Sophomore Keegan Murray dropped 35 points on Monday night as the University of Iowa men’s basketball team stormed past Maryland, 80-75, on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena for its first Big Ten Conference victory of the season.
The Hawkeyes jumped out to a hot start, extending an early lead to 24-12 at the 11:46 mark on a turnaround jumper by Murray. The nation’s top scorer had 16 first half points including 14 in the opening 10 minutes.
Maryland took the lead with under six minutes to play before the half on a Fatts Russell 3-pointer. The Terrapins would carry a 40-36 edge into the break.
Iowa battled back to tie the Terps three times before Murray drained a 3-pointer to put the Hawkeyes back on top with 12 minutes to play. Iowa took charge from there, never ceding its advantage as Murray matched a career high set earlier this season against Utah State. Murray was 5-of-6 from behind the 3-point arc while adding eight rebounds, three blocks, one steal, and one assist to his stellar performance.
Senior Filip Rebraca had a season-high, scoring 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field. Rebraca matched Murray’s game-best eight rebounds as the Hawkeyes outscored the Terrapins, 40-34, in the paint. Iowa also had a 14-5 scoring advantage in transition and recorded 17 second-chance points to Maryland’s 11.
Six Hawkeyes scored five points or more. Junior Joe Toussaint turned in nine points and nine assists, as well as four rebounds. Sixth-year senior Jordan Bohannon had seven points while making 5-of-6 from the free throw line in clutch situations down the stretch.
QUOTING COACH MCCAFFERY
“I think we maintained our composure. Maryland is a talented team. (Head coach) Danny (Manning) is doing a great job. They go on runs, that’s what they do. If you follow them, and we’ve watched pretty much every game they’ve played, they go on 13-0 runs, 11-2 runs. They have multiple 3-point shooters, multiple drivers, they’ve got veteran guys and they play sort of with a fearless mindset.
“You guard against that if you are playing against them. We jumped them, they came back, we had a little scoring drought… That is kind of what they do. We are trying to guard against it, you change defenses, you run different motion sets, keep fresh bodies out there. We had a lineup there at the end that I thought was doing a good job defensively. When it is all said and done, we only turned it over seven times. We did a pretty good job coming down the stretch. We did a good job against their pressure, that speed and quickness. Connor (McCaffery) inbounding the ball, and Jordan, Tony, Ahriman and Keegan getting open.”
The nation’s leading scorer and reigning Big Ten Player of the Week, Keegan Murray, led all scorers with 35 points tying a personal best. Murray has tallied 20+ points 10 times and 25+ points an NCAA-best seven times this season.
Junior point guard Joe Toussaint registered game bests in assists (9) and steals (3), and tallied nine points.
Senior Filip Rebraca netted a season-high 13 points, to go along with eight rebounds.
Iowa has won 23 of its last 26 home games, dating back to the start of last season.
Iowa (11-3, 1-2) returns to action on Thursday at No. 23 Wisconsin (11-2, 2-1). Tipoff for the only regular season meeting between the two teams is scheduled for 8 p.m. (CT) at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. on KWPC 860 AM and 95.1 FM, The Voice of Muscatine.