Monday February 9th, 2015

Maryland probably can’t wait to return to College Park. The team that once looked so dangerous in the Big Ten can’t seem to find any luck on the road these days.
On Sunday the No. 17 Terrapins suffered a 71-55 loss at Iowa, and the game wasn’t that close. They shot a dismal 36.7 percent from the field and gave up the ball 16 times.
Maryland’s trips away from the friendly confines of College Park have suddenly become a form of Big Ten kryptonite. Since starting the year 14-1 overall, Maryland has now lost four of its last five road games. If coach Mark Turgeon’s squad can’t regain its moxie away from home, the Big Ten tournament and NCAA tournament could be an uphill battle.
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The Terps were a hot mess through 20 minutes of basketball on Sunday. Iowa built a 40-17 lead at halftime by shooting 61 percent (14-of-23) from the floor. Maryland, meanwhile, had twice as many turnovers (12) as made shots (six) at intermission. Leading scorer Melo Trimble contributed 13 of the Terrapins’ ugly total of 17 points at half.
Maryland’s offense gained some ground in the second half, scoring 38 points and hitting 48 percent of its shots. But its defense couldn’t keep Iowa’s efficient offense (No. 23 in the country, per KenPom) from pulling away. The Hawkeyes connected on 64 percent of their shots and dished out 17 assists. Aaron White paced the effort with 17 points and eight rebounds.
Now the Terrapins head back home in search of a winning recipe away from College Park. If there was one good sign from Sunday’s performance, it was Trimble, who bounced back from his own struggles on the road to score 20 points. Maryland’s fabulous freshman entered the weekend having hit only 4-of-17 of his field goals in his last two road games. For now, that's a good sign for Trimble.

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But Trimble didn’t get much help against Iowa. Aside from Dez Wells, who chipped in 12 points, no other Terp contributed more than five points. Perhaps more importantly, Maryland’s defense simply hasn’t shown up away from home in recent weeks. Its last three road opponents -- Indiana, Ohio State and Iowa -- have averaged 56 percent shooting from the floor and scored 80 points per game. Not surprisingly, the Terrapins lost all three of those games.

Maryland fans have to be frustrated with a team that shows plenty of potential. Turgeon’s program joins Ohio State and Michigan State as the only Big Ten teams to rank in KenPom’s top 60 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. The Terps boast wins over Michigan State (twice), Iowa State and Oklahoma State. Trimble is one of the most electric freshmen in the country. When Maryland is clicking, there’s a lot to like about this team on both ends of the floor.
But the Terrapins won’t get far if they can’t handle road environments, and that becomes especially true in tournament play. The Big Ten Tournament takes place at the United Center in Chicago while Maryland could land in a number of locations for the Big Dance.
This team has proven it can play balanced basketball. But it needs to do that on the road to truly become a threat in March.

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