COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) – Maryland will be in rebound mode against Iowa on Thursday night – in more ways than one.
Coming off a 74-65 loss Saturday at Michigan State, the No. 8 Terrapins will seek to bounce back at home against third-ranked Iowa in a pivotal Big Ten matchup.
Maryland (17-3, 6-2) is 9-0 following a loss over the past two seasons. To keep that streak intact, the Terrapins almost certainly will have to rebound better than they have in their past two games.
In an overtime win against Northwestern on Jan. 19, Maryland gave up 16 offensive rebounds and finished with 18 fewer shots. Michigan State grabbed 17 misfires off the offensive glass and outrebounded the Terrapins 46-36 overall.
”It’s a combination of everything,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said Wednesday. ”We haven’t boxed out well, we’ve been outhustled for some. The Michigan State game, there were three or four that just bounced in their direction. But that’s an excuse. We’ve got to do better on the boards.”
Against the Spartans, guards Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon each grabbed seven rebounds, but frontcourt starters Jake Layman, Robert Carter Jr. and Damonte Dodd combined for seven boards.
That probably won’t cut it against Iowa (16-3, 7-0).
”We’ve been trying to work on it,” Layman said. ”It’s a very fixable thing. It’s not like the whole team is shooting terribly. It’s just about boxing out for us right now and rebounding on the defensive end.”
Sometimes, it’s more about grit than technique.
”What it comes down to is just being tougher than the other guy,” Layman said. ”Against Michigan State, we definitely weren’t the tougher one.”
Turgeon knows the Terrapins need to crash the boards to have a chance of ending Iowa’s nine-game winning streak.
”Rebounding has definitely been an issue the last two games. It’s something we continue to address, continue to work on,” he said. ”Our guards are rebounding a little bit better. Hopefully our big guys can do a little bit better job of creating space and getting rebounds this game.”
Maryland is 29-1 at home since the start of last season, including 13-0 in the Big Ten. The Terrapins are currently in the third place in the conference behind Iowa and Indiana (7-1).
A loss in this one would seriously damage Maryland’s bid to earn the top seed in the Big Ten tournament.
”I’ll never say this early in the year it’s a must-win,” Turgeon insisted. ”We’ll be fired up to play. We’ll be prepared to play. It’s a great opportunity for us, playing a team that’s playing as well as any anybody in the country. Just killing teams. A lot of games aren’t really close.”
Iowa has won six of its seven league games by double figures, including an 83-71 victory against Purdue on Sunday in which the Hawkeyes rallied from a 17-point halftime deficit.
”This is a game for us to bounce back and hopefully to get a win against a great team like Iowa, which has been dominating the league so far,” Trimble said. ”We know going into this game they’re more talked about more than us – they’re even ranked higher than us. So it’s a great opportunity.”