Maryland men’s basketball ended its regular season on a sour note, getting hammered at home by Michigan 85-61.
The first time these teams met up, Maryland lost at the last second. This time, the Terps weren’t even a factor in the second half. An absurd three-point shooting performance by the Wolverines in the first 20 minutes had the Terps fighting just to make the final score a little more respectable.
The Terps would have three players end the game in double figures, as Anthony Cowan Jr. scored 17 while Kevin Huerter and Bruno Fernando added 12 apiece. For Michigan, it was the Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman show, as he scored a game-high 28.
With not a single senior starting for Senior Day, it was a freshman that would get the adrenaline flowing in the arena. After Cowan scored the game’s first points, Moritz Wagner overpursued a pass to Fernando in the corner and he drove right by and rose up to hammer it home.
BRUNOOOOOOO FERNANDOOOOOOOOOO JUST JUMPED FROM ANGOLA pic.twitter.com/vSSUHVsubD— Jared Goldstein (@_jgoldy17) February 24, 2018
Soon after Michal Cekovsky was the first senior on the floor and able to get an easy flush off a Kevin Huerter feed to give the Terps a 6-3 lead at the under-16. However, not much went Maryland’s way after that.
Out of the break, both teams traded a few baskets before Michigan went on a 9-0 run to take a 20-12 lead. Huerter snapped the scoring streak with a Maryland triple, but it was the Wolverines who thrived from long range. Michigan went 8-of-12 from three in a little over the first 12 minutes and used a 10-0 run to extend its lead to 36-18.
The long-range barrage was too much to keep up with, and by the half, Maryland was looking at its largest home deficit of the season. The Wolverines held a 54-24 lead going into the locker room, with Abdur-Rahkman scoring 22 points on 6-of-10 three-point shooting.
Despite each having 28 field goal attempts in the first half, 19 of Michigan’s attempts came from behind the arc compared to eight by Maryland. The Wolverines hit 11 of those attempts; the Terps hit one.
Starting the second half down 30 gave Maryland nowhere to really go but up, and the most unlikely of characters gave the team an energy boost. Prior to Saturday, freshman walk-on Reese Mona played in just 11 games. He played 15 minutes in the second half of this one, scoring a layup on a fast break and flying around the court to guard any open Michigan player.
While Mona gave the team and crowd an energy boost, the Terps just weren’t firing efficiently enough to shoot themselves back in the game. At various times in the second half, Maryland cut the lead to 20, but Michigan would find a way to stretch it a little further. Without needing much effort down the stretch, the Wolverines would comfortably run a way with this one.
While Maryland’s regular season is caput, the Terps will be in New York on March 1 at noon to kick off their Big Ten Tournament in a 8-9 matchup with Wisconsin.
Three things to know
1. Maryland fell apart quickly in this one. Saturday’s game goes down as the Terps’ worst home loss under Mark Turgeon, surpassing 14-point losses to Pitt and Minnesota last season. Michigan shot 15-of-30 from beyond the arc, with 11 coming in the first half. Michigan got off to a hot start and the Terps couldn’t keep up.
2. Senior Day? Despite it being the last home game of the season and Senior Day, Turgeon went with his normal starting five, and while four-year seniors Cekovsky and Jared Nickens would both get in early, grad transfer Sean Obi wouldn’t see the court until the final three minutes. Cekovsky scored four points, dunking in two attempts, and Nickens would add five on 2-of-7 shooting.
3. There was an extended Reese Mona sighting. Mona was a spark plug in the second half, a role he’s played at one or two other times this season. It ultimately wouldn’t lead to a comeback, but he gave Maryland 14 minutes and four points, both impressive considering he wasn’t expected to be seen today. He even scored his only field goal on a fast break assist from his former high-school teammate Cowan.