Thursday’s roundup: Minnesota stuns Maryland
Minneapolis — For the first time in nearly a full year, Minnesota has won a Big Ten game, snatching a big lead early and holding a tight game late as the Gophers topped No. 6 Maryland, 68-63, at Williams Arena on Thursday night, minutes before the crowd rushed the floor.
Rasheed Sulaimon’s 3-pointer sank through net, putting Maryland up 60-59, finally dispensing the Gophers’ double-digit lead and giving the Terrapins their first lead since early in the first half with 3:04 left in the game.
But for the first time in more than two months, Minnesota wasn’t done.
Joey King, Jordan Murphy and Nate Mason combined to hit five of six free throws to retake the 64-61 lead with just 20 seconds left. When Sulaimon missed a jump shot on the ensuing possession and Minnesota secured the rebound, the crowd, brimming at the seams, erupted.
The victory, coach Richard Pitino’s 50th in maroon and gold, snapped a 14-game skid that encompassed the Gophers’ worst start to league play in program history, and a stretch of 17 losses in 18 games. It was the Gophers’ first win against a top-10 team since Pitino’s first season, when Minnesota topped No. 9 Wisconsin, and their first regular-season conference win in nearly a full year — since beating Michigan State on Feb. 26, 2015.
Maryland (22-5, 10-4), which was coming off a 13-point loss against Wisconsin at home, dropped two in a row for the first time this season.
Most of the night played out like a much-needed Gophers party. But with 10 minutes left, Minnesota started falling apart.
After hitting seven of 10 3-pointers in the first half and putting up their biggest first-half point total of Big Ten play, the Gophers suddenly were hitting nothing but backboard, getting tangled up at the rim and picking up shot-clock violations.
Maryland, down by as many as 12 in the second half, surged back within 2 after Sulaimon knocked down nine points in just over three minutes, and then brought the deficit to 56-55 after Melo Trimble hit a short jumper with 5:13 to go.
The Gophers led 40-29 at the break, scoring the most first-half points of any Maryland opponent in Big Ten play and the most the Gophers had managed since a Nov. 27 win over Omaha.
Mason had 18 points, six rebounds and six assists, Jordan Murphy had 17 points and 11 rebounds and Joey King scored 15 for Minnesota (7-19, 1-13), which shot 33 percent.
Sulaimon scored 28 to lead the Terrapins. Melo Trimble scored 10.
No. 25 Michigan State 70, (at) Rutgers 67: Aerial Powers had 27 points and 14 rebounds, and her two free throws gave the Spartans the lead for good.
Powers was 15-for-17 from the free-throw line for Michigan State (19-7, 10-5 Big 10).
Branndais Agee had 12 points, Kennedy Johnson had 11 and Tori Jankoska 10.
Tyler Scaife led Rutgers (16-11, 7-8) with 22 points. Briyona Canty scored 12 points and Kahleah Copper added 11. The Scarlet Knights were just 2-of-10 from beyond the arc.
Rutgers led most of the second half, but a 21-10 Michigan State run over 6:25 in the fourth quarter drew things even with 1:08 left.
Powers made a pair of free throws with 27 seconds left to make it 67-65. Rutgers turned it over on the next possession, was forced to foul and Johnson sank both. Canty hit a jumper to pull Rutgers within two, but Johnson made 1 of 2 and Rutgers never got off a final shot.
(At) Wright State 79, Oakland 63: Elena Popkey scored 26 for Oakland (14-11, 6-8 Horizon).
(At) Northern Kentucky 81, Detroit 60: Rosanna Reynolds scored 18 and Lola Ristovski 13 for Detroit (12-13, 8-6 Horizon).
Malone 72, Wayne State 69: Shannon Wilson scored 17, Ashley Wilson 13 and Brooke Wallace 10 for Wayne State (10-16, 5-15 GLIAC).
Malone 73, Wayne State 63: Chuck Key scored 19, Ronald Booth 13 and Clark Bishop 11 for Wayne State (7-16, 7-13 GLIAC).
Top 25 men
(At) No. 14 Kentucky 80, Tennessee 70: Jamal Murray scored 28, Derek Willis made seven 3-pointers for a career-high 25 and Kentucky (20-6, 10-3 Southeastern Conference) won its fourth consecutive game.
Armani Moore scored 21 points and Kevin Punter Jr. added 19 for Tennessee (12-14, 5-8 SEC), which got within 10 points in the final minute but really wasn’t that close in losing for the third time in four games since upsetting Kentucky.
(At) Connecticut 68, No. 21 SMU 62: Amida Brimah had 16 points, eight rebounds and five blocks for Connecticut (19-7, 9-4 American).
Nic Moore scored 14 for SMU (21-4, 9-4).