ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The No. 6 Michigan Wolverines (23-3, 12-3) hosted the No. 24 Maryland Terrapins (19-7, 10-5) on Saturday as both teams continued Big Ten action.
The Wolverines followed up an upset loss to Penn State with a redemption win against Maryland. Here are some takeaways from Michigan’s 65-52 triumph over the Terrapins.
Charles Matthews Sets the Tone
Matthews came into this game averaging 13.2 points. However, in the first half alone, he dropped 8-points by starting the match shooting 4-of-4 from the hardwood. This performance gave the Wolverines a much-needed spark to build momentum.
Additionally, Matthews showcased his basketball abilities at the highest level. He was always the first one out on fastbreaks, knocked down mid-range jumpers, and attacked the lane.
He was active on defense and read the mind of his opponents. This awareness is what led to those multiple fastbreaks buckets which included dunks that energized the home crowd. All in all, he has proven why he is the senior on the team. In the loss to Penn State, he was the only player for Michigan with a solid stat line of 24-points. By setting the tone, it puts the rest of the team in a great position and allows them to get comfortable without sacrificing the first five to ten minutes of a game.
With the season coming to a close, it was vital for Matthews to show NBA scouts that he deserves a chance to hoop at a professional level. He finished the contest with 14-points and six rebounds.
One of the ways the Wolverines planned on beating the Terps was through scoring points off turnovers. To do this, the first step is to obvious force the turnovers, and Michigan did that.
From the smothering defense to intercepting passes, every Wolverine seemed like defensive monsters. These turnovers prevented Maryland from attempting shots and are what enable Michigan to have a nine-point led at halftime although they were shooting poorly.
Maryland had 16-turnovers and was trailing for the entire match due to these turnovers. Additionally, the Terps gave up over 14 fastbreak points mainly from the turnovers and could not force a single Michigan turnover in the second half.
Terrible Three-Point Shooting
Michigan’s three-point shooting was awful for the entire game. Thanks to this poor shooting, Maryland was able to gain momentum. In fact, midway through the second half, the Terps cut the lead to three points.
If it were not for the constant turnovers from Maryland, then the outcome of this game would be much different. Also, if Michigan played this game on the road, then the crowd would not be on the Wolverines’ side, and they are not known to play too well on the road against Big Ten teams (cough.. cough.. Penn State).
John Beilein’s team ended the match shooting 7-of-26 from behind the arc. But to Beilein’s credit, he let his team continue shooting and with around five minutes left in the second half, it was the three-pointers by Ignas “Iggy” Brazdeikis and Jon Teske that iced the game. Teske was shooting 0-6 from downtown before hitting his sole defining three.
Michigan is a three-point shooting team so although it was not working the entire game, it is a part of the team’s identity so straying away from it may have cost the Wolverines the game.
The final score might make it seem like Michigan comfortably won this match, yet this was not the case. Maryland remained stable in the game for around 34-minutes but could not close-out the last 6-minutes.
Lastly, on February 21, Michigan will face off against Minnesota on the road, and Maryland will verse Iowa on the road on February 19.
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