The Maryland men's basketball team has a sign in its locker room that focuses on four points: toughness, ambitiousness, work ethic and defense.
The Terps have taken pride in the fourth, which helped them start 10-4 in Big Ten play entering Wednesday's home game against Minnesota.
But coach Mark Turgeon's team couldn't contain the Golden Gophers, surrendering its most points of the season in an 89-75 loss. Minnesota shot 50 percent from the field and 36 percent from three to hand the No. 24 Terps their second consecutive defeat.
"They weren't good, they weren't great, they were incredible," Turgeon said. "We couldn't guard them. One thing we talked about is being better defensively, and we weren't tonight."
Five Minnesota players scored at least 13 points, led by guards Dupree McBrayer (18) and Nate Mason (17). Forward Ivan Bender, meanwhile, paced the Terps with 15 points in Maryland's first game since center Michal Cekovsky suffered a season-ending ankle fracture against Wisconsin on Sunday.
Guard Melo Trimble, who combined for 59 points in Maryland's past two outings, finished with 11 points on 4-for-12 shooting. While Trimble scored 13 points in Maryland's 85-78 win over Minnesota on Jan. 28, guard Kevin Huerter and forward Justin Jackson combined for 47 points. The Terps had no answer in their rematch.
After collapsing in the second half of its loss to Wisconsin, Maryland was outscored, 55-40, by the Golden Gophers (21-7, 9-6) in the final frame.
"Our offense is affecting our defense," guard Jaylen Brantley said. "People are missing shots. We're just taking it too far thinking about it mentally. If we start flowing offensively, our defense will start flowing."
Minnesota led for much of the opening 10 minutes while Golden Gophers guard Akeem Springs, who entered with the fifth-most points per game on his team (9.9), scored 10 points in the first seven minutes. But he sat on the bench after drawing his second foul with about 14 minutes remaining. Maryland capitalized.
Maryland's bench, which outscored the Golden Gophers', 24-8, in the half, helped the Terps (22-6, 10-5 Big Ten) enter the locker room with a 35-34 advantage. Trimble and Huerter combined for nine assists in the first half, positioning Bender to score a career-high 12 points at intermission.
"We shared the ball throughout the whole game," Bender said. "We really played for each other. The only difference between the first and second halves is we didn't make shots and they did. That was the main reason they got away."
With 13 minutes to play, however, the Golden Gophers took over.
Minnesota went on a 9-0 run while Maryland didn't make a field goal for about three minutes. After the Terps broke that spurt and narrowed the deficit to 61-60, the Golden Gophers scored another nine unanswered to increase their lead to double digits with about six-and-a-half minutes remaining to win their sixth straight contest. The Terps, who entered Wednesday allowing 66.9 points per game, hadn't given up more than 82 points since November.
The Golden Gophers double-teamed Maryland's guards off pick and rolls in the second half, limiting them from entering the paint. Minnesota, meanwhile, ran pick and rolls for Mason, who kicked the ball out to shooters on the wing if the Terps' defense collapsed on him.
Turgeon stomped onto the court and pumped his fist after the officials called a foul on Dodd with less than five minutes remaining, prompting the sixth-year coach's second technical foul in as many games.
"It happened so fast," Turgeon said. "You're right there and then you're down 10. We've got a young team out there. They were moving at a high speed and we could never catch up. Because we were down, we were going way too fast offensively."
The fans were frustrated, too. A large group of the 17,349 fans at Xfinity Center booed as they stormed out with about three minutes remaining. The Terps faithful were disgusted after witnessing one of their team's worst defensive performances of the season.
"If we just calm down and just know how we've been playing all year, we'll be fine," Brantley said. "We're 22-6. We've been playing great all season. People need to stop panicking."