INDIANAPOLIS – The Maryland men's basketball team's Big Ten Tournament run is over, after Michigan State dealt the Terps a 64-61 loss on Saturday. Maryland mounted a methodical comeback from12 points down in the first half but couldn't cap it with a victory at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Melo Trimble's last-second lay-in attempt to win the game was turned back by a wall of Spartan defenders, and game officials didn't call Michigan State for a foul when Trimble was bodied on a last-second heave to tie the score. It was Maryland's most heartbreaking loss of the season.
The Terps are helpless now to change their seeding fate for this month's NCAA Tournament. They'll learn their draw on Sunday evening, with a No. 4 or 5 seed their most likely outcome.
Melo Trimble had 11 points on 2-of-15 shooting. Robert Carter Jr. led Maryland with 18 points, while Denzel Valentine had 18 points of his own on 4-of-12 shooting for the Spartans.
The game nearly got all the away from Maryland before halftime. The Terps trailed by 10 points when Mark Turgeon took a technical foul 16 minutes into the game. Valentine hit two free throws to put them down 12, and the Terps looked entirely disheveled. All half, they failed to create high-quality shots on offense, while the Spartans tore into them in the fast break and got a slew of second-chance points, either after offensive rebounds or fortunate bounces. Maryland stayed within eight points at the break solely on the strength of 6-of-11 three-point shooting.
But Maryland charged back after the break. The Terps wiped out their entire deficit over the first 10 minutes of the period, drawing even at 53 when Trimble hit his first field goal. The Terps did a lot of it at the foul line, getting calls they hadn't been getting when Turgeon lost his cool and got whistled in the first half. That set up a captivating race to the finish.
Here was Maryland's problem, though: That Trimble three-pointer at 10:26 was their last field goal until he scored a driving lay-up with 15 seconds remaining. The Terps had a 10-3 foul calls advantage midway through the half, but those gaps never last. Indeed, the officiating evened out, and Maryland's offense slowed down.
Three things to know
1. Nothing came easily for Melo Trimble. The Spartans harassed the Terps' best player all night, sending two defenders to cover him on Maryland's frequent high picks for him and even firing an errant pass into his nose, leaving the hardwood sprinkled in one spot with Trimble's blood. The officiating crew didn't give Trimble much benefit of the doubt in the way of foul calls, and he finished with 11 points on 2-of-15 shooting. It probably wasn't the way he'd hoped to head into the Dance, but he gave Maryland a hearty run at the end of the game. The refereeing crew didn't give Trimble a chance he probably deserved to tie the game at the foul line, either.
2. Michigan State is going places. The Spartans are tenacious on defense and cohesive on offense – and they have Denzel Valentine, who's as good as it gets. Michigan State was really, uncharacteristically bad in the second half, and it still took Maryland's absolute best effort down the stretch to even get close in an ugly game.
3. It was a tale of two halves for Maryland. The Terps were brutal in the first half and would've been out of the game if contested three-pointers hadn't kept falling. But they showed great pluck in the second half, and mounting a late charge against a Tom Izzo team in March – basically in a road game – is nothing to sneeze at.