As the final horn sounded Saturday evening at Xfinity Center, one thing became clear.
Maryland is playing its way onto the Tournament bubble.
On a day when the 2001 Final Four and 2002 National Championship teams were honored during halftime, the Terps faltered yet again in the second half as they fell to Iowa 83-59.
Poor second-half play has become commonplace for Maryland down the stretch of the season as they have not outscored their opponent in the final 20 minutes in each of their past eight games. Now after losing four of their last six games, the team is in danger of falling out of the top four seeds in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament which would mean they would not get the coveted double-bye.
What made Saturday’s loss more troublesome is that Iowa implored a zone defense that frustrated Maryland to the tune of 11-34 shooting from three-point range including Melo Trimble and Kevin Huerter going a combined 4-17.
“The zone keeps everything in front of you”, said Iowa Head Coach Fred McCaffery. “They were taking a long time to shoot the ball, which is what we wanted.”
Meanwhile, Iowa shot a blistering 16-26 from deep led by Freshman Jordan Bohannon who’s 24 points were a game high. All eight of Bohannon’s made baskets came from three-point territory.
Iowa also outrebounded Maryland 38-33 including 15-11 on the offensive glass. The Hawkeyes turned those 15 offensive rebounds into a 30-6 advantage in second-chance points.
Terps have two games left to get out of this slump before the conference tournament. Maryland Head Coach Mark Turgeon feels that his team needs to play with more positive energy and confidence again. “We need a little bit more positive energy in our team moving forward, a little bit more confidence,” said the fifth-year coach. “We need to get that back It’s up to me to figure out how to do it.”
If the Terps don’t find that confidence, everything they’ve built to get off to the best start in school history will go down the drain and will have them sweating it out come Selection Sunday.
Greg Watkins is a reporter and producer for CBS Radio Baltimore. He covers Maryland men’s and women’s basketball for Baltimore’s 105.7 The Fan. You can follow Greg on Twitter @gregwatkins830