The Maryland Terrapins have mercilessly ended the Gopher basketball season with a 70-56 win in the 2nd round of the Big Ten Tournament.
Minnesota had impressive performances from Pharrel Payne and Braden Carrington off the bench as they led the team with 17 and 12 points respectively. But their primary scorers Jamison Battle and Dawson Garcia combined for just 8 points and shot 0/5 from three, which certainly did not help as they tried to upset the 6-seeded Terrapins.
Maryland was led by Donta Scott who scored more than half of his team’s points in the first half and then continued to be a problem for the Gopher defense in the second. His 20 points and 5 rebounds paced the Terrapins Thursday night.
Many of the same issues that have plagued the Gophers all season were on display last night as well. Turning the ball over on 24% of their possessions, giving up 38% of their defensive rebounds and really struggling defensively; all contributed to the loss.
With all of that said, there have been some encouraging signs over the last 2 weeks of the season, especially with the 4 core freshmen. Carrington had maybe his best game of the season last night while also showing some really nice on-the-ball defense. Payne, over his last 6 games, shot 80% from the field while averaging 12.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Josh Ola-Joseph was averaging nearly 10 points per game in the month of February. And Jaden Henley averaged over 9 ppg and shot 7/9 from three over his last 7 games. All are very encouraging signs.
But in this 2022-23 season, Maryland was clearly the better team. They withstood a couple of early Gopher runs but effectively maintained control throughout. Up next for them is Indiana in the Big Ten Tourney quarterfinals.