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TT Court Vision: Second-chance points tell the story in Terps’ loss to Michigan State

We take to the film room to examine key plays that led to the Terps’ disappointing loss to the Spartans.

Michigan State offensive rebound vs Maryland, 2020 Sarah Sopher / Testudo Times

Welcome back to the Testudo Times film room. After a week’s worth of a hype and build up for this matchup and ESPN’s College GameDay, No. 9 Maryland men’s basketball came out flat and lost on its home floor for this first time this season to No. 24 Michigan State, 78-66.

From the opening tip, it seemed that Michigan State came out motivated and firing on all cylinders as the Spartans exerted revenge after the Terps came into East Lansing, Michigan, two weeks ago and spoiled their own College GameDay.

Michigan State was the preseason No. 1 ranked team, and that potential showed Saturday night. Maryland had no answers for the dynamic duo of Cassius Winston and Xavier Tillman Sr. all evening, and the Terps were also crushed by the inconsistent Spartans supporting cast.

Let’s take a look at some of the good and bad impact plays that led to the Terps’ deflating home loss.

The Spartans always had an answer

One aspect of a Michigan State team that always rings true no matter who is out there for is that Tom Izzo loves to push the tempo and get out in transition. The Spartans do this better than so many in college basketball and were able to kill the Terps with it Saturday.

After a made basket at the other end, Winston immediately pushed the tempo and threw a long pass down the floor to Rocket Watts, which the Maryland defense and even the ESPN camera crew was not ready for. Watts immediately found Kyle Ahrens in the corner, who was able to knock down the wide open three-pointer after Maryland had cut its deficit to just one point.

Ahrens only had six points on two made three-pointers, but both felt like absolute crushers and a result of a defensive breakdown.

On this play, Jalen Smith did a good job of covering Tillman in the post, but Eric Ayala was a step slow in his coverage of Aaron Henry. As a result, Darryl Morsell decided to slide over to help, which led to Ahrens sliding to the corner for the wide open three.

With Smith in the middle, Morsell did not need to stay in the paint to help on the drive and should have prioritized covering the 41.5 percent three point shooter, Ahrens, in the corner.

As mentioned before, one of Michigan State’s biggest strengths is its ability to push the tempo and score the ball quickly. After a great finish by Anthony Cowan Jr. at the other end, the Spartans turned it around and brought the ball up quickly.

While Morsell was still getting back and ready on defense, Winston was already lining up his next made three-pointer. Plays like this really showcased how Michigan State seemed to always just be one step ahead of the Terps Saturday night.

Winston finished the game with 20 points on an outstanding 5-for-6 line from beyond the arc. He absolutely torched the Terps from deep, and on this play he showcased it while the Spartans did what they do best.

Another aspect of the game that the Spartans absolutely dominated in was second chance opportunities. Michigan State finished with 19 second chance points and it seemed like whenever Maryland forced a miss, the Spartans were right there to grab the offensive board and make the Terps pay.

On this play, Maryland played great defense and got the shot clock almost all the way down. The Terps forced a bad look from Henry, but Tillman came away with the board and found a wide open Watts in the corner for three after the Maryland defense had decided to head out on the break.

Plays like this were really the epitome of this game for the Terps. Maryland would go on a run like they did here to bring the game within nine, but then Michigan State would come right down the floor and make a big play to completely deflate the Terps run.

A few minutes later, it seemed like the Terps had one last run in them to maybe steal the win, but they were completely deflated after this Winston four-point play. The Spartans were able to get a mismatch with Smith on Winston, and Smith simply overcompensated defensively, which led to him running into Winston for the obvious foul.

It seemed that this play was the final nail in the coffin for the Terps’ in this one, and it was a play that continued to show how Michigan State always had an answer when many thought the Terps could go on a run.

The Terps did make some nice plays offensively

Donta Scott has been a different player for the Terps offensively over the past seven games, and his improvements continued to show in this game.

On this play, Scott demonstrated his new found aggressiveness in the post and went to work on the defender. Scott backed his man down and was met with some tough resistance, however he kept pushing towards the paint and was able to lift the hook shot over his defender and into the hoop.

On the very next play, Maryland got out in transition and Scott made the Spartans pay. After the ball was overthrown to him on the break, Smith delivered an impressive one-handed pass to Scott on the wing. The freshman got his feet set and knocked down the triple to ignite the crowd after the slow start to the game.

Scott finished this game with 10 points on 3-for-5 shooting from the field. During this seven game stretch for Scott, in which his play offensively has looked much improved, he is shooting 43.5 percent from three-point range.

The key for Scott as the season winds down and tournament games approach will be to keep this up offensively and stay disciplined defensively to avoid silly fouls, which result in him taking a seat on the bench.

While many of the Terps have had off-nights, Smith was not one of them. He was able to score on the Spartans inside and out, as he went2-for-2 from three-point range and also held his own in the post offensively.

On this play, Maryland ran a high pick-and-pop with Smith and Cowan, but it did not create the space or mismatch it normally does. After Smith got the ball, he immediately hit Tillman with a pump-fake, which gave him the advantage as he took Tillman all the way to the hole for the tough finish around the rim.

Smith is so dangerous offensively because he can really do it all at this point. He can beat guys off the dribble, he can shoot and he can beat guys in the post. On this play, we saw Smith get the ball in a post-up and immediately face up on his man.

In the past, we have seen Smith go up with a mid-range jumper on a face up play like this, but here he recognized the defensive mismatch and beat his man in the post-up. Smith took two dribbles into the paint, used a spin move and then went up strong to draw the foul and convert the and-one opportunity.

Smith finished this game with 20 points on 6-for-10 shooting from the field to go along with 12 rebounds and two blocks. Smith has recorded a whopping 19 double-doubles this season, which ranks tied for third in all of college basketball.

In the past, Maryland has been criticized for bad inbounds plays, but on this one, the Terps ran it to perfection.

The Terps used multiple screens to get the ball to Smith in the corner. Winston was forced to come over and help on Smith, which led to Morsell being wide open as he popped back in bounds and was able to convert the beautiful play for an easy dunk.