NEW YORK — Inside a graveyard-silent locker room, stuffed with empty eyes and shaking heads, Dez Wells stared straight into floor, his words barely a whisper. All the talk about Maryland’s progression since its last trip to the Big Apple dissipated beneath the bright lights of Madison Square Garden. Regressing into the sloppy bunch that fell to Kentucky in Brooklyn in November, the Terrapins ended their season with a 71-60 loss to Iowa in the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament.
Positioned for redemption, searching for some season-ending hardware on Tuesday night, Maryland instead encountered the same issues that clinched its postseason fate in early March. Asked if he could draw any solace from a deep run unthinkable even four weeks ago, Maryland’s undisputed workhorse and emotional leader was blunt.
“No,” Wells said, allowing the word to linger before repeating himself. “No.”
With seven days between games, the Terps regrouped and rested in College Park, bracing for one final push. Except they hobbled into New York City a wounded platoon. Maryland barely had enough bodies for Monday’s workout at nearby Baruch College. Seth Allen’s pregame warmups were a pipe dream, the freshman still out with a fractured shooting hand. Wells nursed a bum knee, suffered back in the ACC tournament, while Alex Len battled an assortment of ailments that limited him in practice. Logan Aronhalt didn’t eat at all Tuesday and barely slept the night before, weakened by the same stomach virus that caught fellow senior James Padgett. Both were game-time decisions.