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Minnesota Blows 17-point Lead, Loses to No. 9 Maryland 74-73 in Final Seconds
February 27, 2020

Darryl Morsell’s three-pointer from the top of the key with 1.9 seconds left capped a comeback and gave Maryland a 74-73 win over Minnesota and allowed the Terrapins to maintain their two-game lead over several teams in the Big Ten.

The Gophers dominated the first half, building a 47-30 lead late in the half and holding a 16-point edge into intermission. Minnesota shot 57 percent from the floor and made 7 of 13 shots from beyond the arc. Three of the three-pointers came from Isaiah Ihmen, who got off the bench early after Alihan Demir picked up two fouls (just four seconds apart) only 51 seconds into the game. Daniel Oturu and Marcus Carr each scored 15 in the half.

Maryland was cold early and recovered enough to get its field-goal percentage up to 31 percent by the end of the half although the Terrapins made only 2 of 14 three-point attempts. It’s big man, 6-10 sophomore Jalen Smith came out after committing his second foul fewer than four minutes into the game, one that also prompted an outburst by coach Mark Turgeon that resulted in a technical foul. Smith didn’t return for nearly 12 minutes. When he did he quickly got his third foul and went back to the bench.

Even with Smith—who averages more than 10 rebounds per game—playing less than one-fourth of the half, the Terrapins outrebounded the Gophers 20-16 in the half with 11 of the rebounds coming off the offensive boards.

Maryland chipped away in the second half although the Gophers maintained a comfortable lead most of the way. Carr, who set a single-season Minnesota assist record, played all 40 minutes in the game. He scored 19 points and had 7 assists although the load on the sophomore once again took its toll on him toward the end.

Smith played all of the second half, when he had all of his game-high 12 rebounds and scored 14 of his 16 points. He didn’t pick up his fourth foul until there was only 2:02 left in the game. Maryland had gotten to within four points a couple of times, but, after Smith’s foul, Daniel Oturu made two free throws to put Minnesota ahead 72-64. Oturu led all scorers with 28 points and had 11 rebounds in the game.

Aaron Wiggins, who scored 16 off the bench, quickly connected on a three-points with an assist from Anthony Cowan, his fellow senior from Bowie, Maryland. Cowan had nine assists in the game. Cowan made two free throws to cut the Minnesota lead to 72-69 with 45 seconds left.

Maryland got the ball back on a turnover when the Gophers had trouble inbounding, and Smith tried a three-pointer that could have tied the game. He missed and Gabe Kalscheur, who got the rebound, was fouled. Kalscheur made the first but missed the second free throw, but the Gophers had a four-point lead.

Kalscheur then blocked Cowan’s shot in the paint and got the rebound. After a Minnesota time out, Marcus Carr was fouled, but he missed the front end of a one-and-one. Smith put back a missed three-pointer by Cowan with 14.5 seconds left, and Maryland took its final time out.

When play resumed, Cowan quickly fouled Kalscheur, who went to the line for a one-and-one with 12 seconds to go. He missed, Maryland rebounded, and the Terrapins raced down court. Unable to find an open shot in the corner, they swung the ball around, and Wiggins found Morsell open at the top of the key. Morsell drained the three-pointer to give the Terrapins their first lead since they were up 4-3 fewer than two minutes into the game.

Oturu outleaped Smith to take a long inbounds pass. The two collided, but Smith wasn’t called for a foul. Oturu then turned and was well short with a shot as time expired.

The Terrapins upped their conference record to 13-4 (23-5 overall). Minnesota dropped to 13-14, 7-10 in the Big Ten.

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