Maryland Basketball: Rasheed Sulaimon Leads Terps to Win Over No. 3 Iowa

Jan 28, 2016; College Park, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins guard Rasheed Sulaimon (0) reacts after defeating Iowa Hawkeyes 74-69 at Xfinity Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 28, 2016; College Park, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins guard Rasheed Sulaimon (0) reacts after defeating Iowa Hawkeyes 74-69 at Xfinity Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

Maryland basketball won the biggest game in their brief history in the Big Ten Conference with a 74-68 win over No. 3 Iowa on Thursday.

The No. 8 Maryland Terrapins got their signature win of the season by defeating the No.3 Iowa Hawkeyes, led Rasheed Sulaimon and Robert Carter with 17 apiece. The two transfer players also combined for 11 rebounds and nine assists as the XFINITY Center was rocking in College Park.

The Terps defense on Iowa forward Jarrod Uthoff was great all night as they limited him to 9 points on the night. Jake Layman was the primary defender on Uthoff all night and held him to 2-of-13 from the field.

Iowa scored the opening bucket of the game, but Melo Trimble immediately countered with a three as the Terps jumped out to an early lead. Maryland controlled most of the early stages of the game until a 10-2 Iowa run tied the game at 19. Sulaimon hit one from beyond the arc that broke the tie for his first basket of the night.

Not only was the Duke transfer effective from deep, but he had four assists and played solid defensively. He found Diamond Stone for easy dunks driving to the basket on multiple occasions. He made one bad play, as Ahmad Wagner stole a bad pass from Sulaimon and Wagner’s layup gave Iowa a 29-28 lead. That is when the Terps went on an 11-2 run that was the difference maker on the night.

Sulaimon made up for the turnover with a three with 4:42 remaining to give Maryland a 31-29 lead. Trimble hit another three on the next possession. Sulaimon hit one more to take a 39-31 advantage.

Uthoff did not make a field goal in the first half, scoring three points at the free-throw line. Carter and Layman limited him to 0-5 shooting in the first 20 minutes. Uthoff got his first field goal off his own offensive rebound and Peter Jok hit a three-pointer to cut the Terps lead to 41-40 early in the second half. Uthoff found Adam Woodbury for an easy layup that got the Hawkeyes out in front, 42-41. 

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Carter scored four straight to get Maryland back in front and the defense held Iowa without a basket for five minutes. The teams would trade baskets back and forth, but it was a defensive battle for most of the second half.

The Terrapins shot 0-10 from three in the half at this point of the game, but they kept shooting and that opened up the lane. Sulaimon faked a three, drove to the basket and made a ridiculous layup to get a run going to get Maryland out in front.

The final two minutes of the game came down to great play from Jake Layman. First, he connect with Stone for a wide-open slam. On the next possession, Layman picked up a loose basketball and found Nickens for a layup to put the Terps out in front, 66-60, with 1:09 to go. Maryland would hit their free throws in the final minutes to hold off Iowa and get the big win.

Tonight showcased what Maryland basketball is all about. The students show once again why they are the best fan base in the country as that arena was thundering. Other than a few easy layups early in the game, the defense was great. They had the advantage in rebounds which is huge after how badly they were beat on the boards against Michigan State. That is what the good teams do.

The win over Iowa is significant because it is the first step into creeping back on top of the Big Ten. It was the first loss for the Hawkeyes in the conference and Maryland is now a half game back for the lead. It also showed that Maryland can beat good teams when Trimble has an off night.

Next: Top 3 Threats to Terps Winning the Big Ten

Maryland will take the road for the next two games against Ohio State and Nebraska before hosting another ranked team from Purdue. All three loss have come away from home as the conference losses were on the road (both in Michigan) as well as the loss to North Carolina.

Big Ten basketball is not always exciting, but Maryland found a way to grind it out and get a win. This is the kind of effort that they need to reach the ultimate goal of winning some hardware this season.