Michigan’s Juwan left floor while Maryland left wanting more 79-66
Maryland headed into Friday’s second round matchup with the top seeded Michigan Wolverines after systematically dismantling the Rocket Mortgage team yesterday 68 – 57. Maryland had played Michigan twice already this season and lost both games by double digits and never really seemed to be at the same tier as their Big 10 rival.
Today’s matchup, would be no different as Maryland fell to Michigan 79 – 66. There were plenty of fireworks in this one as Maryland started off with an early lead of the top seeded Terps and a fight between coaches almost broke out but Maryland would ultimately leave 0 – 3 against the Wolverines.
Darryl Morsell did everything in his power to keep his team in this game scoring sixteen points and locking in the Terps defense. Philosopher and basketball fan Hugh Rist once said “He’s just another tasty Morsel for Darryl.” when describing the defensive intensity, but Morsell would have to eat crow when the final buzzer sounded.
Maryland started off strong, which hasn’t necessarily been a good omen in recent memory, but the Terp’s outplayed Michigan to start the contest up early 17 – 15 ten minutes in. Maryland used its speed while Michigan used its size to control the paint. Maryland appeared to want to pressure Dickinson early in hopes of getting him into some early foul trouble which they were able to ten minutes into the game.
After a senseless whistle to stop a Maryland layup, Morsell put pressure on Dickinson on a pick and roll and was able to get the offensive rebound. Maryland never hesitated and began to feel like they belonged when Aaron Wiggins took flight and punctuated the 23rd point for the Terps giving them the 23 – 15 lead of the top seeded Wolverines.
The moment was fleeting as Big 10 defensive player of the year Darryl Morsell collected his second foul on the following possession and forcing Turgeon to place his captain on the bench. With both Dickinson and Morsell on the bench Maryland found its energy from Eric Ayala who led the offensive to eight consecutive made field goals. Morsell may not have been on the floor but his presence and intensity could be seen in his squad as they pressured and forced tough field goals for Michigan. However the Terps would need their senior leader and it showed.
With four minutes to go in the first half, Maryland fans phones started buzzing with “Who are these guys?” Maryland had seemed to find the offense they have been looking for all season long. But soon those phones would go silent as Michigan would rip off a 16 – 2 run and Michigan would find itself up 40 – 38.
While Maryland shot 5-of-10 from three in the first half, Michigan’s bench out scored the Terp’s bench 21 – 10. One thing was made certain, neither team will back down. Michigan coach Juwan Howard mentioned the importance of his team understanding their roles and the importance of stepping up when given the opportunity during his halftime interview.
Morsell and Dickinson would immediately make their presence known once more as they scored for their respective teams on back to back possessions. Michigan would eventually find themselves up seven as Wiggins and Scott missed open looks on the perimeter. Turgeon would call a timeout to regroup his team after missing their opening four shots from three point range.
After the timeout, Maryland would continue to struggle. Michigan appeared to lock down defensively and make adjustments on both end of the basket which when combined with the first half, Michigan would go on a 27 – 6 run and built a lead that would require more consistent shooting from the Terps in order to make a game of it.
While an intensive individual effort was made by Morsell, Maryland continued to pass the ball around the perimeter and settling for jump shots. The early intensity and penetration towards the rim faded and every comeback attempt would seem to clank off the front of the rim.
During a TV time, intensity seemed to roll over from Morsell and Mark Turgeon. The normally restrained Juwan Howard would be sent to the locker room after needing to be restrained from his assistant coaches and receiving a double technical with his team up 10. Morsell could be seen giving the thumbs up to the opposing bench and Turgeon would be hit with his own technical foul after defending his players.
Both teams would respond and Maryland would find themselves within five points, but once again the offense would look stagnant and Michigan would punish the efforts on the other end of the floor with several open looks that would put Michigan up double digits.
The contest would be played evenly for the next few minutes with neither team able to gain ground. Both teams would remain competitive with calculated words and positioning not wanting to draw a fouled that might hurt their teams effort to find victory.
Michigan would show why they are ranked as high as #3 in the country. Michigan would sink their claws into Maryland on both end of the floor and would find their third double digit victory over Maryland this season. Michigan has the talent, depth, and coaching that could win the National Championship this season. Wagner (16 points), Smith (18 points 14 assists), and Brooks (16 points) led the Wolverines today, but Livers, Dickinson, or Brown could do it on any given night.
Maryland entered the Big 10 tournament hoping to have fulfilled the requirements of the NCAA selection committee this Sunday. With their victory against Michigan State they should have done that, and will now wait patiently as the Wolverines terrorize the rest of the conference.