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Maryland basketball’s close-game struggles continued vs. Michigan State

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This is the Maryland Minute, a short story followed by a roundup of Terps-related news.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Maryland Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

After roaring out the gates with an intensity that matched the Xfinity Center crowd, Maryland men’s basketball faded late in a six-point loss to No. 6 Michigan State on Sunday.

The Terps took a 13-point lead into the half, but it evaporated within the first five minutes of the second half. Maryland stuck around and fought until the end, but once a Cassius Winston three-pointer gave the Spartans took a 61-53 lead with 5:42 left, it was more or less over. Maryland would cut the lead to two with a little under two minutes left, but gave up key offensive rebounds and squandered the opportunity.

As disappointing as the game’s outcome is on its own, it underscores a bigger problem for the Terps. Save for two road blowouts at the hands of Ohio State and the very same Michigan State, all of Maryland’s losses have been by six points or fewer.

The Terps were two possessions away from being undefeated in non-conference play, but instead walked away with losses to St. Bonaventure and Syracuse by a combined four points. Maryland followed the Syracuse disappointment with a five-point home loss to Purdue, in a game it had ample chances to win.

More recently, the Terps had Michigan beat on the road before giving up a free inbounds play and losing by one, and left Indiana with a three-point loss.

In fact, the Terps are 3-6 this season in games decided by six or fewer points. The first win came over Bucknell by two points at home. The second came on the road to Illinois—who’s dead last in the conference—on Dec. 3 in overtime after blowing a 22-point second half lead. The only other was a 75-69 home win over Penn State on Jan. 2.

In years past, it was Melo Trimble who would dominate in these times, but a new finisher has yet to appear out of this cast of Terps. Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter are the unquestioned leaders of this team, but, playing heavy minutes, both seem spent by crunch time.

There’s always some luck involved in close games, but the ball has not bounced Maryland’s way this season. The Terps have to hope some luck comes their way soon, and that it’s not too late.

In other news

Maryland returned the sixth iteration of the flash mob for the Michigan State game Sunday. Though the Terps couldn’t come out with the win, it was electric and full of wacky-inflatable-arm-flailing-tube-guys.

After the game, Spartans head coach Tom Izzo faced tough questions from an Outside the Lines reporter in an attempt to get a further response to their report. He didn’t answer much.

Thanks to the new early signing period, DJ Durkin was able to get nearly half of his 2018 commits enrolled in time for the spring semester.

Greivis Vasquez is beloved by Maryland fans for his play over four years in College Park, but for the Venezuelan native his education was just as important to him and for his foundation, from The Baltimore Sun.

2018 women’s basketball commit Olivia Owens scored her 1000th career point on Sunday. The 6’4 center is the No. 33 player in her class, according to ESPNW.