MINNEAPOLIS (AP)Darryl Morsell drained the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left for No. 9 Maryland, capping a comeback from a 16-point halftime deficit to beat Minnesota 74-73 on Wednesday night.
Jalen Smith had 16 points and 12 rebounds, including a soaring rebound and slam with 14.5 seconds remaining that pulled the Terrapins within 73-71. Gabe Kalscheur short-armed the front end of a one-and-one free throw with 12 seconds to go for the Gophers, who missed three foul shots in the final 39 seconds. Then the Terrapins hustled the ball up to find Morsell, who had 13 points and nine rebounds, for the winner from NBA range.
Aaron Wiggins scored 16 points and Anthony Cowan Jr. had 10 points, nine assists and six rebounds for Maryland (23-5, 13-4), which maintained a two-game lead for first place in the Big Ten with three games to go.
Daniel Oturu had 28 points and 11 rebounds and Marcus Carr added 19 points and seven assists for Minnesota (13-14, 7-10), which saw its NCAA Tournament hope all but disappear with a third straight excruciating home defeat.
The Terrapins missed seven of eight shots in the closing stretch, until Smith’s dunk. Missing 12 of their first 13 tries from 3-point range, they trailed by as many as 17 points in the first half and still by 16 points with 15:55 to go on Kalscheur’s 3-pointer that made it 54-38.
The Gophers, who faltered late in their last two home contests against Iowa and Indiana by, let another opponent climb back in the game with a shooting dropoff and some unforced turnovers. Wiggins intercepted a cross-court pass by Carr and went the other way for a one-handed slam, bringing Maryland within 66-62. That was the closest the Terrapins had been since 6-4.
Oturu made two free throws to push the lead back to 72-64 with 2:06 left, but Wiggins answered with a 3-pointer. Kalscheur fouled Cowan, who made two foul shots to bring Maryland within 72-69 with 45 seconds to go, and a backcourt turnover by Minnesota under heavy pressure gave the Terrapins the chance to tie.
Smith’s 3-pointer clanged off the rim, and Kalscheur grabbed the rebound. He made one of two free throws and blocked Cowan’s shot on the other end with 29 seconds left, seemingly putting the Gophers in safe mode.
Entering the game with the worst field-goal percentage in Big Ten play – and second-worst from 3-point range – the Gophers had their outside shooting in a groove from the opening tip. Carr swished a 3-pointer on the opening possession, and off they went from there.
Ihnen, a lanky freshman from Germany who has worked his way into significant playing time lately, made his first three 3-point attempts, the last of which, from the wing, put Minnesota up 21-8.
After Maryland missed three times at the rim, Carr went the other way on the fast break and found Jarvis Omersa for an alley-oop that ignited the crowd, gave Minnesota a 23-12 lead and put Carr in a tie with Arrriel McDonald for the program’s all-time single-season assist mark. Carr made the record his own a little later, with 182.
The Terrapins, meanwhile, were all out of sorts. Coach Mark Turgeon was whistled for a technical less than four minutes in for arguing Smith’s second foul. Cowan was teed up, too, after he made a layup, crash-landed against the stanchion under the basket and kicked in frustration at a cameraman after his feet were tangled in the cord.
Cowan, the senior point guard who has developed into one of the best players in the country, started his 127th consecutive game to set the all-time program record. He passed Keith Booth (1993-97).
Maryland: Cowan had his second consecutive quiet game, going just 2 for 15 from the floor to fall to 3 for 19 over his last two contests. Wiggins, the sophomore shooting guard, came through again off the bench. He had 20 points on 7-for-15 shooting at Ohio State on Sunday.
Minnesota: After being outscored 11-0 over the final 5 1/2 minutes in a 58-55 loss to Iowa, blowing a 10-point first-half lead in a 68-56 loss to Indiana and now this, the Gophers have not only spoiled their season but put the future of coach Richard Pitino in question. They’ve made the NCAA Tournament twice in his first six seasons.
Maryland: Hosts No. 24 Michigan State on Saturday night. The Terrapins beat the Spartans 67-60 on the road on Feb. 15. Maryland is 15-0 at home. The last time the team went undefeated at home was the 2001-02 season, when the Terps won the national championship.
Minnesota: Plays at Wisconsin on Sunday evening. The Gophers beat the Badgers 70-52 at home on Feb. 5. They’re 2-8 on the road this season.
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