September 27, 2022

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No. 17 Gophers fall to Maryland at home 63-49

5 min read

Late in the first half Saturday, the cheering from Maryland’s bench gave their teammates on the court a spark and could be heard echoing throughout an empty Williams Arena.

The Terrapins already sensed an upset against the No. 17 Gophers bringing more energy to the building.

Minnesota’s players looked lifeless and surprised how poorly they were playing at home where they had beaten four ranked opponents this season.

The Gophers might have been able to get energy from a packed crowd in a normal year at Williams Arena. They couldn’t overcome a flat start Saturday afternoon to fall 63-49 against unranked Maryland, the U’s first home loss of the season.

The Gophers (11-5, 4-5 in the Big Ten) are still an impressive 11-1 at home this season, but they lost any momentum built after an upset over No. 7 Michigan a week earlier at the Barn.

After pulling off wins at Wisconsin and at Illinois earlier this season, the Terrapins (10-7, 3-6 in the Big Ten) beat a third ranked opponent on the road for the first time in school history.

In the first half, Maryland jumped out to a 17-3 lead after Eric Ayala’s three-pointer capped a 12-1 run. The Gophers cut it to a three-point deficit with Marcus Carr’s back-to-back layups with 6 ½ minutes left before halftime, but that would be the closest they would get Saturday.

Carr, the Big Ten’s fourth leading scorer, finished with 25 points on 8-for-14 shooting, but rest of the Gophers shot just 6-for-32 shooting from the field. They shot 24 % from the field in the second half.

Coming off a 22-point performance in the 75-57 win against the Wolverines, Minnesota’s 7-footer Liam Robbins struggled to make his presence felt with just six points and two rebounds in 22 minutes against an undersized Maryland front line.

The Terrapins starting center was 6-7 Donta Scott, but they also had four guards 6-5 or taller in their lineup that created havoc defensively for Robbins and company.

Robbins had to leave the game with his fourth foul with 17:56 to play. He picked up three fouls in a quick two-minute stretch early in the second half.

The Gophers pulled within 41-35 after Brandon Johnson’s three-point play on a fouled dunk three minutes later, but the rally was short lived. Robbins fouled out with Maryland leading 56-44 at the 4:41 mark.

Richard Pitino’s team expected to play earlier in the week at Nebraska on Wednesday, but the game was postponed due to the Cornhuskers having more COVID-19 positive cases.

Nearly a week off helped the Gophers rest and show up with more spirit in the rematch against the Wolverines, but the time off backfired this week.

Now Pitino will find out if his team can finally win away from home after going 0-4 so far this season. The Gophers, who join Nebraska as the only two Big Ten teams with zero conference road wins, play back-to-back road games Jan. 30 at Purdue and Feb. 4 at Rutgers.

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