Maryland men’s basketball turned a 12-point halftime deficit into a 64-57 win over Michigan on Thursday.
While it was ugly at times, the Terps ultimately snapped a two-game skid with two massive road contests looming.
Here are some takeaways from the comeback victory.
Another hideous offensive showing in the first half
Maryland’s offensive woes might be the worst-kept secret in the Big Ten.
Michigan, which entered the game as the worst scoring defense in the conference, watched as the Terps missed eight of their 24 first-half shots to the tune of a dismal 21 points.
Once again, it all stemmed from Maryland’s ineptitude from beyond the arc. Maryland’s 3-point shooting percentage ranks in the bottom 20 of all Division I teams, and it made just one of 11 attempts in the first half Thursday.
“I just think it’s because we’ve struggled to shoot so much, that has just led to everything else struggling,” Terps head coach Kevin Willard said.
Realistically, Maryland should’ve lost the game in the first half. Nine turnovers and 21 points usually result in a tremendous halftime deficit, but Michigan’s offense was less than sharp without its leading scorer, Dug McDaniel.
Both teams had scoring droughts of over four minutes, with the Terps once going over six minutes without a point.
“We’re just gonna have to keep shooting because they’re gonna fall,” said forward Donta Scott, alluding to the team’s shooting success later in the game.
Scott exploded in the second half
Scott air-balled his first two 3-point attempts. The next four, however, all of which came in the second half, went through. Two came within a minute of each other, and helped give Maryland a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
“He was upset with himself at halftime and he came out and he was very, very animated in the huddle before he went out,” Willard said. “He just did what a senior does.”
Twenty of Scott’s team-high 22 points came in the latter 20 minutes.
“Once I got going, the energy started kicking in, and then everybody started to feed off my energy,” said Scott.
Thursday’s performance also continued a promising string of performances for Scott, who’s averaged close to 15 points per game over the past five contests, making 11 of his 18 attempts from three during that span.
Maryland’s defense wore down a shorthanded Michigan squad
Not having McDaniel’s 17.8 points per game on the court hurt the Wolverines, and Maryland’s defense, which KenPom.com ranks as 25th-most efficient in the nation, left the Wolverines searching for answers late.
As some shots began to fall for the Terps, they were able to fully implement their aggressive press and force Michigan into rushed possessions.
“We just switched up to our man press and just tried to make it a little bit more difficult for them to bring it up and get into their stuff,” Willard said. “... So just trying to get them out of the their flow was probably the biggest thing we changed up.”
Michigan scored just 24 points in the second half and went 0-for-6 from three. In the first half, it scored 33 points and made five triples.
Julian Reese’s presence was also heavily felt in the final 20 minutes, as he recorded three blocks — including a key one on Nimari Burnett in the final minute to all but seal the result.
“I also think that this is a team that — if we can get better offensively — the way we play defensively is gonna give us a good chance,” Willard said.