Maryland men’s basketball found life in the second half Sunday against Iowa.
After trailing by as much as 16 points in the first, seniors Hakim Hart and Donta Scott traded 3-pointers before a fadeaway basket by Scott cut the Hawkeyes’ lead to 43-41 just 1:23 into the second.
That was as close as Maryland would get, as the Terps couldn’t keep up with the Hawkeyes in an 81-67 loss at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa.
Maryland (11-6, 2-4 Big Ten) had three players score in double figures with graduate transfer guard Jahmir Young leading the way with a team-high 20 points and five rebounds to continue his strong scoring streak. The Upper Marlboro native has averaged 21 points over the past three games.
Scott registered his fifth career double-double and first of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds while sophomore forward Julian Reese added 10 points and six rebounds.
Over the past two games, Maryland has emphasized getting to the basket instead of relying on outside shots. After scoring 34 points in the paint against Ohio State last week, Maryland totaled 42 points around the rim on Sunday and attempted just 16 3-pointers.
“We are trying [to score in the paint],” coach Kevin Willard said. “I think Julian is progressing [and] we are trying to get Donta [in the paint] a little bit.”
Iowa (12-6, 4-3 Big Ten) shot 60% from the floor and was led by guard Tony Perkins, who had a career-high 22 points on 10-for-13 shooting. The Hawkeyes’ leading scorer, Kris Murray, added 19 points, including 17 in the second half, despite being in foul trouble.
From Maryland’s turnover problems to its inability to generate fast-break points, here are three takeaways from the Terps’ third loss in four games.
Patrick Emilien expects to miss some time
Maryland’s frontcourt depth, which has been a major concern since the preseason, took another hit before tip-off when forward Patrick Emilien was ruled out because of an ankle injury. That led to junior Pavlo Dziuba and freshman Caelum Swanton-Rodger logging some rare minutes.
Willard said Emilien, who has averaged 17.5 minutes per game, twisted his ankle in practice on Thursday and will be out “for a while.”
“He had been practicing [well],” said Willard, who noted that Emilien has been battling an ankle injury throughout the season. “It’s always like the kiss of death.”
While Emilien is not known for his offense, averaging 2.5 points per game, he has been Willard’s go-to option whenever he wants to give Scott and Reese some rest.
“[Emilien] is probably the most valuable player we have,” Willard said. “He not only backs up [Reese] but Donta.”
Willard said it’s going to take a collective effort from the bench to replace him but expect Maryland to use smaller lineups as well. The Terps used a lineup that featured Young, Hart, Scott and junior guards Jahari Long and Ian Martinez at times on Sunday, but Willard understands a lineup that small is not sustainable in the physical Big Ten.
“It’s tough to play small in this conference,” Willard said. “Pat had given us a great lift. He’s just steady. He’s not going to mess the game up, he’s going to defend the right way [and] knows rotations.”
Emilien’s injury also puts more pressure on Reese to stay out of foul trouble. Although Reese scored in double figures for the second straight, the former St. Frances standout picked up four fouls.
Turnovers continue to plague the Terps
While Maryland has entered a new era under Willard, some problems remain the same.
The Terps have continued to commit turnovers at a high rate. Entering Sunday’s contest, Maryland ranked fifth in the league in turnovers per game (12.4) and last in assist-to-turnover ratio (0.86).
Maryland’s mistakes doomed them against Iowa, as the streaking Hawkeyes turned 12 Maryland turnovers into 16 points.
Iowa recorded four steals in the first eight minutes of the game, allowing the Hawkeyes to establish their transition offense.
Two more costly turnovers at inopportune times cost the Terps in the second half. Trailing by six points with 13:14 left, senior guard Hakim Hart traveled, and Murray answered with a 3-pointer. Moments later, Reese traveled, and Murray scored on a layup to stretch Iowa’s lead to 55-44.
No fast-break points
Maryland’s inability to score points in transition, the key to its offensive identity, was a major factor in the loss. The Terps were outscored 15-0 in fast-break points, as the Hawkeyes did a solid job of slowing down the Terps.
In Maryland’s 80-73 win over Ohio State last week, the Terps scored 10 fast-break points and did well to turn turnovers into points. During their 14-0 run in the second against the Buckeyes, the Terps’ first six points during that stretch came off turnovers as they quickly pushed the ball down the floor.
Sunday was a different story. While Maryland totaled 13 points off Iowa’s nine turnovers, the Terps struggled to execute their fast-paced offense.
Michigan at Maryland
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