Maryland basketball had a tough Saturday afternoon against No. 6 Michigan, falling to the Wolverines 65-52 at the Crisler Center.
A tough Michigan defense made the No. 24 Terps’ life miserable for most of the game, forcing Maryland to shoot 36.4 percent from the field. That number would’ve been a lot lower if not for a hot start to the second half.
Aaron Wiggins continued his recent run of strong play, leading Maryland with 15 points on 5-for-10 shooting and 3-for-6 on three-pointers. Bruno Fernando and Anthony Cowan Jr. both came on in the second half to finish in double figures. Fernando had 12 points and Cowan had 10, with all of Fernando’s points and eight of Cowan’s coming in the final 20 minutes. Fernando finished with eight rebounds, snapping his double-double streak at seven games.
Despite outrebounding Michigan 39-30 and holding the Wolverines to 7-for-26 from long range, two lingering problems came back to bite the Terps again. Maryland committed 16 turnovers, including 13 in the first half, and got outscored 14-2 in fast-break points. Charles Matthews led Michigan with 14 points, while Ignas Brazdeikis added 13. Zavier Simpson finished the game strong after picking up two fouls in the first half, chipping in 12 points, five rebounds and eight assists.
After playing its best half of the season to close out Purdue, Maryland came out in the Crisler Center with arguably its worst. Michigan’s defense harassed the Terps, making sure there were no open looks. The Wolverines’ guards were aggressive as well, getting in passing lanes and having active hands. Maryland committed 13 turnovers in the first half, two more than it had for the entire game against the Boilermakers.
With Maryland’s offense struggling, Michigan jumped out to a 10-2 lead at the under-16 timeout that grew to 16-4 at the under-12. The lead grew to 23-8 with 7:10 to go in the first half, and the Terps were in danger of getting run out of in Ann Arbor. With Maryland giving away the ball like candy and struggling to make shots, Michigan took advantage by getting out in transition. Despite playing at the No. 302 tempo in the country according to KenPom, 10 of the Wolverines’ first 21 points came on the fast break.
But Maryland’s halfcourt defense remained tough, and back-to-back threes from Aaron Wiggins cut the lead to nine with 3:39 remaining. That deficit would remain the same at halftime, with the Terps trailing 27-18 heading into the locker room.
After scoring just two points combined in the first half, Fernando and Cowan decided to take over to start the second half. The duo scored Maryland’s first 14 points in the period, but Maryland couldn’t make up much of the deficit. Michigan started to make shots, and got a few extra possessions thanks to some costly offensive rebounds and Maryland turnovers.
Maryland trimmed the deficit to six three times in the first nine minutes of the half, and finally made it a one-possession game when a Serrel Smith Jr. three cut the lead to 42-39 with 10:21 to go. Cowan’s desperation three off a Wolverines miss failed to tie the game, and Jordan Poole’s transition layup and a Simpson three pushed Michigan’s lead back up to eight.
A Wiggins three cut the lead to five again, which was the closest Maryland would get for the remainder of the game. After Jon Teske missed another three, Cowan had an easy driving layup that didn’t fall. Brazdeikis answered with a three on the other end, pushing the lead to eight and giving the Wolverines the energy they needed to close out the game. The Terps started to lose their legs after working to get back in the game, settling and missing eight straight threes to close the game.
The Terps play another ranked team on the road Tuesday, as they pay a visit to No. 21 Iowa.
Three things to know
1. Maryland’s start proved costly. Through the first 12 minutes, the Terps looked like a young team playing against the No. 6 team in the country at home. Maryland couldn’t get anything going, and struggled to contain Michigan in transition and the halfcourt. The Terps worked hard to get back into the game, but ultimately couldn’t overcome an abhorrent start.
2. Turnovers and transition defense were a problem too. Even though Michigan plays one of the stingiest defenses in the country, Maryland didn’t do itself any favors. The Terps committed 13 turnovers in the first half, and didn’t hit shots when they weren’t coughing up the ball. That allowed a usually methodical Wolverines team to push the pace and finish with 14 fast-break points.
3. Aaron Wiggins was solid again. Even in a tough loss, the freshman was once again a bright spot. His consecutive threes in the first half gave Maryland a glimmer of hope in the first half, and he was the Terps’ only consistent shooter from long range. While Wiggins shot 3-for-6 from beyond the arc, his teammates combined to shoot 2-for-16.