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Hawkeyes down Maryland, win second-straight

BY DANNY PAYNE | FEBRUARY 09, 2015 5:00 AM

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There was a period in Iowa’s Sunday matinee with No. 17 Maryland when the Terrapins couldn’t buy a basket to save their lives. The offensive drought was so long it took Maryland until the 6:42 mark of the first half to reach double digits.

Aided by that ugly start from the visitors, the Iowa men’s basketball team never looked back in its 71-55 win over the 17th-ranked Terrapins in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The win moves Iowa to 15-8, 6-4 in the Big Ten.

“They came out, they were ready to go and got off to an unbelievable start,” Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon said. “Really couldn’t keep up with them defensively; they shot 60 percent, and we had a lot of turnovers in the first half.”

Like its head coach said, Maryland certainly did Iowa favors, giving the ball away 12 times in the first half, which led to 16 points for the Hawkeyes. Overall, the Terps turned the ball over 16 times and Iowa scored 20 on those instances.

For the second-straight game, Iowa shot better than 60 percent from the field, finishing at 64.3 percent. Adam Woodbury, Peter Jok, and Mike Gesell went a combined 16-of-20 for a combined 40 points.

And a large portion of that success came because the Hawkeyes moved the ball extremely well both in the half-court offense and in transition.

Gesell led the way with a career-high 9 assists, and the Hawkeyes tallied 18 as a team.

“I think we’ve gotten some transition opportunities, which is critical for us,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said after the game. “… Various people are scoring; they’re comfortable scoring the ball. They’re taking, I think, intelligent shots, and that’s what you want.”

And carrying over a theme from their win over Michigan last week, the Hawkeyes scored 38 points in the paint Sunday. That brings its total to 80 in the last two contests.

Turgeon said it was his team’s game plan to limit Iowa’s chances in the paint and at the free-throw line, but Maryland failed; Iowa totaled 50 from those places.

While Iowa played well on the offensive end, the defense was strong, too. Although it’s in a funk and has now lost three of its last five contests, holding Maryland — a team that has three players averaging more than 14 points per game — is no easy task. Even more, the Hawkeyes out-rebounded Maryland in its own end by a 25-8 margin.

Also on the defensive end came what will surely be a talking point going forward. While guarding Melo Trimble in the first half, Woodbury poked him in his right eye.

Woodbury was assessed a flagrant one, and both he and Trimble said the center apologized after the game and said the poke wasn’t intentional. Of course, Woodbury came under fire for poking Wisconsin players in the eye at Wisconsin a few weeks ago, and when asked about the incidents, McCaffery declined to answer and told the reporter to “ask an intelligent question.”

Woodbury, however, took a lighter approach after the win, saying it was a wrong-place, wrong-time type of thing.

With that aside, the win puts Iowa in prime position in terms of the NCAA Tournament. The Hawkeyes now have quality wins over North Carolina and Ohio State on the road, as well as Maryland and the Buckeyes in Carver-Hawkeye.

“We knew that we had to get a big win at home,” White said. “It’s a little extra special when they have a number next to their name like they had.”

Follow @dannyapayne on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa men’s basketball team.


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