Michigan 68, Maryland 67

Submitted by Seth on January 15th, 2018 at 9:50 PM

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sure.

It was your typical trap game. Playing 51 hours after a season-defining road win in East Lansing, Beilein’s clearly exhausted Michigan squad barely scraped together 20 points in the first half. Then, as trap games go, they erased the 10-point deficit right out of the break, pushed it to a 10-point lead thanks to a little-used freshman sparkplug, lost the 10-point lead, went down by 1 point with 3.5 seconds, and won on two MAAR free throws, just another couple of points in a career that’s seen a thousand of them.

Michigan certainly came out like they’d just played the biggest game of their season two days ago, missing layups, dunks and open threes as the Terps opened a 30-20 deficit at the half. In the frame the Wolverines shot just 31% from the field without getting to the line. MAAR in particular was scuffling,

Maryland, on five days rest, was able to collect a few early buckets in transition and capitalize on more than a few bounces. Michigan played strong defense, forcing the Terps to use the entire shot clock and take five desperation heaves—their eight points off of those low-percentage attempts were most of the 10-point difference in the half.

As Mr. Bridges noted after Saturday’s game, Michigan doesn’t really focus on toughness. Yet for the second time in three days these non-toughness-focusing players erased a halftime deficit out of the break. Zavier Simpson sparked the comeback with a few brilliant series, one a defensive set in which he cut off an Anthony Cowan drive, fought through a screen, knocked the ball out of bounds, assisted on a bad shot, and collected the rebound. Down three Z drove the length of the court, released a floater from the top of the paint, and sank the and-one to tie it 30-30.

Then in came Jordan Poole.

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“Poole’s B1G eFG%: 70.6” —Ace  [Marc-Grégor Campredon]

If the Purdue game was a taste, this was a coming out party for Michigan’s (arguably) most talented freshman. Poole immediately showed his characteristic awareness for the arc. In one sequence he sank a transition three, blocked a Maryland attempt at the same, and got back down to deliver Z’s drive and kick. In minutes Michigan had a 45-41 lead. Later he’d hint at his ceiling as a creator with a beautiful bounce-pass that set up a Teske and-one and pushed Michigan’s lead to 8.

With Z’s backups struggling and Poole hot, Beilein experimented with a MAAR-Poole-Matthews lineup. This didn’t look bad—it got Wagner an open top of the key 3PA (he missed). It also opened up transition lanes for Maryland. A pair of Wagner free throw misses and a small Maryland run on two crazy buckets forced a timeout with the lead cut to four, setting up the ho hum finish.

Under two minutes, MAAR missed a layup and Wagner picked up a foul on a rebound as Maryland cut Michigan’s lead to 2 with 1:19 remaining. On the ensuing possession Matthews fought his way out of a trap, and Michigan passed it around the horn to get MAAR an open three and Michigan a two-point lead. The teams then traded layups, then with 20 seconds left Cowan sank an improbable line drive three, Z missed a pair of free throws, and Kevin Heurter sank one of his signature ladder triples to put Maryland ahead a point with 3.5 seconds left.

In typical trap game fashion, Isaiah Livers hit MAAR on a perfect deep flag route. Abdur-Rahkman, at 998 career points, tripped over a Terp and picked up the foul. The rest was academic.

Michigan escapes their murderous stretch at 2-1 (that shoulda been 3-0) with a tournament resume, and now has a few days to rest before their Thursday tilt in Lincoln, followed by Rutgers at home.

[After the jump: a box score, more photos by MG, some favorite tweets, and at some point you might want to breathe]

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Box Score:

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Photos by MG:

This is one sequence:

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Tweets:

Comments

Butch-dontcall…

January 16th, 2018 at 9:28 AM ^

beilien doesnt like to foul but.... why dont you foul when up by 2 points and take away the chance of a three... put them at the line to make 2 and get the ball back with worst case being overtime ... almost bit us in the butt....

that being said-- beilein is a god....

BassDude138

January 16th, 2018 at 10:01 AM ^

You don't intentionally put a team on the line with a chance to tie the game. If they were up 3 at the time I could maybe see putting them at the line, but 99% of coaches still won't do that. The kid hit a shot, hats off. More times than not a team misses that shot and that is the ball game.

Uncle Rico

January 16th, 2018 at 10:22 AM ^

Sure we got robbed in the Purdue game, but honestly, we should have lost this Maryland game.  I'm not sure I've seen a worse 1st half of basketball in any year, or at least I can't remember it.  So, I guess it balanced out.  

