Gophers disappear in home loss to Maryland
MINNEAPOLIS -- Poof.
The Minnesota Gophers men’s basketball team’s momentum disappeared in a 82-67 loss to Maryland on Tuesday night, Jan. 8, at Williams Arena.
Minnesota (12-3 Big Ten, 2-2) watched its six-game winning streak disappear, a run that included a stirring 59-52 with over rival Wisconsin last week. But the U couldn’t build on it at home. The Gophers gave up an eight-point lead early in the second half to Maryland (13-3, 3-2) and suffered their first defeat at the Barn this season.
The Terrapins shot 68 percent from the field in the second half, with leading scorer Antony Cowan Jr. coming alive. Averaging 16.5 points per game coming in, he had 23 in the second half after managing four in the first.
Minnesota, which shot an anemic 39 percent from the free-throw line, fell behind 69-61 with five minutes left. Amir Coffey’s 3-pointer cut it to four, but Cowan quickly responded with a 3 of his own.
The Terps were able to seal it with the help of 89 percent shooting from the foul stripe.
Coffey, who led the Big Ten at 24 points per conference game before Tuesday, didn’t score until late in the first half. He followed a made free throw with layups on the next two possessions to extend Minnesota’s lead to 40-34 at halftime. Coffey ended with a team-high 16 points.
The Terrapins’ frontcourt features a pair 6-foot-10 post players, Bruno Fernando and Jalen Smith, lifting Maryland to a rebounding edge of 8.8 per game in Big Ten games. The Terrapins outrebounded Minnesota 39-28 for the game.
Smith, a five-star freshman recruit from Baltimore, led all scorers with 14 points in the first half. He ended with 21.
Gophers guard Gabe Kalscheur scored Minnesota’s opening seven points for a 7-6 lead in the first four minutes. He was the one effective Gopher; they as a team shot 33 percent from the field to start the game.
The Gophers warmed up to shoot 44 percent from the field in the half, with Kalscheur leading way with 10 points, including 2 of 3 from 3-point range. Kalscheur broke out of his shooting slump to keep the Gophers in it. He made three of four 3-point attempts and finished with 13 points after shooting 18 percent (6 of 34) from deep across the previous seven games.