February 17, 2016

Maryland is coming off its first-ever home loss in Big Ten play, but the first-time feat it's threatened with next might feel like more of a shock should it play out.

The sixth-ranked Terrapins will try to get back on track Thursday night at Minnesota as the Golden Gophers seek their first conference win in a matchup of teams dealing with disciplinary issues.

Maryland (22-4, 10-3) fell 70-57 to Wisconsin on Saturday after winning its first 15 home games as a member of the Big Ten. It snapped a five-game winning streak since last losing at then-No. 11 Michigan State on Jan. 23.

"The reality of it is we're 22-4. We've had a good year," coach Mark Turgeon said. "Every team goes through it. This is really probably the biggest adversity we've hit because we lost a home game. So, we'll see how we handle it."

The Terrapins will hope for that to include a return to strong perimeter defense after allowing the Badgers to hit 12 of 26 from 3-point range. That followed an eight-game stretch on which Maryland had limited opponents to 24.8 percent from long range.

"We've come a long way defensively, but we didn't play as we have recently," forward Jake Layman said.

The greater concern, however, might be the recent play of Melo Trimble. Maryland's top scorer was 1 for 14 against Wisconsin, and the sophomore guard has been limited to 9.7 points on 4-of-27 shooting - 1 of 8 from 3-point range - in the last three games.

The need for his scoring could be even greater as the Terrapins will be without No. 2 scorer Diamond Stone, who has been suspended for a game by Turgeon for his behavior against Wisconsin. The freshman center was issued a dead ball technical foul late in the first half. After Stone and Wisconsin's Vitto Brown went to the floor underneath the basket, Stone pushed Brown's face onto the court after they became untangled.

"I regret that I let the emotions of the game get the best of me," said Stone, who is averaging 12.8 points and 5.4 rebounds and has started the last six games. "I let my team down and I accept full responsibility for my actions."

The Golden Gophers (6-19, 0-13) will be without Carlos Morris for much longer after dismissing the swingman Wednesday for conduct detrimental to the team. Morris was Minnesota's fourth-leading scorer at 9.8 points a game and made 16 starts, though there are larger concerns among the Gophers.

Their worst start ever in conference play is part of a 14-game overall skid, the likes of which the program hasn't seen since dropping 16 in a row in 1986-87.

That said, after Sunday's 75-71 loss at No. 4 and conference-leading Iowa, seven of Minnesota's last eight defeats have been by eight points or fewer.

"Now is not the time to crush them, but to be there for them," coach Richard Pitino said. "I really can't worry about yesterday. I can't worry about the future. I just have to worry about here and now and just be there for my guys."

Top scorer Nate Mason is averaging 17.3 points over the last seven games, but he's 4 of 25 from 3-point range in his last five. The Gophers have hit 19.5 percent from long range in that time.

Maryland began the series as conference foes with a 70-58 home win Jan. 3, 2015 to improve to 5-0 all-time against Minnesota. Trimble scored 20, while the dismissed Morris had 18 for the Gophers.

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