Maryland needs late surge for 84-76 road win over Iowa

IOWA CITY, IOWA — Playing on the road finally seemed to catch up with the newly ranked Maryland men's basketball team Thursday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. A double-digit lead over Iowa early in the second half was gone, as was senior center Damonte Dodd, who fouled out with more than three minutes left.

The young Hawkeyes had a three-point lead and Peter Jok, the Big Ten's leading scorer. But the No. 25 Terps had Melo Trimble, who took over the game as he has often done throughout his career and carried his own youthful team from the brink of its first Big Ten road loss to an 84-76 victory.


"It's what we've done all year. You don't get to where we are right now without winning like that and believing you're going to win those games," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "There was some doubts out there because it got really tough. Just a lot going on out there and we had to overcome it.

"But there's a huge belief system. It's great to see Melo make shots like that for us in the clutch, and that's what he's done most of his career. He hasn't done it lately, the last couple of games. For him to step up and do that was terrific. … Our belief system was good throughout."


With back-to-back 3-pointers, Trimble erased a 72-69 deficit and then helped put the game out of reach with three of four free throws in the final minute. Trimble finished with 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in leading Maryland (17-2, 5-1 Big Ten) to its third conference road win without a defeat and sole possession of first place in the league.

Trimble said he didn't feel he needed to calm down his young teammates after the Hawkeyes used a 26-12 run midway through the second half to take their first lead with 5:18 left.

"Not calm things down, but be aggressive," he said. "I had that in my mind the whole game. … I had that aggressive mindset; keep shooting."

Maryland overcame 21 turnovers — including eight by freshman guard Anthony Cowan, who added 15 points and six assists — with 23 assists. The Terps also shot 56.6 percent from the field (30-for-53), including 11-for-23 from 3-point range (5-for-9 by Trimble).

"They really kind of dominated the game for awhile, physically," said Turgeon, whose team led by as many as 15 points in the first half, and by 14 early in the second half. "We kept shooting ourselves in the foot. We had some unbelievable turnovers tonight. We just kept believing we were going to win."

If Trimble's consecutive 3-pointers returned Maryland to the lead, a 3-pointer by junior wing Jared Nickens to tie the game at 69 with 4:16 to play gave the Terps a jolt of much-needed confidence. It came 12 seconds after Nickens was substituted into the game during a timeout.

"He hadn't played a lot in the [second] half," Turgeon said. "I said, 'We're going to hit a 3 here and we're going to win this game. We've got to be the tougher team the last four minutes.' Our defense was a little better and of course Melo made two big 3s on top of it."

Jok, who injured his back in Iowa's recent road loss at Northwestern, finished with 14 points, only two of which came in the second half. Jok, who seemed to tweak his back going in for a drive late in the first half and then jammed his shoulder going for a steal in the second half, hit just four of 12 shots for Iowa (11-9, 3-4) while being guarded mostly by freshmen Kevin Huerter and Justin Jackson (12 points, nine rebounds, six steals, four assists, two blocks).


The victory erased the harsh memory of a 16-point Maryland loss in Iowa City two years ago. It also prevented the Terps from thinking about blowing another double-digit lead in the second half, as they did when they lost at home to Nebraska on New Year's Day.

"We've been through that situation when we played Nebraska and we let up the last eight minutes. We didn't want to do it this game," Trimble said. "We just wanted to stay poised and continued to have fun."

Trimble had his own painful memories of the loss at Iowa when he was a freshman. He got poked in the eye by former Hawkeye center Adam Woodbury, ran into a television camera after driving to the basket and played through the pain of his own lower back injury as Jok did Thursday.

This time, he could only smile.

"Before the game, I had that thought. I knew what happened here two years ago. We came in ranked [at No. 17] and they were the underdogs," Trimble said. "It's basketball. It's a game of runs and they made a run at the end. The good thing is, we stayed poised and we pulled out the win."

Though only a few players remain from that team, Turgeon made sure to make his younger players aware of what happened two years ago.


"It's good to talk about it. We sat in the room and talked about how bad they thumped us here two years ago," said Turgeon, whose team fell behind 17-2 at the start and 40-17 at halftime in that loss. "Melo was able to talk about it, some of the veterans were able to talk about how good their crowd is, how loud their crowd is and how well they play at home."

A week after the Hawkeyes upset another top-25 team — Purdue — at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Maryland somehow survived.

Not that Turgeon looked at it as his team making a statement.

"Not really. It's just a long, hard grind season. You never know when you're going to win your next one, to be honest with you," said Turgeon, whose team will be off until it plays last-place Rutgers at home Tuesday. "Whenever you get one, we celebrate them a lot more. You hug each other and then you move on the next one."