Terps fall short in East Lansing

By Ben Tugendstein

The Maryland men’s basketball team couldn’t overcome a desperate Michigan State team Saturday night as the Spartans prevailed in a hard fought contest 74-65.

Michigan State had come into the game losing four straight, a rare sight for a Tom Izzo coached team, and Saturday represented a near must win to keep their hopes of a Big Ten title afloat.

Both team started off cold as the first bucket came two minutes into the game. The score remained tight for much of the first half as the Terps played staunch half-court defense but stalled on the offensive end. Michigan State pulled ahead gradually as the first half wound down, using their size and effort to accumulate six second chance and nine fast break points. It was a far too familiar scene to see a Spartan leak past all five Maryland defenders for an easy bucket. Michigan State led at the break 35-29.

Maryland came out of the tunnel for the second half on fire offensively, making their first six shots. They pulled even at 42 on a three pointer from Jake Layman, and took their first lead of the game on a dunk by Robert Carter, set up by Melo Trimble. But Spartan stud Denzel Valentine made that lead short lived. Valentine attacked and stayed aggressive, oftentimes rebounding a Terrapin miss and sprinting down the floor for either a layup himself, or to set up a teammate.

Valentine got a little more help than did Trimble down the stretch and it proved to be the difference. Michigan State guard Bryn Forbes put in 12 second half points, and big man Matt Costello, limited by a leg injury, still had 15 points and 12 rebounds for the game.

In the last minute, Terps freshman Diamond Stone hit two free throws to pull Maryland within three. Maryland needed a stop, and got one, but they failed to grab the rebound as Costello snatched the rebound and passed it out. He let out a primal scream to the student section, and all Maryland could do was foul. The Spartans clinched the game at the line, and won 74-65.

Trimble finished with 24 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. Robert Carter contributed 13 and five of his own, but no other Terp helped out a whole lot on the offensive end. Graduate transfer Rasheed Sulaimon struggled going just 2-11 from the field, Jake Layman shot 2-9, and Diamond Stone was hampered by foul trouble and Michigan State’s size much of the game, scoring just six points in 25 minutes.

All in all it was a tough game for Maryland as Michigan State was desperate and played harder – shown by the disparity on the boards. Maryland falls to 17-3 on the season, and 6-2 in the Big Ten. They will sleep in Michigan Saturday night, and hope the Baltimore airport opens up again Sunday. They play next at home against ninth ranked Iowa Thursday night at Xfinity center.