Iowa City, IA (SportsNetwork.com) - With their sights set firmly on first place in the Big Ten Conference, the 17th-ranked Maryland Terrapins visit Carver-Hawkeye Arena for the first time ever when they battle the Iowa Hawkeyes on Sunday afternoon.
Maryland has certainly made its presence known in this, its first season as a member of the Big Ten, logging a 19-4 overall record, which includes a 7-3 league ledger. The Terps knocked off visiting Penn State on Wednesday, 64-58, giving the team a split of its last four games. UM is just 3-3 in true road tests, having lost its last two on enemy hardwood.
Iowa is fresh off a 72-54 win at Michigan, that coming on Thursday, and it was important for the Hawkeyes as they put the brakes on a three-game slide. As a result, UI owns a 14-8 overall record, and it is just 5-4 in conference. The Hawkeyes are 10-3 at home this season, but they've lost two of their last three at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
This bout marks only the fourth meeting between these two teams, with Maryland having won two of the first three. The most recent encounter took place in the semifinals of the 2013 NIT, with the Terps prevailing in a 71-60 final.
Dez Wells was on fire in Maryland's recent win over Penn State, as he hit 8- of-10 field goal attempts, including a pair of 3-pointers, and went 5-of-6 from the free-throw line in tallying a game-high 23 points. Wells also grabbed seven rebounds, helping the Terrapins claim a 38-29 edge on the glass. Jake Layman chipped in 10 points and pulled down nine boards for a Maryland squad that shot 44.2 percent from the floor, but just 20 percent from 3-point range. The Terps' defensive effort allowed the Nittany Lions just 38.6 percent success on their field goal attempts, and they went 6-of-22 beyond the arc.
Melo Trimble, who missed all five of his field goal tries and finished with a mere four points in the recent win over Penn State, leads Maryland in scoring this season with 15.2 ppg. Trimble is also the team's primary playmaker with 70 assists, and he is joined in double figures by Wells (14.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg) and Layman (14.0 ppg, 6.9 rpg). The team as a whole has excelled at both ends of the court, as it generates 71.4 ppg due in large part to its 37 percent performance out on the perimeter and 74 percent showing at the free-throw line. At the same, time the Terrapins permit 63.5 ppg, with foes shooting just 39.5 percent from the floor, and only 31.1 percent of their long-range launches have found the bottom of the net.
Jarrod Uthoff scored 16 points to lead all five starters in double figures, as Iowa trounced Michigan in Ann Arbor on Thursday night. Mike Gesell tacked on 14 points, Aaron White 13, Adam Woodbury 11 and Peter Jok 10 for the Hawkeyes, who drained a sizzling 62.7 percent of their total shots, but only 4-of-11 3- point attempts. They also went just 4-of-6 at the foul line, but controlled the boards to the tune of a 33-17 advantage. Both teams took very good care of the basketball, as each was guilty of only six miscues. Adding to their dominance on the inside, Iowa outscored Michigan in the paint by a whopping 42-16 margin, while holding the Wolverines to 40.4 percent accuracy from the floor overall, which encompassed a 7-of-24 showing from distance.
White and Uthoff are the only two players currently averaging double figures in the scoring column for the Hawkeyes, as they net 15.0 and 11.6 ppg, respectively. Both sit atop the team's rebounding list as well, with White grabbing 6.5 rpg and Uthoff 6.4. Overall, the team is putting up 69.2 ppg while allowing 62.9 ppg, and while the Hawkeyes haven't been overly efficient with their shot selection (.427 FG percentage, .319 3-point FG percentage), they have made up for it by limiting the opposition to just 40.0 percent success from the field, which includes a 32.0 percent effort from 3-point land. Iowa is among the Big Ten leaders in free-throw percentage (.740).