A clinically embarrassing brand of offensive basketball. That’s what Saturday’s game between Maryland men’s basketball and Michigan State provided.
The Terps took their first lead of the game with 7:08 remaining, 42-41. The bucket came courtesy of Jahmir Young, who was one of only three Terps on the scoresheet at the time. Young finished with 31 points on 9-of-22 shooting. The rest of the team scored 23 points on 8-of-33 shooting.
Maryland’s defense, which had done all possible to hold strong, ran out of gas shortly after, though. The Spartans scored 12 points in the next three minutes, taking a nine-point advantage, one it wouldn't relinquish the rest of the way en route to a 63-54 victory.
“The fatigue came in,” head coach Kevin Willard said. “We gave up two huge offensive rebounds and that kind of sealed the deal.”
For Maryland, Saturday’s loss is one of detrimental consequences. Despite a porous offensive performance, its elite defense gave it a chance to pull off a massive Quad I road win. However, defense only wins games if the offense shows that its capable of making a shot.
“These guys they battled, they played their butts off,” Willard added. “That’s all you can ask for, going on the road in a tough atmosphere.”
The Terps held Michigan State to just eight points on three made field goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Entering the half down just four, one would think that the Terps would have been able to therefore take the lead. Instead, Maryland made just two field goals in those first 10 minutes, and trailed by five down the stretch.
Overall in the final 20 minutes, Maryland shot 7-of-23 from the floor, making two of 13 3-point attempts. Its offense thrived in just one area — hitting all 11 free-throw attempts.
And while the offensive showing in the second half was dismal, the showing by both teams was almost as poor in the first half.
Maryland had no business escaping the first half within striking distance. Yet it did, leaving the floor just down four.
In addition to shooting 10-of-32 from the floor, Maryland went over three minutes without a basket
Julian Reese picked up his second foul not even three minutes into the game, and Michigan State jumped on the Terps. Reese also took a foul early in the second half, limiting his playing time to just 14 minutes.
Said Willard: “We just got really stagnant on the offensive end...”
With Reese out, Maryland couldn’t get anything going on either side of the floor, and the Spartans ran out to a 14-5 advantage. While the Terps’ defense, as usual, settled in, they made just three baskets in the first eight minutes of the game — all of the fingers off Donta Scott.
Scott’s touch disappeared thereafter, however, and he finished the game just 5-of-19 from the floor.
Maryland trailed Michigan State at the under-12 timeout, 14-8, and it was fortunate no not trail by double that.
Head coach Kevin Willard had seen enough halfway through the half, opting for a smaller lineup which featured Jordan Geronimo at the center position, as Caelum Swanton-Rodger was a -11 in just six minutes of action.
Geronimo was a spark all half long, posting four points, three offensive boards and four takeaways.
Maryland managed to pull within two with just under seven minutes remaining, 21-19, but scored just eight points the rest of the half. Fortunately for the Terps, Michigan State also couldn’t buy a shot, with star guard Tyson Walker carrying the load with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting.
Three things to know
1. Offense was optional. Maryland’s sheer inability to score the basketball has cost it in the worst way all year long. While the offensive struggles had previously this year shown off in stretches, it was a constant showing of ugly Saturday.
The Terps shot 17-of-55 from the floor and made seven of 30 3-point attempts.
2. Young received no help. Young wasn’t all that efficient, but he was able to hit down open shots. His 31 points were eight more than the rest of Maryland combined, once again showcasing the Terps’ serious lack of scoring depth.
3. Reese was on the bench. Maryland plays through Reese offensively, so when he’s on the bench, things stagnate. Reese played just 14 minutes Saturday, and only five in the second half after committing his fourth foul just eight seconds into the final period.