Spokane, WA (AP) – A turnover by South Dakota State in the closing seconds helped Maryland avoid a place with all the other top seeds that lost in the first round of this topsy-turvy NCAA Tournament.
The Terrapins held off South Dakota State 79-74 Friday, behind a career-high 27 points from Jake Layman.
Deondre Parks fumbled a pass from Keaton Moffitt for the 12th-seeded Jackrabbits (26-8) in the closing seconds and Rasheed Sulaimon picked up the ball and stuffed it for the final score. South Dakota State was seeking its first victory in the NCAA Tournament, but was undone by cold shooting in the first half.
“We don’t ever talk about losing,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said, even after the Jackrabbits stormed back from 18 points down in the closing minutes of the game.
“We knew about yesterday’s upsets,” Turgeon said. “Today we obviously knew Hawaii beat Cal.”
“But besides that we were just really locked in,” Turgeon said. “Down the stretch we were just good enough defensively.”
Melo Trimble added 19 points and Jared Nickens 14 for fifth-seeded Maryland (26-8), which made 51 percent of its shots, including nine 3-pointers.
Maryland plays 13th-seeded Hawaii, a 77-66 winner Friday over California, in Sunday’s second round.
Parks scored 22 points for the Jackrabbits, who trailed by double digits much of the game before getting hot in the final minutes.
“Had a 11-point lead, and they hit back-to-back 3s and everything changed,” Turgeon said.
Better-seeded teams are just 13-11 so far in the tournament, with eight squads seeded 10 or above advancing. No. 2 Michigan State is the highest-ranked seed to lose.
South Dakota State coach Scott Nagy was proud of his team for battling back from adversity.
“We just were so bad offensively in the first half,” when they shot just 26.5 percent, Nagy said. “We scored 52 points in the second half. So we clearly played better offensively.”
South Dakota State post player Mike Daum said he and his teammates never got upset at falling behind.
“We had that set in our mind that we can win this game no matter what, no matter who we play,” Daum said. “It just didn’t happen.”
After trailing by double digits most of the game, South Dakota State got 3-pointers from Parks and George Marshal to cut the Maryland lead to five points with 2:54 left.
Trimble hit a pair of free throws for a 72-65 lead for Maryland, but Parks replied with two.
Maryland then turned the ball over when the shot clock expired. George Marshall missed a 3-point shot but was fouled by Trimble with 1:03 left. Trimble fouled out on the play.
Marshall hit all three free throws to cut Maryland’s lead to 72-70 with 1:03 left, then fouled out shortly after.
Layman hit both free throws for a 74-70 lead.
Tevin King was fouled going for a rebound and made one of two to cut Maryland ‘s lead to 74-71 with 24 seconds left.
The Jackrabbits then started to foul.
Layman hit a pair of free throws for a 76-71 lead with 18 seconds left.
Parks was fouled shooting a 3-pointer and sank all three free throws to cut Maryland’s lead to 76-74 with 13 seconds left.
Jaylen Brantley then made one of two for Maryland.
With 3 seconds left, Moffitt’s pass to Parks was deflected away and Sulaimon picked up the ball and slammed it home for the final score.
“If I had the final play over, I would have called a timeout,” Nagy said. “We knew what to do, but we just had personnel in there that we don’t normally have in there in those situations.”
The Jackrabbits played in the NCAA Tournament in 2012 and 2013, losing in the first round both times.
Maryland, ranked 18th in The Top 25, has a 40-24 record in the NCAAs and is making its 26th appearance. The Terps won the national title in 2002.
Maryland has had a roller coaster season. The Terrapins raced to a 22-3 start and were ranked No. 2 in the second week of February. They stumbled at the end, losing five of eight, including a loss to Michigan State in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament.
Maryland: All five Maryland starters average in double figures, averaging between 14.4 and 11.1 points per game … Maryland allowed just 66.9 points per game this season and led the Big Ten with 110 blocked shots … the Terrapins sank 24 of 27 free throws.
South Dakota State: Among power conference foes, South Dakota State posted wins over TCU and Minnesota this season, but lost to Texas Tech … South Dakota State did not shoot a free throw in the first half, they finished the game making 16 of 17 … the Jackrabbits made 10 of 29 from 3-point range.
Maryland plays 13th-seeded Hawaii, a 77-66 winner over California earlier Friday, on Sunday.