The Maryland men's basketball team snapped a two game losing streak with an 86-82 win over the Michigan Wolverines in College Park. It was an imperfect thriller, with Maryland squandering a 16-point first-half lead but ultimately clawing past a challenging opponent.
In a high-scoring game of streaks and 3-point shooting, Jake Layman played one of his best offensive games of the season with 16 points on 5-of-6 shooting, hitting three shots from long range. Robert Carter Jr. tallied 17 of his own, and though Melo Trimble still wasn't his old self, he did enough, scoring 14 points, nearing a double-double with 8 rebounds (and 7 turnovers).
The win puts Maryland at 23-5 overall and 11-4 in the Big Ten. The Terps next play at Purdue on Saturday, in what figures to be an immensely hard game to win. That game being next on the schedule makes this an especially important victory.
Maryland's 41-point first half came in three bursts, and the first came from the hands of senior Jake Layman. Following a made shot from behind the arc, Layman launched for an interception off a long Michigan throw, zipped across half court and finished an and-one heading into the first media timeout. He finished the half with 6 points, a block and a steal.
More on Maryland's win against Michigan
The second and third waves came from the bench – an area Maryland isn't used to getting much help from. Damonte Dodd was the instant defensive boom Maryland had been longing for, swatting blocks on consecutive possessions and doing his all as a rim protector. His defense led to points on the other end for Jaylen Brantley, who had 5, and Jared Nickens, who got past his slump to hit a pair of threes. But Michigan countered that hot start and had totally erased what became a 16-point lead by the first few minutes of the second half.
Michigan had an answer and a run of its own for every Terrapins streak in the second half. The Wolverines shot 17-of-31 in the second half behind 22 points from Mark Donnal, who averages just 7.4 per game.
The game stayed close as the final ticks ran from the clock, with Michigan's Duncan Robinson connecting on a clownish 3-pointer with 6.9 seconds left to get the Wolverines within 3 points. But Trimble went to the line after that, and he made the two free throws that finally sealed it for Maryland.
Three things to know:
1. Jared Nickens looked like Jared Nickens in the first half. The 3-point shooting specialist hit a pair of threes in the first half off three attempts, which was more than he'd made in his past four games combined. Maryland's bench is limited with the transition of Stone to the starting and it needs consistency from its sixth man going forward. Nickens has been in a brutal slump since basically the start of Big Ten play. If he gets rolling, it's a major edge for the Terrapins.
2. Damonte Dodd was stellar. Dodd is there to be an impact defensive player, and he showed up in dramatic fashion, tossing away two Wolverine shots in a row in the first half, and those were only two of the many stops he caused that won't show in the box score. He was an interrupting force, and that's what Maryland needs from him.
3. Jake Layman shot the lights out. Layman scored 16 points on 6 shots and kept the Terps in a game the team nearly blew. In addition to a block and a steal, Layman was at his best stretching defenses out the wing.