Something about playing Maryland brought out the worst in the Gophers offense this season.
Richard Pitino said the Gophers lost all of their confidence offensively the last time they played the Terrapins, being held to a season-low 49 points in their only home loss Jan. 23.
Even coming off back-to-back victories, the Gophers resembled the same team that made scoring seem like a painful process in Sunday's 72-59 road loss in College Park, Md.
The Gophers (13-8, 6-8 Big Ten), who were hampered by injuries in their starting frontcourt, shot only 32% and couldn't overcome a 19-point first-half deficit, dropping to 0-7 on the road this season.
"Our percentages are relatively low," said freshman Jamal Mashburn Jr., who led the Gophers with 14 points. "But we always preach just shooting with confidence. With Liam [Robbins] not fully ready to go, that hurts us not having that interior presence."
Leading scorer Marcus Carr, who had 25 points in the Gophers' 63-49 home loss to the Terrapins, was held to only nine points on 4-for-15 shooting in the rematch at Xfinity Center.
The 7-foot Robbins was limited to two points in 18 minutes while battling a sore ankle and foul trouble. Senior forward Brandon Johnson, who has a lingering finger injury, couldn't fill the void in the frontcourt with just five points in 24 minutes.
"He was really hobbled with a sprained ankle," Pitino said of Robbins. "He tried to fight through it, but you could tell he was just really hurting."
Robbins, who hurt his ankle in the second half vs. Purdue on Thursday, picked up his second foul just under five minutes into Sunday's game. The Gophers then took a nose-dive at both ends of the floor.
Maryland (11-10, 5-9) jumped out to a 29-10 lead, getting balanced scoring from three-point range and attacking the rim without Robbins protecting the paint. The Gophers shot only 3-for-18 to open the game. But the Terps shot 58.6% in the first half to lead 44-28 at halftime.
"We just have to take more pride in the defensive end," Mashburn said. "I think that's what our main issue was."
But Carr and Gabe Kalscheur had trouble getting open driving lanes and outside looks vs. Maryland's bigger guards — all 6-5 or taller.
The Gophers had to rely more on their three-point shooters, who have made just 29.4%, last in the Big Ten and 316th nationally. They shot 8-for-28 on threes Sunday.
Still, Mashburn and sophomores Isaiah Ihnen (12 points) and Tre' Williams (10 points) drilled three threes during an 11-0 run that pulled the Gophers within 65-59 with 3:14 to play.
The Terrapins were in danger until Aaron Wiggins, who had 17 points, answered with a three that ended the comeback attempt.
Pitino was encouraged by the fight of his younger players and more stops in the second half. But the Gophers didn't have enough offensive firepower in the end, with Carr and Robbins combining for only 11 points.
Turning the corner in Big Ten play seemed within reach after Thursday's victory over No. 24 Purdue. But the road woes continue for the Gophers, losers of nine consecutive games away from home going back to last year.
The Gophers' last winless road record for an entire season was 0-9 under Pitino in 2015-16. They have only three road games left, starting Wednesday at Indiana. But the Nebraska road game lost during the Cornhuskers' COVID-19 pause has yet to be rescheduled.
The Star Tribune did not travel for this game. This article was written using the television broadcast and video interviews after the game.