In an epic Big Ten tournament battle, Maryland could not shift its offense into gear late and lost a battle against Michigan State, 64-61.
Here are 5 things you need to know.
1) Early fire and intensity
Maryland used Jake Layman as an early catalyst against Nebraska and he got into a groove. They fed the ball to him on a post touch on their first possession and he converted.
He then got tangled up with Michigan State guard Eron Harris. Some shoving ensued. Layman jawed with Michigan State players in a way rarely seen from him in his four years at Maryland and a double technical was assessed. That set the tone early for what would be a heavyweight title fight.
2) Half-court offense struggles, which feeds Spartans
Maryland was able to put up 97 points on Nebraska because the Terrapins did a nice job of pushing the pace and forcing the issue.
Against Michigan State, the Spartans were hitting 58 percent of their shots from the floor by the under-8 timeout of the first half. That meant less transition opportunities and more half-court possessions, where Maryland has consistently struggled.
Shots late in the clock spurred transition opportunities for Michigan State in the other direction and with a wizard like Denzel Valentine getting the ball in his hands with numbers in his favor, that’s deadly for the opposition.
The Michigan State lead grew to 12 points with just over four minutes to play in the half. Maryland trimmed it to six with 0:15 to play before the break. A Valentine jumper made it eight at the half.
3) Credit Maryland for its adjustment and fight before break
Robert Carter, Jr. was the real reason Maryland was within single digits at the half. While Jake Layman and Melo Trimble struggled to score, Carter was 3-of-4 from three-point range and the only floor-stretching threat Maryland had in the first half.
It was one of those games that made it so difficult for anyone to tell him how to play his game. When he is hitting from the perimeter, he changes the way defenses can play this team. At the same time, Maryland struggled to get the ball into the paint.
He finished with a team-high 18 points.
4) That set the stage for the second half
With that momentum coming out of the half, Maryland started chipping away and chipping away and chipping away. Defensive stops kept them in it as they battled. A 12-3 run put them ahead, 57-56, with 6:55 to play. It was their first lead since early in the first half.
Maryland is not its best self when it puts up 97 points and hopes for defensive stops. It is its most reliable and deep-run-in-March-potential self when it starts with its focus on the defensive end of the floor and goes from there.
The Terrapins have plenty of weapons on offense. Get stops and go from there.
5) Drought proves to be too much
Maryland’s defense kept it afloat down the stretch. Maryland went from the 10:26 mark of the second half to 0:14 without a made field goal. They settled too often for jumpers, but there were also instances where they got to the rim and lived off of free throws.
Down one point with under a minute to play, Diamond Stone got a touch in the post. His hook shot was blocked on a sensational play by fellow freshman Deyonta Davis.
Maryland had another chance to take the lead with under 10 seconds to play. Melo Trimble drove to the basket looking for a foul. Davis gave room and Trimble could not convert the layup. It was the end of a tough 2-of-15 night for him from the floor.