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Gophers pull away to beat Terps 89-75

Ivan Bender led Maryland with 15 points, but was held to only three points in the second half.

It’s been a troubling run down the stretch for the Maryland Terrapins men’s basketball team. The Terps suffered their second-straight loss and fourth loss in six games on Wednesday as they fell to the visiting Minnesota Golden Gophers, 89-75.

The Gophers made half of their shots in the game and hit eight 3-pointers to gain the victory. While Minnesota was never really able to put the Terps away until the final minutes of the game, Maryland just couldn’t hit the bit shot when they needed to.

“We had some good looks. Missed some [shots and weren’t able to penetrate the way we wanted,” Terps head coach Mark Turgeon said. “We weren’t able to score around the basket the way we wanted a ton. [Minnesota is] good. They’re long, they’re athletic. I do think we got sped up. We came down and got sped up on three or four possessions. We’ll be better.”

Maryland’s top quartet of Melo Trimble, Kevin Huerter, Anthony Cowan and Justin Jackson went just a combined 14-for-45 from the floor in the game and only 5-for-23 from 3-point range in the game. Trimble and Cowan both scored 11 points, but mostly off volume instead of efficiency.

The one true bright spot for the Terps was Ivan Bender. With center Michael Cekovsky having been lost for the season with a fractured ankle in their game against Wisconsin on Sunday, Bender stepped up and led Maryland with 15 points on 7-for-10 shooting, but just didn’t have enough help.

After a back-and-forth and closely-contested first half, Maryland looked to be doing the things they needed to do to win. They outscored Minnesota 26-18 in the paint, shot and had big scoring efforts from Bender (12 first half points) and Jaylen Brantley (eight first-half points) from off the bench. They also out-rebounded Minnesota 24-16 in the first half.

But in the second half, the Terps bench totaled only seven points as Bender was held to just three and Brantley was shutout. Maryland was out-rebounded 20-18 in the second half and the Golden Gophers ended up outscoring the Terps in the paint, 22-18.

Things still remained close and competitive for most of the second half and with 9:10 remaining in the game, Cowan made it a one-point game at 61-60 with Minnesota ahead after two made free throws. But then Minnesota made their move.

A jumper by Dupree McBrayer sparked a nine-point Minnesota run to give them a 70-60 lead with 6:24 left. Cowan snapped the run with a fast-break layup off a steal by Trimble, but Minnesota scored another five points in a row. Maryland missed five shots in a row in that stretch. Turgeon was issued a technical foul as well.

“I just feel like we need to space the floor more a little bit,” Brantley said. “We need to give Melo more ball screens toward the end of the game, have everybody spread out and give everybody a lot of confidence. We just need to calm down and play like we’ve been playing all year. We’ve been playing great all season. We just can’t panic right now.”

A layup by Bender made it a 77-66 game with 2:08 remaining. Given the Terps history this season, they still had plenty of hope for a comeback, but down the stretch, the Golden Gophers went 8-for-9 from the foul line and got a three-point play by Amir Coffey to stay ahead by double-digits.

Maryland will remain at home on Saturday as they host Iowa at 6 pm in hopes of getting off their skid.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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