xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement

Terps fans suffered through another last-second loss this week. Here are the most frustrating Big Ten defeats under Mark Turgeon.

Rarely do college basketball teams lose two games in a season after a crucial mistake on an inbounds pass, let alone two in less than a month. Unfortunately for Maryland, fans are still talking about what transpired at the Kohl Center in the waning seconds of Tuesday’s 56-54 loss to Wisconsin.

Part of their frustration stems from what happened in Madison and last month near the end of a 52-48 loss at Seton Hall, since they’ve seen it happen before to the Terps in recent seasons. As many close wins as Maryland has had since joining the Big Ten in 2014-15, the Terps have as many, if not more, agonizing losses, especially the past three seasons.

Advertisement

Here is a look at their most frustrating Big Ten losses each year in that span:

Maryland's Melo Trimble passes the ball in front of Nebraska's Walter Pitchford, left, and Shavon Shields, right, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, March 8, 2015, in Lincoln, Neb.
Maryland's Melo Trimble passes the ball in front of Nebraska's Walter Pitchford, left, and Shavon Shields, right, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, March 8, 2015, in Lincoln, Neb. (Nati Harnik / Associated Press)

2014-15

Michigan State 62, No. 8 Maryland 58 in Big Ten semifinals at United Center, Chicago, March 14, 2015

Maryland’s first season in the Big Ten went surprisingly well, largely because of the emergence of freshman point guard Melo Trimble teaming with senior shooting guard Dez Wells to give the Terps the best backcourt in their new conference.

After finishing second to Wisconsin with a 14-4 league record, including winning its last seven games, Maryland beat Indiana in the quarterfinals to set up a matchup with Michigan State. The Terps had beaten the Spartans in both regular-season matchups, including a 68-66 double-overtime win in East Lansing in their Big Ten debut.

Maryland had gone 11-0 in games decided by six points or less heading into the Big Ten tournament. But after Trimble led the Terps to a 16-point lead in the first half, the Spartans cut their deficit in half by halftime, then went on a 14-0 run to take the lead and took control in the last two minutes.

“We've won a lot of close games, so I think that gives us confidence moving forward, if anything," said senior forward Evan Smotrycz.

As a No. 4 seed in its first NCAA tournament under fourth-year coach Mark Turgeon, Maryland beat No. 13 seed Valparaiso, 65-62, in the opening round in Columbus, Ohio, before losing to No. 5 seed West Virginia, finishing the season 28-7.

Maryland guard Rasheed Sulaimon, left, keeps the ball from Ohio State's Daniel Giddens (4) at the end of the first half at Xfinity Center, on Jan. 16, 2016.
Maryland guard Rasheed Sulaimon, left, keeps the ball from Ohio State's Daniel Giddens (4) at the end of the first half at Xfinity Center, on Jan. 16, 2016. (Algerina Perna / Baltimore Sun)

2015-16

Minnesota 68, No. 6 Maryland 63 at Williams Arena, Minneapolis, on Feb. 19, 2016

After starting 15-1 overall and 4-0 in the Big Ten with a team that had gone into the season ranked third in the country, the lack of depth began to catch up with the Terps. But after losing road games at Michigan and Michigan State in an 11-day span, Maryland seemingly had straightened itself out.

But problems surfaced in a 70-57 home loss to a Wisconsin team in transition following the sudden resignation of longtime coach Bo Ryan and one that the Terps had beaten on a last-second 3-pointer by Trimble earlier in the season. A scuffle involving freshman center Diamond Stone proved costly.

Maryland suspended Stone at the Big Ten’s urging for its next game, playing against a team that had yet to win a conference game. With Stone out, Minnesota freshman Jordan Murphy dominated inside, finishing with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

But after erasing a 12-point deficit to take a 60-59 lead on a 3-point shot by grad transfer Rasheed Sulaimon with a little over three minutes to go, the Terps faltered as 10,000 Minnesota fans stormed the court.

