Three takeaways from Maryland men’s basketball loss to No. 5 Iowa

(Photo Courtesy of Iowa Athletics.)

In a league as competitive and talented as the Big Ten almost no win comes easy — for Maryland, at least. Iowa struggled for about eight minutes before it cruised to an 89-67 obliteration of the Terps. 

Luka Garza and friends had their easiest win of the season, while Maryland was dealt its third straight loss and perhaps its most glaring of the season. 

Here are my three takeaways from Maryland’s (6-6, 1-5 B1G) loss against Iowa (10-2, 4-1 B1G). 

Maryland’s offense was great until it wasn’t.

The first eight minutes for Maryland were clinical. 

“I thought we made huge strides in the first eight minutes of the game … and we looked good,” head coach Mark Turgeon said. 

But they were still just eight minutes. Although the Terps jumped out to a 19-9 lead and shot extremely efficiently while doing so, it didn’t take long for the Hawkeyes to assert themselves. Maryland’s pristine ball movement, efficient three-point shooting and solid ball protection all disappeared in the final 13 minutes of the opening half and Maryland was punished. 

“I didn’t like the way we finished the first half,” Turgeon said. “Maybe we could’ve had a little more confidence if we made a few shots.”

While Maryland was missing 11 consecutive field goals, Iowa’s offensive attack decisively woke up and took the game for themselves. The Hawkeyes bench led the charge that put Iowa on top once and for all, which gave Garza the opportunity to post 12 points and put the finishing touches on Iowa’s significant first half lead. 

Following their 19-9 lead at 12:51, the Terps only managed to convert three field goals and committed eight turnovers, allowing a 35-7 Hawkeye run to close the first half down 44-26. Despite nearly outscoring their opponent in the second half, the Terps were already buried in an impossibly deep hole. Maryland made eight threes and shot 40% from the field in the final period as Iowa pranced towards its 10th win of the season. 

Aaron Wiggins is staying aggressive. 

After posting a career high 22 points at Bloomington, Wiggins dropped 17 more in another loss against Iowa. The junior guard began the year passively, displaying his improved court vision and basketball IQ, but as his services became more necessary, Wiggins became increasingly willing to play more aggressive on the offensive end. Rather than waiting for the ball to come to him, Wiggins has been more keen on having the ball in his hands and creating shots for himself. Against Iowa, Wiggins was the best on the floor for Maryland on offense. Turnaround jumpers, putbacks, tough finishes — all while shooting 50% from the field. He is the best scorer on the team when he wants to be and Thursday’s Iowa matchup is further evidence of that. 

Send a search party for Jairus Hamilton. Maryland needs more from him on offense. 

Jairus Hamilton has been abnormally quiet recently. Hamilton typically provides great shooting off the bench and has been incredibly useful for Maryland’s offense when the ball is moving. But recently, the junior big has made two field goals in ten attempts in Maryland’s last two outings and the Terps’ offense has been just as frigid in that stretch. Hamilton is far from the answer for Maryland’s offensive woes. However, his shot making ability is essential for the team’s offensive production. 

With Hamilton leading the second unit alongside Hakim Hart, this offense tends to be more consistent. Obviously, the injury of Darryl Morsell has crippled much of this team’s depth and scoring ability down the stretch. But Hamilton’s 40% three-point percentage on the season is one of the best marks in the league and if he can get back into form — like he was against Michigan — it’s probably safe to assume Maryland’s offense will follow.