1 week ago, we'd all take 2-1 on this 3-game stretch, especially with one of them in EL.

What we've learned:  This is a pretty good team which will be fun to watch over the next 2 months.  I wasn't so sure about that in November.  Kudos to JB and staff.

Maize4Life

January 15th, 2018 at 10:02 PM ^

a Exhilirating Win and a HUGE Important win..Team needs to work on 2 things

1. Obvious..FREE THROWS...Z, Matthews, and MO missed 2 big ones

2. LEARN TO PUT TEAMS AWAY..Too many times this year theyve let teams back in it and almost cost them today

 

BUT they grinded in out and found a way to win to keep the  momentum going

 

Nebraska in Lincoln scares me..they are very physical and play lights out at home

Steve in PA

January 15th, 2018 at 10:37 PM ^

Livers is getting toasted on when to switch/not switch.  Maryland's 3pt to take the late lead was a missed switch.  Sparty exploited it too.  He's young and will learn, but until he does it is going to be a problem.

TrueBlue2003

January 16th, 2018 at 12:44 AM ^

which is almost scary to think how good our defense will be as he figures it out, because with him in there, it's already by far the best defense we've ever had under Beilein.  He's such a good on-ball defender of so many positions.  Needs to get the mental part of it down.

But he totally redeemed himself with that pass.  Wow!

tpilews

January 16th, 2018 at 8:34 AM ^

Kinda like baseball, how you've got a Tuesday mid week matchup on the road and then a 3 game series on the road Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and then a Tuesday/Wednesday homegame? 2nd semester always was a blur during season. Studying on the bus ride to/from games. 

The Fugitive

January 15th, 2018 at 9:59 PM ^

Teams that yap about Michigan's toughness seem to get their asses kicked.

Team MVP Maverick Morgan got to see that first hand last year.

Keep flapping your gums, B1G.

Robbie Moore

January 15th, 2018 at 11:30 PM ^

You're going to question Beilein at this point? Good lord...Turgeon call them undefendable. Beilein's offense is rolling and and his team is playing (!!!) great defense. They survived the ultimate trap game. 

And don't worry...Poole is going to be prepared for his national coming out party in March.

TrueBlue2003

January 16th, 2018 at 12:51 AM ^

the best PG in the conference.  But that Cowan guy is tough.

Z still gets my vote for second team.  Despite struggling with his shot, he had his second straight 5 assist, zero TO game.  That sequence in which he hit Wagner for the three off the pick and roll and then drove and dished to Robinson for the three was Darius Morris like.  He just got into the paint and picked who was going to hit the three.

bronxblue

January 15th, 2018 at 10:04 PM ^

There is a time to be critical, and absolutely there are lessons to be taken from a game like this, but these are the types of games championship teams win.  I know it's cliche, but they found a way to weather some bad breaks and little rest and still pick up a big win.  I think OSU is going to cool down and lose a couple of games, MSU is reeling, and as we saw Purdue has some weaknesses that can be exploited.  They'll probably come up short in the conference title race, but if they hold as a 6th seed I think a bunch of teams are going to be praying Michigan isn't in their region come tourney times.  

Jonesy

January 16th, 2018 at 2:18 PM ^

Yes, this, we're up 2 with little time on the clock and we throw the ball in to Z when Rahk is standing right next to him and Maryland isn't contesting the inbounds. Then Z just stands there, gets fouled, and I'm saying to myself no no no no no and exactly what I worried about happens. Why the fuck didn't we throw the ball to Rahk?

WolverineHistorian

January 15th, 2018 at 10:09 PM ^

I just about threw up in my mouth when Wagner missed both free throws that would have put us up 11 once our red hot shooting in the second half became nonexistent.  Something in the pit of my stomach just told me something horrible was on the horizon.

I'm sick of how often teams drain every f*cking 3 in crunch time against us.  Like the Purdue game, they were hitting NBA 3's, circus 3's, pitch and catch 3's when we should have been closing the game out. 

I'm really worried that our free throw shooting is going to cost us a game or two that we should win this season.

I'm happy but I'm more relieved than happy.  Go Blue.

DrunkOnHiggins

January 16th, 2018 at 7:24 AM ^

I know they had to go the length of the court but I'll never turn a basketball game off unless the clock says all zeros. Not sure if anyone here remembers but back in 2005 the Pistons played an early season road game in Boston. Pistons were down 1 with 0.8 left. Rip Hamilton made a great cut, caught the ball and in one motion turned, gunned and drained the game winner. 3.2 seconds felt like an eternity.

Edit. Decided to look it up. Got to love YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bbQUGogxus