It turns out that counting on a third straight miracle shot isn’t a sustainable way to win basketball games and the Hawkeyes found that out the hard way, falling to the #24 Maryland Terrapins 66-65.
The first half was what we’ll call a “basketball-like substance.” Iowa scored a whopping 23 points on 8/27 shooting (29.6%) and were a dismal 2/10 from three-point range. The team looked unprepared, sluggish and sloppy, as they turned the ball over eight times. We’re not even talking forced turnovers. We’re talking Jordan Bohannon was just having an off day and throwing the ball away turnovers.
Despite their horrendous offensive performance, the Hawkeyes played strong defense and got big forward Bruno Fernando into foul trouble early. It was their relentless defense that forced seven first half Terrapin turnovers and held them to 27 points.
It was only a matter of time, though, before Anthony Cowan and the Terps started hitting from deep. And honestly, that was the difference in the game. Cowan went 5/10 from three. Eric Ayala went 3/6. Overall, Maryland made 12/28 of their three-point attempts. If you look at Maryland’s stats you’d see that their three-point shooting percentage, 42.9, was actually better than their overall FG%, 41.5.
Iowa, on the other hand, shot a poor 8/26 (30.8%) from three. The difference in three-point shooting was how the Terps opened up a 12-point lead over the Hawkeyes with 13:44 left in the game.
Of course, Iowa wasn’t just going to sit there and take it. Over the next ten minutes they’d chip away at the Maryland lead, thanks to Bohannon’s three-point magic, a thunderous Tyler Cook dunk and some old fashioned free-throw shooting. Somehow, despite the improbability and general offensive awfulness, Iowa cut the deficit to 60-58 with 2:37 remaining in the game. Following a Fernando miss, Iowa got the ball to Nicholas Baer who made a clutch three-pointer to give the Hawkeyes a 61-60 lead.
The final minute of the contest was about as exciting as it gets. Holding onto a 63-62 lead, Bohannon launched a three-pointer that I would’ve bet my house was going in. It’s good that I didn’t, though, as I’d be homeless. Maryland got the rebound and the possession ended with Fernando getting fouled and making both of his free throws to take a 64-63 lead. With 17 seconds left in the game the ball went to Bohannon who got fouled and made both free throws, giving the Hawkeyes a 65-64 edge.
With the game on the line, Maryland went to their veteran guard in Anthony Cowan, who drove to the hoop...and missed. Unfortunately for the Hawkeyes, Fernando was there and tipped the ball in to give the Terps a 66-65 lead.
And so, once again, the Hawkeyes needed some magic. Tonight, luck ran out. With seven seconds on the clock, Bohannon drove down the court and launched a contested three (he was probably fouled and thought he was fouled) that bounced off the rim and into the hands of Moss who got another a jumper off (he was definitely fouled, just ask Jordan) that clanked and that’s all she wrote, folks. Iowa loses 66-65.
With the loss, Iowa falls to 20-6 overall and 9-6 in the Big Ten. The greater implication for this game was the double bye in the Big Ten Tournament, as Maryland is now fourth in the standings and holds the tiebreaker over Iowa. The Hawkeyes will have a steep hill to climb if they want to work their way into the top of the field along with Michigan, Michigan State, and Purdue.
Fortunately, their next three games home against Indiana, at Ohio State and home against Rutgers. All three are winnable. Bounce back against the Hoosiers on Friday night (8:15 PM CT, FS1).