"We just didn't make the plays we needed to win this game," said Sulaimon, who scored a career-high 28 points. "All credit goes to Minnesota. I thought that's why we got down in the first half, the 50-50 balls, who wants them more. … We've just got to figure how to start better."

Maryland's Kevin Huerter plays against Minnesota during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, in Minneapolis.
Maryland's Kevin Huerter plays against Minnesota during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, in Minneapolis. (Jim Mone / AP)

2016-17

Purdue 73, Maryland 72 on Feb. 4, 2017, at Xfinity Center

Advertisement

After a school-best 20-2 start, the Terps had seemingly distanced themselves from one of the defeats, a disastrous 67-65 home loss to Nebraska on New Year’s Day when the Cornhuskers had scored the game’s last 14 points. Going into its game against the No. 23 Boilermakers, No. 17 Maryland had won seven straight, including five on the road.

The Terps got off to a great start in each half, but saw an early nine-point lead cut to two at halftime and then watched what became a 12-point advantage with a little over 12 minutes left disappear as well. It seemed as if Maryland was going to hang on when Trimble hit a pair of free throws to give his team a 72-69 lead with 56 seconds remaining.

But a pair of free throws from Purdue’s biggest player, 7-foot-2, 295-pound sophomore center Isaac Haas, with 38 seconds left and two more by its smallest player, freshman point guard Carsen Edwards, were sandwiched around a missed pull-up 10-footer by Trimble and a turnover by freshman wing Kevin Huerter. Haas gave the Terps a brief glimmer of hope when he turned the ball over with a second remaining.

A desperation, slightly off-balanced 3 by Huerter from the right wing sailed long.

Asked if he thought he had made it, Huerter said, "I'm always confident when I shoot."

The Boilermakers were the first Top 25 team Maryland had played.

“This one hurts,” Turgeon said. “We played well enough to win. I’m really proud of my group. We just had some silly fouls and we allowed them to beat us at the foul line rather than earning it down there at the end.”

The Terps seemed to carry this defeat with them for awhile, losing three days later at Penn State during a stretch of five losses in seven games.

After finishing the regular season with wins at Rutgers and at home against Michigan State — on a game-winning 3-pointer by the soon departing Trimble, who would leave after his junior year — Maryland lost its opener in the Big Ten tournament in Washington to Northwestern and then, as a No. 6 seed, to No. 11 seed Xavier in the NCAA tournament in Orlando.

Maryland guard Anthony Cowan Jr. drives the ball in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Penn State, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Maryland guard Anthony Cowan Jr. drives the ball in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Penn State, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

2017-18

No. 23 Michigan 68, Maryland 67 at the Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, on Feb. 24, 2018

Many fans call this the most disappointing regular-season loss in Turgeon’s nine seasons. Even Turgeon and some of his players later acknowledged the impact it had on the remainder of the season, the only one in the past five years when the Terps failed to reach the NCAA tournament.

After Cowan carried Maryland on his back in an overtime win at Illinois in the first Big Ten road game a month before, the Terps had been pummeled in their previous two road games, by 30 at No. 1 Michigan State earlier in the month and by 22 at Ohio State four days before.

Maryland saw what had been an early 14-point lead chopped to 10 by halftime and watched the Wolverines score the first 10 points of the second half. Cowan led a furious comeback in the final six minutes that culminated with Huerter hitting a 3-pointer to give the Terps a 67-66 lead.

Michigan called timeout with three seconds to go, and needed to go 94 feet to score.

In a move that was debated for weeks, Turgeon opted not to guard the inbounds pass and had the 6-foot Cowan playing as a safety on the floor. Only problem was that Cowan, who had failed to hear Turgeon’s defensive plan because there was too much celebrating going on around the bench, had his back to where the ball was being thrown.

Advertisement

The long pass from freshman Isaiah Livers sailed over Cowan‘s head and found its way to senior guard Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rakhman, who was fouled by freshman center Bruno Fernando with 1.2 seconds left, giving Michigan the win.

