clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Maryland men’s basketball comes alive in second half to down Michigan, 64-57

Donta Scott led the Terps’ second-half charge in a critical win.

Donta Scott’s hook shot was part of Maryland’s second-half turnaround Thursday night, powering it to victory over Michigan.
Cal Tobias/Testudo Times

Maryland men’s basketball was dead in the water before Donta Scott fished it out.

When Maryland entered the locker room at halftime, it trailed by 12 points and was subject to a smattering of boos. It looked like the Terps were destined for a crushing home loss to a struggling Michigan squad on a four-game losing streak.

But when the final horn sounded, Maryland had escaped with a 64-57 victory, powered by a game-high 22 points from Scott.

All but two of Scott’s points came in the second half, and he nailed all four of his 3-point shots in the period. When Scott drilled his first triple of the day five minutes into the second half, it cut Maryland’s deficit to five. When his fourth was true, it rocketed Maryland into the lead with just over seven minutes to play. He also added an athletic left-handed hook shot during the Terps’ resurgence.

Scott’s two first-half points were perhaps the most impressive of the game. He steamrolled down the court on a fast break and sent home a thunderous dunk over Jaelin Llewellyn.

“It gave us energy,” Scott said of his highlight-reel slam. “It really kicked in our defense because once I made the dunk we were able to get in our press and then we were able to get a couple stops. Even though we didn’t capitalize on those stops, it gave us energy, it gave us life and it gave the crowd life.”

Donta Scott and Jahmir Young celebrate after Scott’s first-half dunk.
Cal Tobias/Testudo Times

While Scott led the charge, he wasn’t alone. Forward Julian Reese chipped in 14 points and 13 rebounds as well, and guards DeShawn Harris-Smith and Jahmir Young added a combined 22 points to help push the Terps across the finish line.

“What happened in the second half is what I see every day in practice,” Terps head coach Kevin Willard said. “You know, the fans aren’t going to cheer because you keep getting defensive stops, it just that’s not the way fans work. They just want to see the ball go in the hoop.”

Maryland has been offensively challenged the entirety of this season, but the first 10 minutes of Thursday’s game were as ugly as any stretch it’s put forth yet. When Young stepped to the free-throw line with 10:01 remaining in the first half, the Terps had just six points on the board.

Shortly after, Michigan embarked on a 14-2 run, making six straight field goals to grow its lead to double figures. Maryland lost sight of its assignments and left Wolverines unguarded both inside and outside the 3-point arc, allowing easy jumpers from Will Tschetter and Terrance Williams II. The home squad was staring defeat squarely in the eyes.

But in the second half, a switch flipped.

The Terps, who thrive off full-court pressure and defensive tenacity more than well-structured offense, took advantage of self-created mayhem to bring themselves back. As Michigan lost its grip on the contest, Maryland forced turnovers and answered every punch the Wolverines threw. The Terps showcased a mixture of man and zone presses, taking advantage of their size to generate positive opportunities.

Reese later came up with crucial late-game stops to seal the result.

“I feel like we kind of had a realization moment,” Reese said of the second-half turnaround. “... We weren’t really coming out how we were supposed to, how we’ve been practicing or how we prepared. I feel like since we were able to turn it around this is some good energy going into the next game and just a building block for what’s to come.”

Three things to know

1. Jahari Long was inactive. For the second consecutive game, Maryland’s usual first guard off the bench did not play. One day after Willard said he was questionable, Long was on the bench in street clothes after not participating in warm-ups.

2. Scott was the X-factor. Maryland was desperately looking for a spark in the second half, and Scott stepped up. After a tough start to the season, he has come on of late and provided a steady presence.

3. Harris-Smith looked confident. There have been growing pains for Harris-Smith in his freshman season, but on Thursday he played within himself. Although his jump shots weren’t falling, his attacks to the rim were effective and he scored his most points in a game in a month.

“I just feel like I just had a different mindset, like just to go out there and play,” Harris-Smith said. “Not worried about if I’m making or missing shots, just go out there and give it my all. I felt like when I go out there and just play 100%, good things are going to happen for me.”