Maryland men’s basketball’s three-point struggles plague potential comeback win in East Lansing

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Midway through the second half, Hakim Hart knocked down a three-pointer to tie the game at 38-38 as part of a 14-0 Terps run. 

Maryland men’s basketball (16-8, B1G 7-6) briefly took the lead in different portions down the stretch but ultimately fell apart in the final minute as Michigan State (15-9, B1G 6-7) snapped the Terps’ four-game winning streak, earning a 63-58 win. 

The game started for Maryland just like most of their road games have with cold shooting as Michigan State jumped out to a big lead. 

The Spartans started the game on a 15-0 run, shooting 6 of 7 from the field before Maryland was able to get to the free-throw line and put points on the board. The Terps started the game 1 for 7 from the field, but showed resilience by bouncing back in the second half. 

“The start is my fault,” head coach Kevin Willard said. “We’ve been on the road for five days and we practiced terribly yesterday…and I thought our practice was a result of how we started.” 

Maryland did not make their first field goal until almost five minutes in when forward Julian Reese made a jumper after Patrick Emilien grabbed the offensive rebound. 

The Terps struggled to build offensive momentum despite holding the Spartans scoreless for over five minutes. Maryland remained stuck in its slump, only mustering another Reese basket during that stretch. 

Yet Maryland managed to claw back as star point guard Jahmir Young heated up midway through the first half. The Charlotte transfer sparked a 7-0 run himself, helping Maryland cut their deficit to 19-13 with 8:30 in the first half. 

Every time Maryland made it close, Michigan State responded. 

Joey Hauser started the party, hitting a three-pointer. Hauser finished the first half with 11 points as the Spartans shot 47.8% from the field hitting five three-pointers. 

The Spartans entered halftime holding a 31-22 lead, but the Terps showed off their second-half resilience despite only shooting 30.8% from the field and just 2 of 13 from beyond the arc. 

“I thought they did a really good job at trapping the post with the big fella,” Willard said. “I also thought we took four really bad shots in transition…that led to some of their early buckets, that’s something we hadn’t been doing…I thought we had some good looks including our first five in the second half.” 

With the threes not falling the Terps went back to their strength, scoring in the paint. The Terps began chipping away at the Spartans’ lead when Hart forced a turnover, racing up the court and laying down a tough layup earning the and-one. The senior knocked down the free throw to complete the three-point play and jumpstart that 14-0 run. Donta Scott added a dunk and a free throw to join Hart as two of the four Terps to finish the game in double figures. 

Maryland took its first lead of the game after Hart’s big three-pointer with Emilien knocking down a pair of free throws to finish off the 14-0 run.

The game was back and forth for a few minutes till the Spartans went on an 8-0 run with guards Jaden Akins and Tyson Walker nailing back-to-back three-pointers with under eight minutes left. 

Maryland managed to cut the Spartans’ lead back down to three with 1:44 left but the Terps tried for the game-tying three-pointer with slightly over a minute left to go. But of course, Young’s shot missed as the Terps only converted on 3 of 22 attempts from beyond the arc and the Terps couldn’t retake the lead on the free throw line. 

Akins finished the Terps off with a dunk in the final seconds to secure a five-point victory as the Terps’ three-point shooting and road woes continued against quality opponents.