By Jack Rothenberg
Maryland walked into Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan looking for their third win against a ranked team on the road this season. They walked out with a second loss to the No. 7 Michigan Wolverines 87-63. While the game was as lopsided as the score indicates, Michigan won the game in almost a completely opposite manner from the first contest.
On Dec. 31st they dominated in the paint behind 26 points from freshman center Hunter Dickinson. Determined to prevent a recurrence, the Terrapins double and triple teamed Dickinson on nearly every touch creating open opportunities for Michigan’s guards. The Wolverines responded by making a total of 12 threes led by Isiaiah Livers and Mike Smith who combined to sink six of 10 from long range. Unlike the first contest when Maryland made 13 of 22 behind the arc, the Terps were unable to consistently knock down long range shots, shooting 4-19 from deep.
The Wolverines came out of the gate shooting 5-5 from long range, which led to an early 15 point lead. On the other end, Maryland shot 2-10 from deep in the first half, but had 12 paint points, which allowed them to hang around for the majority of the half. Sophomore forward Donta Scott started to heat up for Maryland, by making a three and a jump shot on back-to-back possessions and Hakim Hart’s three pointer brought the Terps within nine with five and a half minutes left in the half. The last minute of the half likely provided the fatal blow to Maryland’s chances. Down 12, the Terps still had life until Scott missed a three pointer and Hart and Aaron Wiggins both missed the front end of one and one free throw opportunities. In that same time the Wolverines got a fast break layup off Scott’s miss and made their eighth three of the game just before the break, boosting them to a 42-25 lead at halftime.
On the first play of the second half Michigan picked up right where they left off, as they hit a wide-open three, extending their lead to 20. Looking for any answer from his team, Turgeon subbed in junior forward Jairus Hamilton. All season, Hamilton has been able to come off of the bench and bring energy and had done that in the first half before picking up his second foul. Hamilton made his lone three pointer of the game midway through the half, narrowing the gap to 59-41. However, less than 15 seconds later, Livers responded with one of his own pushing their lead back to 21. Despite having over 12 minutes left, the game already felt out of reach and that was deemed to be true with the final score 87-63.
For Maryland, the entire game was difficult but senior guard Darryll Morsell said he thought parts of the second half were the most difficult. “The opening to the second half was probably more frustrating than the first six minutes. They were making everything the first six minutes…some of the stuff was out of our control. In the second half when we were down I thought we could have fought more and gave a little bit more effort regardless of the score,” Morsell said.
The Terps have another top 20 matchup against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Jan. 23. Shooting the ball better from three may be at the top of the list of things they need to do better, but don’t get it twisted, that list is long.
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