“I obviously didn’t get my point across to my players about where [Michigan] needed to catch the ball,” Turgeon said. “You can’t let them throw over your press and let them [get] going downhill. This one obviously stings a little bit. We thought we had it.”

The Terps won just one more Big Ten road game — beating Northwestern — while losing several close ones, including a game at Indiana when Maryland failed to hold onto a five-point lead with a little under five minutes left. The 19-14 season ended with a 59-54 loss to Wisconsin in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament in New York when, trailing by three with five seconds left, junior Dion Wiley’s inbounds pass was stolen. Wiley transferred after the season.

Maryland guard Darryl Morsell, center, hangs onto an intercepted pass between Belmont 's Dylan Windler, left, as he is fouled by Belmont's Grayson Murphy, right, during the final moments of the first round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament in Jacksonville, Fla., Thursday, March 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Maryland guard Darryl Morsell, center, hangs onto an intercepted pass between Belmont 's Dylan Windler, left, as he is fouled by Belmont's Grayson Murphy, right, during the final moments of the first round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament in Jacksonville, Fla., Thursday, March 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

2018-19

Purdue 62, No. 23 Maryland 60 at Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, Indiana, on Dec. 6, 2018

Two plays stand out from what was perhaps the toughest regular-season loss of the season.

After leading by as many as eight points over the Boilermakers at one of the Big Ten’s toughest road venues, Mackey Arena, Maryland went to its locker room leading 34-30, when freshman wing Aaron Wheeler hit a 3-pointer with six seconds left in the first half.

The Terps struggled a bit in the second half, but managed to chop what became a five-point deficit with a little over five minutes remaining to one on a pair of free throws by Cowan with seven seconds to go. Edwards was immediately fouled and made both to put Purdue back up by three.

Following a timeout by the Boilermakers, Cowan was fouled. He made the first, and purposely missed the second. The ball was batted out of bounds, and the Terps had one more chance. After Purdue called time out again, Cowan’s 3-point shot from the short corner was blocked by 6-foot-6 freshman Nojel Eastern.

Turgeon said he gave his team three options for the last play.

“We ended up with the third option,” Turgeon said. “It felt like they had six guys out there. They were great [defensively]. We didn’t have anything. We talked about Anthony making a quick pass if he caught it on the roll. I don’t know if it was there or not.”

Turgeon then made a startling admission, one which brought a lot of criticism for the often-maligned coach. A month into the season, he had yet to install an inbounds play from under the opposing team’s basket in part because most teams had played zone against the Terps. Purdue had played man-to-man.

“We have a young team that I’ve kind of overloaded,” Turgeon said. “I don't think we had enough in there to sneak a shot in there on them.”

In terms of frustration, that loss was eclipsed in the NCAA tournament.

After coming back from 12 down in the first half to beat No. 12 seed Belmont, 79-77, in the opener when Dylan Windler’s desperation heave bounced off the rim at the buzzer, Maryland fell behind to No. 5 seed LSU by 14 in the first half in Jacksonville, Florida. Turgeon got hit with a technical foul and then switched his team to a zone.

But after storming back and taking a 60-57 lead on a 3-pointer by freshman guard Eric Ayala with a little over five minutes left, a turnover by Ayala opened the door for the Tigers. After a 3-point shot by freshman forward Jalen Smith tied the game with 28 seconds to go, LSU called timeout.

As time ticked away, and Maryland’s zone seemed to have won the game, point guard Tremont Water snaked his way past both Smith and Fernando — clearly stopping his dribble at one point before continuing — before banking in a scoop shot bright before the buzzer.

Helped off the floor by Fernando as he sobbed, Smith still blamed himself in the locker room despite finishing with 15 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high five blocked shots.

“I kind of feel like it was my fault,” he said between tears. “I should have been able to get [a block] back there. I feel like I failed the seniors. I didn’t want to send them out that way, with a loss.”

PURDUE@NO. 17 MARYLAND

Saturday, 2 p.m.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement