Though tough at home, Maryland seeks 1st road win in 2018
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) —
The disparity in Maryland's performance at home and on the road is, unfortunately for the Terrapins, much like the difference between an NCAA Tournament team and an NIT entrant.
Maryland is 14-2 at home, losing only to ranked Purdue and Michigan State by a total of 11 points. Those impressive numbers are offset by a 1-7 road record, the lone victory in overtime at Illinois on Dec. 3.
Sure, most teams play better at home. But because the Terrapins (17-10, 6-8 Big Ten) are so bad when they travel, their run of three straight NCAA Tournament appearances is in serious jeopardy.
"We've battled, but just haven't played well enough on the road," coach Mark Turgeon said.
There were blowout defeats at Michigan State and Ohio State, and narrow losses at Michigan and Indiana. The Terrapins beat Penn State at home in early January, but lost the rematch 74-70 last week.
"We're a lot different team at home," guard Anthony Cowan Jr. said. "Our fans bring a lot of energy to the game. It's different on the road."
Soon after Maryland beat Illinois, starting forward Justin Jackson was lost for the season with a shoulder injury and reserve forward Ivan Bender tore his ACL. That left the Terrapins shorthanded and without a player owning the credentials to sink the pivotal shot with the clock winding down.
"Last year we had this guy, Melo Trimble out there late in games that could do stuff for us," Turgeon said.
The Terps have overcome their shortcomings at home. On the road, however, it's been a season-long struggle.
"I'd like to say youth (is the reason), but we won on the road last year with youth," Turgeon said.
It's even tougher with a rotation of only eight players. At Purdue late last month, backup Sean Obi fouled out and starters Bruno Fernando and Kevin Huerter finished with four fouls apiece.
"I think we could have a few more road wins with a full roster," Turgeon said. "I'm not making any excuses, but we get in foul trouble on the road and our lack of depth catches up with us."
The Terrapins will again seek to earn their first road win in 2018 on Tuesday night at Nebraska. With only four games left in the regular season, it's a must-win game if Maryland is to salvage a winning record in the conference.
Coming off an impressive 73-57 win over Northwestern on Saturday — halting a skid in which they lost six of eight games — the Terps hope to take some the momentum with them to Nebraska.
"Losing stinks," Turgeon said. "What we've been through sucked, but hopefully we're peaking at the right time."