Maryland rallied from a 17-point deficit just before halftime to beat Minnesota 74-73 on Wednesday after a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left gave the No. 9 Terrapins their first lead since the opening two minutes of the game.
Darryl Morsell hit the clutch shot — his first 3-pointer in the last two games — to silence a crowd at Williams Arena that was poised to celebrate an upset victory until Maryland completed its furious rally in the final minutes. A pair of Daniel Oturu free throws put the Golden Gophers (13-14, 7-10 Big Ten) ahead 72-64 with 2:06 remaining. But Maryland (23-5, 13-4) finished on a 10-1 run as it inched closer to a Big Ten regular season title.
Maryland can clinch a share of the Big Ten championship with a win over Michigan State on Saturday. The Spartans are among a group of four teams with six conference losses chasing the Terrapins, a No. 2 seed in Jerry Palm’s latest Bracketology.
After his national-best streak of nine straight double-doubles ended in Sunday’s loss against Ohio State, Jalen Smith returned to his stat-stuffing ways on Wednesday by finishing with 16 points and 12 rebounds even while battling foul trouble. Maryland’s star sophomore finished a put-back dunk with 14.5 seconds left to bring the Terrapins within 73-71.
Then Minnesota’s Gabe Kalscheur at the free-throw line to give Maryland a final opportunity that Morsell took advantage of. The junior guard finished with 13 points. Sophomore guard Aaron Wiggins contributed 16 off the bench for Maryland. Oturu led Minnesota wit 28 points and 11 rebounds while outplaying Smith in the post for much of the game. Marcus Carr contributed 19 for the Gophers, who have seen their NCAA Tournament hopes dwindle amid four losses in their last five games.