By: Brittney Bridges
It had been just over two weeks since Maryland lost to Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, by 13 points. Maryland had hoped to redeem themselves on a dreary Sunday afternoon in front of a sellout crowd. Despite the notable improvement from their previous matchup, the Terrapins (21-9, 12-7 B1G) fell yet again to the Wolverines (26–4, 15-4 B1G) with a final score of 69-62.
The Terps started out strong, including a surprising 3-pointer from Jalen Smith to get on the scoreboard first, followed by a corner 3-pointer from Darryl Morsell to extend the opening score to 6-0 while Michigan missed their opening two shots. That would be the largest lead Maryland would have throughout the game.
It remained neck-and-neck for most of the first half, but Michigan eventually managed to tie it midway through despite the Terps’ defensive efforts. Michigan’s athleticism began to tire Maryland out and even went on an 8-0 scoring run, as Maryland was unable to score for almost five minutes.
The Wolverines found success in the pick and roll, as Maryland tried switching but Michigan’s speed and aggressiveness beat out the defense almost every time.
Four out of Michigan’s five starters all stand 6-foot-5 or taller, with their center Jon Teske measuring at 7-foot-1, tasked with guarding Bruno Fernando. The Michigan defense was solid in limiting the production of Smith and Fernando all afternoon as they finished with 11 and 12 respectively.
“[Teske’s] a heck of a player, he’s a great defensive presence for them in the paint.” Fernando said.
Despite being a help on the defensive end, Fernando didn’t look himself as he had a handful of missed layups that Maryland fans are accustomed to seeing convert. And when Smith sat out midway through the first half due to foul trouble; Fernando had to pick up most of the slack in the paint while also trying to get going offensively.
“I think that I got the shots that I wanted, they just weren’t falling.” Fernando stated.
Anthony Cowan also added 10 points, with eight of them coming in the second half. Being that Cowan was the smallest player on the floor, he didn’t have as many opportunities to get a shot off with Michigan’s imposing length.
“[Cowan] had to battle defensively. He was giving up six inches to Poole and he tried to battle him,” coach Mark Turgeon said. “They just have great size.”
The half ended with a score Michigan leading 28-24 but Maryland entered the second half looking to get back on top. Smith completely shifted the momentum with key effort plays including a pivotal moment when Smith tied the game when he spun away from his defender at the top of the key for a jumper.
The Terps even managed to go up by one when Michigan missed a three, to which Cowan took off down the court and fed Smith for a dunk. But Michigan never wavered and slowly stretched the lead further as time wound down due and their other guards getting hot.
Freshmen Ignas Brazdeikis led the way for the Wolverines with 21 points, 13 of which came in the second half. Michigan even got their stroke going after shooting nine percent from behind the arc in the first half as they shot 55 percent in the second.
“I’m disappointed, but we lost to a top 10 team that played better than we did today,” Turgeon concluded. “They deserved to win.”
Maryland now turns to their last regular season game on Friday at home against Minnesota before Big Ten tournament play will begin the following week.