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The good, the bad & the ugly from Maryland basketball’s loss at Michigan

The Terps defended well, but struggled almost everywhere else.

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland basketball couldn’t hang with No. 6 Michigan on Saturday, suffering a 65-52 loss in Ann Arbor. The No. 24 Terps never led, and once the Wolverines got on the board, the margin was never closer than three points.

While Mark Turgeon’s team was able to make this game interesting, the Terps didn’t do nearly enough things well to pick up their first road win over a ranked team in 11 years. Here are some positives and negatives from the afternoon.

The good: Halfcourt defense

Maryland held Michigan to 42.4 percent shooting for the game, and that number was somewhat inflated by a strong Wolverines finish. While the Terps allowed too many easy buckets in transition (more on that below), they were effective when they were able to get set. Michigan’s frontcourt of Ignas Brazdeikis and Jon Teske combined to shoot 8-of-24 from the field and 4-of-15 from deep.

This has been a strong suit for Maryland for several games now; the Terps were dominant against Nebraska last week and even better against Purdue on Tuesday. Michigan did move the ball well and missed some open looks, but Maryland certainly did its part to make life difficult for the Wolverines’ offense and keep it a game.

Maryland also led 39-30 on the boards, and limited Michigan to six offensive rebounds (although it felt like more, and the Wolverines turned the second chances they did get into 11 points). Michigan did finish with 34 points in the paint, but for the most part, those that didn’t come in transition didn’t come easy.

The bad: Three-point shooting

Both teams struggled in this category, but Maryland’s cold shooting prevented the Terps from mounting a comeback. The Terps sank just 6 of 22 threes (27.3 percent), struggling throughout the first half and missing their last eight down the stretch.

Aaron Wiggins was the bright spot, knocking down three of his six attempts as part of a game-high 15-point outing. But his teammates combined to go 3-for-16. Eric Ayala, who’s been a plus shooter all season, went 0-for-5, while Anthony Cowan Jr. was 2-for-7. Michigan’s stingy inside defense forced the Terps back to the perimeter, and hitting some triples early might have forced the Wolverines to change their approach. But Maryland took too long to warm up, and didn’t stay hot long enough.

The ugly: First-half offense

Maryland has come out slowly in a handful of games this season, but the slump hasn’t been as extensive or as costly as it was in this game. The Terps fell behind early and spent most of the first half down by double digits. Fifteen minutes in, the Terps had 11 turnovers and 10 points.

The performance was as bad as those numbers look. Maryland made 7 of 24 field goals in the opening period, and the Wolverines’ defense made every shot difficult. Bruno Fernando was held scoreless on 0-for-4 shooting (he came out hot in the second half and finished with 12), while Cowan and Ayala combined for two points and went 1-of-7.

But the turnovers were even worse, as 13 first-half giveaways led to 10 Michigan points. Both turnovers and long rebounds off missed shots allowed the home team to get out and run, and as it’s struggled to do for a month now, Maryland couldn’t get back in time. To the Terps’ credit, they committed just three turnovers in the second half, but Michigan was still able to get in transition and succeed.

It’s definitely encouraging that the offense flowed better and took better care of the ball in the second half. That allowed Maryland to make it a game, trimming the lead to as low as three. But the Terps could never fully erase the damage they did to themselves in the first half.