The Iowa senior has been slowed with back pain in Iowa's last two games, scoring a combined 14 points.
IOWA CITY, Ia. — The Iowa men's basketball team spent Thursday night chasing deficits.
A 15-point first-half lead for Maryland? The Hawkeyes overcame it.
A 14-point second-half bulge for the visiting Terrapins? Reserve forward Ahmad Wagner helped Iowa erase that as well.
But the deficit that ultimately did the Hawkeyes in was 21. That was the difference in shooting percentages between the teams in a choppy game that became a hard-fought affair.
Ultimately, Maryland made 56.6 percent of its shots and held off a cold-shooting Iowa team, 84-76, before an announced crowd of 11,040 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes could only connect on 35.7 percent of their shots. And still they almost stole a victory thanks to Terrapin turnovers and some determined contributions off the bench.
The loss snapped a seven-game home winning streak for Iowa.
Peter Jok led Iowa with 14 points, but was hindered by a bad back and had only one basket after halftime.
“It’s pretty sore. I was kind of limited, both offense and defense," Jok said after playing 31 minutes. "They needed me out there, so I went out there and did as much as I could.”
Wagner responded with 12 points and six rebounds off the bench, including the free throw that gave the Hawkeyes their first lead, 67-66, with 5 minutes, 18 seconds remaining. Wagner added a putback basket to give Iowa a 69-66 edge that didn't last long.
"I thought it was going our way. The momentum shifted, we got the crowd involved," Wagner said.
Added Iowa coach Fran McCaffery: "He sort of imposed his will on that game, which isn't easy to do against a team that's that athletic."
But Maryland junior guard Melo Trimble had the answers late, hitting a pair of 3-pointers to put his team back ahead for good and finishing with 20 points.
"Melo hit some really big shots and some difficult ones, and that kind of pulled the game for them," Wagner said. "I think we should have just played harder and tightened up on defense and we could have gotten the win."
It was the third consecutive road victory in Big Ten Conference play for the Terrapins.
Jordan Bohannon added 11 points for Iowa, which had seven players score at least seven points.
The Hawkeyes, despite 33.3 percent shooting from their starters, muddied things up by forcing 21 turnovers and turning them in to 30 points. Plus Iowa scored 19 points off of 20 offensive rebounds.
The Iowa forward also has praise for teammate Peter Jok playing through pain
"Iowa really dominated the game physically for a while as we kept shooting ourselves in the foot with some unbelievable turnovers," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "We kept believing that we were going to win."
No. 25 Maryland (17-2, 5-1 Big Ten) opened the game with an 8-0 run and was repeatedly able to get easy baskets inside in the first half. The Terrapins got 22 points in the paint and built a 15-point lead 15 minutes into the contest. The Hawkeyes cut that to 41-32 at intermission, only to fall behind 47-33 early in the second half.
That's when reserve players like Wagner, Nicholas Baer and Brady Ellingson provided some life for the home team. Baer had seven points, five rebounds and four assists. Ellingson's lone basket, a corner 3-pointer, pulled the Hawkeyes within 54-51 with 11:12 remaining.
After Iowa took its last lead of the game, at 72-69, Maryland went on another 8-0 run to regain control with 2:07 remaining.
Iowa (11-9, 3-4) didn't have a response this time, turning it over three times down the stretch to foil a final comeback attempt.
The Hawkeye sophomore discusses what allowed his team to get back in game against Maryland (hint: it was Ahmad Wagner)
"I think you've got to give them credit for the shots they made. I mean, they were moving the ball," McCaffery said.
"They did a good job of answering our runs with timely baskets."
Iowa next plays at Illinois on Wednesday.