LAHAINA, Hawaii — Arkansas jumped out to a 20-12 lead over Maryland in the first 12 minutes, but the No. 23 Terrapins rallied with tough defense and sharp interior passing to defeat the Razorbacks 75-62 for fifth place in the EA Sports Maui Invitational on Wednesday.
Maryland (3-1) got three second-half dunks and a team-high 16 points from center Ekene Ibekwe — four points above his average — plus 15 points from guard Chris McCray and 11 from forward James Gist.
Ronnie Brewer led Arkansas (2-2) with 19 points and 5 steals, but showed the effects of three tough games in three days.
"We're asking Ronnie to do a lot," said Hogs coach Stan Heath. "He's got a bull's eye on his back. He's playing 36-37 minutes a game, but he and Jonathon Modica (11 points, 6 turnovers) aren't screening as much as they need to to help their teammates. They haven't done it enough where it's second nature yet. Our motion offense is a work in progress — it's only at about 50 percent so far."
Darian Townes scored 13 points off the bench for Arkansas, but Maryland coach Gary Williams said his team did a good job defensively against the Hogs' inside players.
Both Townes and Hill (two points) got in first-half foul trouble and were on the bench as Maryland rocketed to a 30-27 halftime lead.
Terps guard D.J. Strawberry, in turn, missed 16 minutes of the second half in foul trouble, but reserve senior forward Travis Garrison took up the slack with a 5-of-5 shooting game for 10 points.
"We have a very athletic team," Williams said. "But it's also important to be intelligent, too, and I thought we played smart."
Well, the Terps did foul too much at the end, but Arkansas couldn't take advantage as it made just 15 of 25 free throws for 60 percent.
"We knew how well Arkansas has played defensively and knew we had to do everything right on offense," Williams said. "At the same time we had to play good post defense and also contain Brewer. I was really pleased with our combination of offense and defense."
Arkansas was its own worst enemy despite forcing 12 first-half turnovers, as it failed to put the hammer down with a 20-12 lead.
"We got a little in a hurry and the turnover bug got us," Heath said. "we fumbled a few passes here and there, and there were some loose balls we could have dived for. Then Maryland's energy cranked up."
In all three Maui games, even its 65-64 win over Kansas on Tuesday, Arkansas struggled offensively at times.
"To put it all in a nutshell, we had lulls," Heath said. "We were a little bit sloppy on offense, and we couldn't make some big stops on defense. We're a little disappointed, but we never quit and in the long run I think we'll be a better team because of these three games."
The Hogs did a good job defensively on Maryland forward Nik Caner-Medley, who scored just five points on 2-of-10 shooting.
Charles Thomas had 10 points for Arkansas — his first double-figures effort in the tournament.
The Terps outrebounded Arkansas 35-27, with Garrison's seven boards leading the way. Arkansas had five players with four rebounds each: Thomas, Hill, Townes, Brewer and Dontell Jefferson.
"Maryland has a strong front line that's difficult to guard, and they rebounded very well," Heath said.
Arkansas still trailed just 51-48 when Townes fumbled a pass out of bounds as he prepared to shoot a layup. Maryland quickly jumped out to a 64-52 lead, spiced by McCray's 3-pointer from the corner. The Hogs could get no closer than nine points after that.
"Arkansas just needs a few more games and they're going to be a big threat in the Southeastern Conference this year," Williams said.
Williams blamed himself for trying a trapping defense that Arkansas exploited early, but he said, "Once we started playing straight-up defense, that allowed us to catch up."
Mike Jones made three 3-pointers in the second half for the Terps, whose fans began chanting "ACC!" with 17 seconds remaining.
"These are the kinds of teams you face in the NCAA Tournament," Heath said. "They're almost Sweet-16 type games. We haven't been in that position before, but if we do get there we'll meet teams like these."
The Hogs will leave Maui on Wednesday night and will practice Friday before their home game against Radford at 3:05 p.m. Saturday.
Maryland's James Gist put down this slam over Steven Hill to help the Terps pull away in the second half.
Dontell Jefferson guards Maryland's Ekene Ibekwe.
Ronnie Brewer and Mike Jones battle for a loose ball.
AP Photos/Michael Conroy
Maryland 75, Arkansas 62
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