COLLEGE PARK, Md. — A ballyhooed battle of big men was dwarfed by Maryland’s 6-foot senior point guard.
Anthony Cowan scored a career-high 31 points and added 6 rebounds and 6 assists in the No. 15 Terrapins’ 82-72 win over No. 18 Iowa Thursday night at the Xfinity Center.
Iowa’s five-game winning streak was halted as it slipped to 15-6, 6-4 in the Big Ten. Maryland’s fourth-straight win put it at 17-4 and 7-3.
The game was a rematch of touted post players Luka Garza of Iowa and Jalen Smith of Maryland. Garza, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, got the better of Smith in the Hawkeyes’ 67-49 win over the Terps in Iowa City on Jan. 10. In this game, though, Garza was plagued with foul trouble while Smith was not.
Smith had 18 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocked shots. Garza played just 25 minutes. He had 21 points, but just 4 rebounds.
“When you play them you want to mark Cowan and Smith, and they had 49,” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said in his postgame press conference. “So we didn’t do a good enough job on those two guys.”
The 6-foot-10 Smith, Iowa forward Cordell Pemsl said on the Hawkeye Radio Network’s postgame show, “is a freak of nature.”
Garza got his second foul 4:45 into the game and spent the next 8:38 on the bench. He got his fourth foul with 7:55 left in the game. He didn’t foul out, but never got much offensive rhythm until the game was pretty much decided. His last eight points were scored in the game’s final 1:38.
“We got lucky Garza was in foul trouble all night,” Maryland Coach Mark Turgeon told BTN.
It didn’t help that Garza’s first-half replacement, Ryan Kriener, got his second foul on a technical for saying something to a Maryland player after Kriener had scored and was fouled on the play. He spent the final 10:39 of the half on the bench, and played just 13 minutes.
Iowa shot just 36.2 percent from the field to the Terps’ 45.6. No Hawkeye starter made at least half of his shots. The team was 8-of-24 from 3-point distance, making it 11-for-44 over their last two games.
Joe Wieskamp had 17 points, but went 15:42 without scoring after notching eight points in the first 7:31. Pemsl led Iowa in rebounding with his season-high 8 in 15 minutes.
“We saw a different Maryland team than we did at home,” Pemsl said.
Iowa trailed by just 52-49 with 9:45 left, but offensive rebounding, defense, and back-to-back 3-pointers by Eric Ayala and Aaron Wiggins keyed a 10-0 run for a 62-49 advantage, and the Terps never led by less than seven points after that.
Maryland used a 7-0 run to take a 34-30 lead in a first half that ended with the Terrapins ahead 36-32.
The Hawkeyes’ next game is at home Sunday at noon against No. 19 Illinois, which shares the Big Ten lead with Michigan State at 8-2. The Illini got their seventh-straight win Thursday with a 59-51 home victory over Minnesota.