebounds in the first half, including a perfect 4-of-4 effort from the free-throw line.
“Luka Garza is as good as advertised,” Eric Ayala said. “The whole team, they feed off of each other. And for us we just need to keep fighting, keep competing.”
Garza finished with 24 points, seven rebounds and four assists in 34 minutes of play.
2. Darryl Morsell returned, but struggled. The Terps’ senior leader returned just one week after taking an elbow to the face that required surgery, but wasn’t his usual self. The Baltimore native finished the game with just three points despite playing 22 minutes. He also had six individual turnovers.
3. The Terps couldn’t control the ball. Maryland struggled to get much going in this one, much in part to its lack of composure on the offensive end. The team committed 16 turnovers, tying its highest total this season. The Hawkeyes took advantage of such mistakes, scoring 20 points off of turnovers.
“Turnovers are unacceptable,” Turgeon said. “Darryl had six, but he wasn’t himself. The turnovers [are] not what is good.”