The Maryland Terrapins yet again meet another Big Ten foe in the tournament. Playing the Michigan State Spartans, the Terps beat them twice in the regular season. And some would say that was their first real test, facing a Tom Izzo-coached team and showing they could beat a well-established team such as them. Both teams wanted a shot to play against the Wisconsin Badgers for the Big Ten Tournament.
Game Recap: No look bounce from Dezmine Wells to Melo Trimble gives him a three ball and first points for Terps. Dez Wells drives the lane for a one-handed flush giving Maryland a 5-0 run to start the game. Maryland was aggressive defensively, not allowing the Spartans to score inside, and with 15 minutes to go the Terps had a 12-1 advantage. Melo Trimble made all of his first four shots of the game and three of them were three-point shots. It was safe to say that man was feeling it. As surprising as this may have been to some, the Terps were up by a big margin 23-7.
No lead is safe in college basketball.
Under eight minutes to go, the Terps had a 12-point, 25-13 lead and the Spartans, led by Travis Trice and Valentine were closing on them with an 8-2 run. The Spartans had an offensive spurt of their own and stepped up their defensive intensity.
That new change of pace they adopted allowed them to come within 10 points at halftime, and the Terps only had an eight point, 33-25 lead. The Terps were 5-for-9 from the three-point line and their leaders Melo Trimble and Dez Wells had 13 points, a rebound and an assist. Wells had four points and two assists. He had to sit on the bench with two fouls and that allowed the Spartans to find some life as they didn’t have to worry about them both offensively.
Five minutes into the second half, Maryland’s lead was cut to five, 36-31, and the Spartans were on the verge of coming back, thanks to their stout defense. Michigan State took the lead 38-36 with under 13 minutes to go, thanks to a Valentine three ball in the corner, coming back from 16 down in the first half.
"As all of Maryland’s games have been lately, this one was a fight to the finish."
The game always comes down to the final minutes and both teams kept the game close with time running out. As all of Maryland’s games have been lately, this one is going to be a fight to the finish. Michigan State jumped out to a three point lead, 51-48. Michigan State was able to penetrate the Terps’ defense with ease continuously and get to the free-throw line.
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Maryland’s offensive inefficiency after Dez Wells left the court with two fouls reminded me of what happens to the Oklahoma City Thunder when either Russell Westbrook or Kevin Durant is struggling. The offense doesn’t look the same when they’re not producing with fluidity.
That was the case for Maryland when Wells went out of the game.
Maryland’s ability is to fight while down and keep in games. They weren’t ever down by a big margin and they continued to get the ball inside and rebound.
It wasn’t enough to win, even still the Terps played a great game. The Spartans did a great job down the stretch of putting the Terps in foul trouble, and that allowed them to ultimately win the game.
Player of the Game: The players of the game for Michigan State were Travis Trice (20 points, four assists, three rebounds) and Brandon Dawson (17 points and eight rebounds).
Michigan State will play Wisconsin in the Big Ten Tournament Championship Game.
The Maryland Terrapins look to have a good seed in the NCAA Tournament come selection Sunday, March 15th. They should be proud of how far they’ve gotten in this tournament.