IOWA CITY, IOWA — Boos rang out at Carver-Hawkeye Arena Sunday after Maryland guard Dez Wells fouled Aaron White as the Iowa forward went in for a dunk after a steal and acted as if he had been hit in the face.
Wells yelled in the direction of the referees, saying he hit the ball and the ball hit White's face. That came moments after Melo Trimble was poked in the eye by Hawkeyes center Adam Woodbury, who was assessed a flagrant foul.
Things were getting testy in Maryland's first trip to Iowa.
Too bad the game was already out of hand for the No. 17 Terps.
While Maryland's first three road losses in the Big Ten have been increasingly one-sided and more embarrassing for the Terps, much of Sunday's 71-55 loss to the Hawkeyes might have been the low point.
Maryland (19-5, 7-4) watched Iowa (15-8, 6-4) score the game's first seven points, 17 of the first 19 and 24 of the first 29 before storming to a 23-point lead by halftime. The Terps never got closer than 12 points in the second half.
"I don't think it was the worst one. They've all been equally bad," junior forward Jake Layman said of the Terps' recent losses. "We can't be a one-half team moving forward. We've got to come out with energy. Being ranked, there's a target on our back. We've got to come out playing a lot harder than we have been."
Asked about his team's offensive struggles, which included making just 18 of 49 shots and 7 of 23 3-point attempts, Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said that he had to watch the film. Yet he knew what the answer would be.
"They were really good, but I imagine we had a lot to do with it," Turgeon said. "Turnovers, shooting quick. As a coach, I've got to do a better job having us prepared offensively. I think it was a combination of them being good and us not really being patient."
Maryland's poor shooting and suddenly-shaking ballhandling (16 turnovers) were only part of the problem. The Hawkeyes, coming off a game in which they shot nearly 63 percent at Michigan, finished a season-high 64.3 percent (27-for-42) from the field.
"They were averaging either 38 or 42 points in wins when they score in the paint or at the foul line, and they had 52 tonight I believe," Turgeon said. "That was our gameplan, to not foul or to not let [them] score in the paint, but we could do nothing about it. They were that good offensively. They're at their best when they play that way and they were really good at it tonight."
Turgeon received his third technical of the season — all on the road — with his team down 53-38 in the second half.
White, a 6-foot-10 senior, led the Hawkeyes with 17 points and eight rebounds. Woodbury finished with 16 points on six of seven shooting. Sophomore forward Peter Jok added 15 and junior guard Mike Gesell had nine assists — one fewer than the entire Maryland team.
Except for Trimble (20 points), the Terps barely showed up.
"It was us just being passive and not really attacking their zone and man-to-man," said Trimble, who scored 13 of his team's 17 first-half points. "We worked on that but we just came out passive."
Trimble might have been the only Terp who didn't back down early. Coming into the game in the midst of a slump that saw him fail to make a single field goal in the past two games (0-for-13), Trimble made seven of the 12 shots he took, including three of his four 3-point attempts.
What made Trimble's performance all the more impressive was the way he came back after leaving the court twice, first after running into a cameraman behind the basket and having the camera fall on his face, bloodying his nose, and later after getting poked in the eye by the 7-foot-1 Woodbury.
After the incident with the cameraman, Trimble said: "I was pretty scared. I wasn't conscious at first, I thought I was out of it. Once I just laid there and relaxed, it just went away."
Unfortunately for Trimble, some of his teammates didn't recover from their slow start. Dez Wells scored 12, but had just one point at halftime and wound up taking just six shots. Layman was even more invisible, not getting a point or a rebound in the first half and not scoring until 4:34 was left in the game.
Unlike their previous road losses, the Terps couldn't blame this on an inspired team overcoming the injury to its leading scorer (Illinois' Rayvonte Rice), an incredibly hot shooting night (Indiana's Yogi Ferrell) or trying to stop one of the best players in the country (Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell).
"It's definitely a game-by-game thing, we can't be looking back and feeling sorry for ourselves for any losses that we've had," Layman said. "We all learn from each one."
The Terps have three days to figure out what went wrong Sunday before playing Indiana at home on Wednesday. Ever since the 89-70 loss in Bloomington, which preceded an 80-56 demolition at Ohio State a week later, Maryland has been pointing to the rematch with the Hoosiers at Xfinity Center.
"We're just excited to play a good team," Layman said. "We have nothing to lose right now. At this point we can't be worried about our record or the number next to our name, because we're not playing like it."