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Maryland men’s basketball’s second-half comeback falls just short in 65-63 loss to No. 13 Michigan State

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The Terps gave up the go-ahead bucket with 1.9 seconds left.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.

With 24.4 seconds remaining, Maryland men’s basketball and No. 13 Michigan State were tied at 63 points apiece.

Graduate guard Fatts Russell went up for the layup to take the lead but the ball was swiped away out of bounds by Michigan State with Russell touching it last. When Michigan State had the opportunity on its end of the court, the Spartans called a timeout with 11.7 seconds remaining.

Out of the break, Michigan State forward Malik Hall drove right into the paint to sink the layup and take a final 65-63 lead with 1.9 seconds on the clock.

The Terps inbounded the ball and got it off to Russell who attempted the long three but as the buzzer sounded, his shot sailed wide left as the Terps fell to .500 on the season with the two-point loss on Tuesday night.

“Indiana game, that wasn’t Maryland basketball. We talked about it, the fight wasn’t there. Today, we really emphasized the fight and I felt like we did that for the most part,” Russell said.

Maryland was back in the Xfinity Center for its second consecutive home matchup. The last time the Terps played in College Park, they fell to Indiana after having the opportunity to pick up three conference wins in a row for the first time all season.

Against the Spartans, Maryland had the opportunity to kick start some momentum and pick up a win against a ranked opponent for the third time this season.

Those two earlier wins came against then-No. 20 Florida in early December and then-No. 17 Illinois in January. Although against the Spartans, the Terps fell just short of picking up that win, they climbed back from a 15-point deficit.

“We can definitely pull a couple of things from this game and use it to continue to build what we’re trying to do and build momentum going into the tail end of conference [games],” interim head coach Danny Manning said.

Guard Fatts Russell got on the board first in this one after stealing the ball away on an early Michigan State possession. Off an offensive rebound, Michigan State’s Tyson Walker hit a three and on its next possession, Qudus Wahab picked up his first foul of the day giving the Spartans two points at the charity stripe.

Guard Eric Ayala tied the game at five with a three as Michigan State struggled to score a field goal for three minutes. However, the Spartans snapped their drought with three free throws and a layup to gain a five-point lead which Ayala closed with a layup.

However, with Michigan holding onto a 12-9 lead and about 13 minutes to go, Maryland had four fouls as guard Xavier Green picked up his first of the day allowing Michigan State to find two more points.

However, forward Donta Scott was on a tear attacking the basket after going 0-for-3 from deep. Scott hit Maryland’s fourth, fifth and sixth field goals of the day giving the Terps six straight to cut their deficit to one. Then, a pair of free throws gave Maryland the lead.

Shortly after, Hart picked up his first points of the day as the Terps were on an 8-0 run with a three-point advantage. However, the Spartans hit back-to-back baskets to regain the lead as Maryland went cold, going scoreless for nearly three minutes.

Before the Terps allowed Michigan State to run away with it, guard Xavier Green hit his first points of the day and while Michigan State was pushing it up the court on the next possession, he stole the ball away and sparked a play that eventually drew a foul.

With seven minutes to go in the first half, the Terps were down 20-19 but were shooting better than Michigan State from the field at a 42% clip while the Spartans were shooting 33%.

Russell got the ball off to Hart who sank the three and tie the game at 22 apiece with six minutes to go. Michigan State missed the opportunity to take the lead on their next opportunity and rather fouled Wahab on his way up to the basket and he went 1-for-2 at the line giving Maryland the lead for about 10 seconds before Michigan State took it back.

The score was tied at 25 but with a little under four minutes to go Michigan State went on a quick 7-0 run lasting over two and a half minutes as it hit all three of its last three attempted field goals. A three from Michigan State’s Joey Hauser gave it the 10 point lead as Maryland called a timeout with about a minute remaining.

After sticking with Michigan State for the majority of the first half, the final five minutes were a stark difference. As the Spartans scored 10 unanswered in that time frame, the Terps turned the ball over four times.

“I have to do a better job of making sure to close out the first half in a better standard for our team,” Manning said.

Michigan State started off the second half with a dunk and a layup but Wahab picked up Maryland’s first points of the frame. The Terps then turned things up a notch by hitting all three of their last attempted field goals about three minutes in.

Momentum shifted in the Xfinity Center and a dunk off a layup attempt from Russell extended Maryland’s 7-0 run.

As the crowd erupted into cheers, Russell hit another layup making it a 42-36 game and Michigan State turned the ball over under the basket marking its second of the half. With 15 minutes to go, Maryland was 5-for-8 from the field while Michigan State hit just three with the same number of attempts.

Out of the timeout, Wahab made it an 11-0 run and came up with the rebound on the other end to keep the Spartans from pulling away any further. After about three and a half scoreless minutes, a Michigan State layup extended its lead to six.

With about 12 minutes to go the teams went back and forth exchanging threes while a layup and a pair of free throws from freshman forward Julian Reese made it a five-point game.

A few minutes later he picked up his second personal foul but made up for it on the other end of the court picking up a layup off a pass from Green. However, every time Maryland found the hoop, Michigan State had a response keeping a strong hold on its lead.

Out of a break, Scott hit both his free throw attempts after Michigan State’s Marcus Bingham Jr. fouled him while he was shooting the ball. A driving layup from Ayala cut the Spartans’ lead to three but as it had all game, Michigan State responded.

With four minutes to go, Scott sank a jumper to make it a three-point game as the Spartans were on a two-and-a-half-minute scoring drought.

Maryland was inching back and refusing to go away, stringing together buckets in an effort to capture an unlikely comeback win. Russell drilled a three-pointer to tie the game at 61 apiece, then the game was locked at 63-63 with under 30 seconds remaining.

However, Michigan State found the lead in the final 10 seconds and Maryland did not have enough time on the clock to find the equalizer picking up its eighth Big Ten loss of the season.

“As a team, I thought we fought hard, something we can build off of,” Ayala said.

Three things to know

1. Maryland struggled from behind the arc. Coming into this matchup, the Terps shot 31.9% from deep hitting 136 of their 426 attempted shots from behind the arc. However, in this matchup, the team had trouble converting from long range. Maryland shot 4-for-17 from deep which converts to 24% from the spot. Russell led the Terps with two made threes, but he was the only player on Maryland to connect on multiple three-pointers.

2. Fatts Russell returned to Maryland’s starting lineup despite a brief injury scare. Russell’s availability wasn't 100% certain heading into Tuesday night due to a hand/wrist injury that the guard suffered in the loss to Indiana. However, Russell returned to the starting lineup in his usual spot. He finished with 10 points, four rebounds and one assist. He seemed to nearly be at full health with the usual explosiveness that he displays on a nightly basis.

“We had a shoot-around [this morning] and I just decided to give it a go,” Russell said. “Talked to trainers, coaches they was all on board... I fell on it one of those plays during the game but for the most part, it felt good.”

3. The Terps have nine games left to finish the season with a winning record. Maryland falls to 11-11 on the season and 3-8 in conference play. The Terps are also now 2-2 against ranked opponents and have extended their losing streak to two. Next up for the Terps is an away matchup against No. 16 Ohio State before coming back the Xfinity Center to face Iowa for the second time this season. So far, the Terps are undefeated in rematches this season picking up wins against Northwestern, Rutgers and Illinois when playing them a second time.

“Extremely happy and proud of the effort our guys used to fight back... we’re gonna feed off this down the stretch,” Manning said.