After overcoming a 14-point deficit and coming back to beat Penn State on Wednesday, Michigan was back at the Crisler Center again to take Maryland in the Wolverines’ third conference game on the season.
Unfortunately for the Wolverines, they couldn’t get enough defensive stops in a back-and-fourth offensive battle in the second half, as they fell to Maryland 77-70.
Here are some game notes:
Early shooting Woes
For the second straight game, Michigan couldn’t seem to find any shooting consistency in the first half as they were held to just 28 points. While the Wolverines did shoot 40 percent from the field in the first half, the real struggle was from 3-point range where Michigan went just 3-for-11. None of the five starters scored more than six points, and for a team that lives and dies by the 3-ball, it was evident as to why Michigan’s scoring totals were low. Maryland heated up and went 4-for-5 from 3-point range to end the half, while Michigan went 0-for-7 to end the half from deep.
Strong Start in Second Half
After being out-played the entire first half by Maryland and going into the locker room ice cold, Michigan opened up the second half on a 9-1 run, closing the gap to just a one point Maryland lead. Moe Wagner and D.J. Wilson both had big slam dunks that got a very quite first half crowd into the game. The start to the second half seemed to be what kept Michigan in this game, as they hung around the rest of the way.
Back and Forth
Every time that the Wolverines would claw back to within a bucket of the Terrapins, Maryland had some kind of answer. Maryland started to get open looks from 3-point range in the middle of the second half and they didn’t miss them when they got the chance. Michigan on the other hand, found ways to slash to the hoop with Wagner and Rahkman throughout the game, and a couple key triples from Zak Irvin and Wilson kept Michigan right there as it went down the stretch. Wagner had answers with the 3-pointer or driving to the bucket time and time again until the finish. The entire second half was back and forth scoring until the clock simply was running out of time and Michigan had to foul, resulting in a loss. Michigan shot 50 percent from the field for the game, and played a much better offensive second half.
Despite the loss, Wagner played an outstanding game that showed how much he has grown since last season. Wagner scored 17 points to lead the Wolverines on 6-of-11 shooting for the game. He went just 2-for-7 from 3-point range, but both of his triples came at times where Michigan needed a bucket to hang around in this game. However, when it mattered most he had a chance at a pair of 1-and-1 free throws, he missed the front end of the attempt and it proved to hurt Michigan when they were down 73-70 and had to foul. Regardless, the big sophomore from Germany is making strides for this Michigan team.
Losing Hurts Now and Later
Michigan is now 11-5 overall and is just 1-2 in conference. Depending on how these team’s seasons turnout, Michigan has now lost to unranked Iowa on the road and Maryland at home. The Wolverines will need to pick it up as Big Ten play moves along and find a way to beat some of the top teams in the conference to strengthen their resume after a couple losses to start conference play.
Michigan will head to Champaign, Illinois to take on the Fighting Illini on Wednesday night. Tip will be at 9 p.m.