Instant Reactions: Maryland 58, Michigan State 63

Maryland saw its four-game win streak come to an end after falling to Michigan State 63-58. In a game where Maryland opened the game in a 15-point deficit, Maryland battled back but ultimately fell to 2-6 on the road the season. Instant reactions with Maryland falling to 16-8 (7-6): 

Tales of Two Halves on Offense

Maryland’s road woes have been well documented, averaging nearly 15 points less per game on the road compared to at home, and the start to Tuesday’s game didn’t exactly reverse course. It didn’t help that Scott went to the bench after picking up his second foul not even two minutes into the game as Michigan State quickly jumped out to a 10-0 lead. But after the Spartans went up 13-0 a minute later, the veteran forward found himself back on the floor. By the time Maryland hit their first field goal roughly five minutes in, they were already facing a 15-4 deficit in front of a rowdy Breslin Center. Julian Reese and Jahmir Young then combined to score the next 11 points to trim the lead to six, but it was a sign of things to come for Maryland’s offense.

Maryland struggled to find balance on offense as Young and Reese scored six of Maryland’s eight field goals in the first half, despite the Spartans doing well to limit the Terps in the post. To make matter worse, the Terps shot just 30.8% from the floor. The good news is eight field goals came off four assists, but Maryland would look to switch it up.

Ian Martinez would start the second half as five different players scored at least one bucket through the first seven, taking advantage of the Spartans’ lapses to turn four early turnovers into points before opening the offense inside and out. After the Spartans pushed their lead to 38-26 four minutes into the second half, Maryland would go on a 14-0 run to take their first lead of the game. Suddenly, Maryland’s road offense mirrored its home offense as Jahmir Young found success in the lane, Donta Scott was able to go to work on the block while Hakim Hart added ten points in the second half. Patrick Emilien also loomed large with six second-half points, thanks to a perfect 4-for-4 from the line, while Martinez would play the entire second half as Maryland continued to chip away.

Second Half Turning Point

Julian Reese was called for a technical just two minutes into the second half after he got tangled with his defender after the whistle, giving the talented big his third personal foul, but Maryland was able to play smart ball through its comeback efforts. Until the 8:35 mark in the second half when Reese was called for his fourth foul, sending him to the bench shortly thereafter with Maryland ahead 48-46. The Spartans then went on a 6-0 run highlighted by consecutive triples, sending the Breslin Center into an eruption as head coach Kevin Willard called a timeout to calm his team down. The offensive foul also marked the last time that the Terps held the lead in the game.

Reese was still able to provide a spark in the comeback efforts after Maryland doubled its points in the paint in the second half (20) compared to the first half (10), but it’s the outside shooting that continues to be a concern for Maryland.

Three Point Struggles Continue

Maryland already entered Tuesday night as the second-worst three-point shooting team in the Big Ten, just narrowly ahead of Minnesota, but Tuesday night’s performance reinforced Maryland’s biggest weakness on the roster. After missing their first five attempts from deep, finished just 3-of-22 from beyond the three-point loss in another abysmal shooting night. Don Carey proved to be as inefficient as ever after finishing 0-for-4 with all attempts coming from deep in 11 minutes while Young, Hart and Scott were the lone Terps to convert from deep. It’s been Maryland’s Achilles heel this season with an inability to create a proven inside-out game, and against the Spartans, it loomed largest.

On the opposite end, Maryland had little answer for the Spartans’ three-point shooting after watching Tyson Walker and Joey Houser knock down three triples each as Michigan State shot 45% from deep.

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