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Maryland men’s basketball upsets No. 17 Minnesota, 63-49, for third road win over top-25 opponent

Maryland's Eric Ayala (5) drives on Minnesota's Marcus Carr in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021, in Minneapolis. Maryland won 63-49. Ayala led his team with 21 points while Carr led Minnesota with 25 points. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Maryland's Eric Ayala (5) drives on Minnesota's Marcus Carr in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021, in Minneapolis. Maryland won 63-49. Ayala led his team with 21 points while Carr led Minnesota with 25 points. (AP Photo/Jim Mone) (Jim Mone/AP)

Junior guard Eric Ayala scored a team-high 21 and sophomore forward Donta Scott (15 points, 11 rebounds) recorded his third career double double as the Maryland men’s basketball team upset No. 17 Minnesota, 63-49, at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Saturday.

The victory marks the first time in program history the Terps have recorded three road wins against Associated Press Top-25 opponents in one season. The win also gave the Gophers their first loss at home this season. Minnesota entered the game 11-0.

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Maryland held Minnesota to 30.4% shooting from the field, the Gophers’ second-worst shooting performance this season in Big Ten Conference play. Minnesota’s 49 points are the fewest Maryland has allowed in a game in this season.

The Terps shot 42.2% from the field and made eight of 23 3-point attempts. Maryland also shot 17-for-29 from the free-throw line.

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“We locked in defensively from the first possession,” coach Mark Turgeon said. “Guys were dialed into the game plan.”

A 12-1 run by the Terps gave them a 17-3 lead with 12:19 remaining in the first half. But Maryland (9-7, 3-6 Big Ten) turned the ball over on six of its next seven possessions, and a 9-0 run by Minnesota (11-5, 4-5) cut the lead to three with 6:31 left, prompting Turgeon to call a timeout.

The Terps responded with six straight points to push the lead back to nine.

Sophomore guard Hakim Hart (five points, three rebounds, three blocks) made three free throws right before halftime after getting fouled on a jump shot, giving Maryland a 36-27 lead at the half.

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A 3-pointer by junior forward Jairus Hamilton (seven points) broke a streak of five minutes without a field goal and gave Maryland a 55-41 lead with 6:17 remaining.

The Terps never trailed in the game and despite shooting 28.6% from the field in the second half, they held Minnesota to 24% shooting in the second.

Gophers center Liam Robbins (six points) fouled out with 4:41 remaining as Maryland spaced the floor and attacked him throughout the game. The 7-footer picked up three fouls in a span of about two minutes early in the second half and played just five minutes after halftime, a boon for the typically undersized Terps.

“Today we came out, we played small. We had five guards on the court,” senior guard Darryl Morsell (Mount Saint Joseph). “And we had Donta running off screens. It was Eric and [junior guard] Aaron [Wiggins] setting screens for Donta. So we can play a lot of different ways.”

Guard Marcus Carr scored a game-high 25 points, the only Minnesota player to score double figures.

After coming off the bench on Tuesday against No. 7 Michigan following a two-game absence because of a groin injury, Ayala returned to the starting lineup. Hart, who has received more point-guard duties in recent games, remained in the starting lineup, while senior forward Galin Smith (three points) came off the bench. Ayala and Hart joined Scott, Wiggins and Morsell in the starting lineup, giving the Terps a smaller, four-guard lineup that was unfazed even as Maryland has come up short against bigger teams in conference play

“We started the small lineup. I started five veteran guys that were here last year, just looking for a spark, looking for something to get us going,” Turgeon said.

NO. 10 WISCONSIN@MARYLAND

Wednesday, 9 p.m.

TV: BTN Radio: 105.7 FM, 1300 AM

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