Gophers fall to No. 24 Maryland
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- No. 24 Maryland snapped its two-game losing streak with a 69-60 win over Minnesota in their Big Ten regular season finale on Friday night, March 8, in College Park
Point guard Anthony Cowan Jr. led the Terrapins (22-9, 13-7) with 21 points, 12 in the first half, as Maryland took charge early behind a strong defensive effort.
Freshman Jalen Smith added 19 points and 11 rebounds, hitting a career-high three 3-pointers. Fellow 6-10 Terrapin Bruno Fernando had his 20th double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Minnesota (19-12, 9-11) shot just 38.2 percent (21-of-55) from the field and was outrebounded 40-32. The Terrapins had a 36-18 edge in points in the paint, and their defense converted 13 Minnesota turnovers into 18 points.
Maryland led by as many as 22 points when Darryl Morsell hit a 3-pointer off the feed from Cowan with 13:03 left in the second half.
Amir Coffey led the Gophers with 23 points, and he also chipped in six assists.
Minnesota missed out on a chance to record back-to-back wins over ranked opponents for the first time since 1993, coming off Monday's 73-69 upset of No. 11 Purdue. The Gophers had won two straight games and likely all but clinched an NCAA Tournament at-large berth.
Minnesota will play Thursday at the Big Ten Conference Tournament at United Center in Chicago, though their seed is still undetermined.
The Terrapins, picked seventh in the preseason conference poll, kept alive hopes for a fourth-place finish and the double bye in the Big Ten Tournament that goes with it.
Maryland needs Michigan State to beat Michigan and Purdue to win at Northwestern on Saturday and Wisconsin to lose at Ohio State on Sunday. Otherwise the Terrapins are locked into the No. 5 seed and will also play Thursday.
Maryland's defense held the Gophers in check in the first half, limiting Minnesota to 7-of-26 (26.9 percent) shooting and forcing eight turnovers.
The Terrapins led 34-22 at the break after opening as much as a 15-point lead, 34-19, in the first half. Dupree McBrayer drained a 3-pointer with six seconds left to pull Minnesota closer.
Cowan had seven points as Maryland ran out to a 9-4 lead. It was 15-6 after Smith hit back-to-back 3-pointers. While Minnesota was cold the whole first half, Maryland cooled off, too, missing 12 of its last 13 shots in the first half.