Michigan left the Maryland men’s basketball team about six seconds to steal a bucket at the end of the first half of the Terps’ 68-67 loss Monday.
The clock kept running after the Wolverines’ layup fell through the basket, and coach Mark Turgeon and other players and coaches on the sideline rapidly clapped their hands to indicate the Terps should move quickly for an opportunity at a final shot.
But forward Bruno Fernando froze after collecting the ball beneath the hoop. Two seconds later, the freshman tapped it toward guard Anthony Cowan without having retreated out of bounds. Cowan jumped up and down in frustration. Turgeon punched the air and nearly stormed off the court entirely. Cowan didn’t get the ball until there were two seconds left, and his long-range heave was well short.
Maryland’s defense at the end of the game wasn’t the team’s only inbound blunder Monday. pic.twitter.com/2MdvXBoBPc
— James Crabtree-Hannigan (@JamesCrabtreeH) January 16, 2018
By the end of the game, Maryland had committed an even bigger inbound-play blunder under that basket, showing a lack of attention to detail that doomed the Terps to defeat and moved the young squad to 1-4 on the road this season.
“This one obviously stings a little bit,” Turgeon said. “We thought we had it.”
Cowan admitted that during the stoppage after guard Kevin Huerter’s 3-pointer gave Maryland a one-point lead with 3.5 seconds left, the team celebrated instead of planning how to defend the final sequence. The Wolverines made Maryland pay for that lapse of judgement.
Turgeon tried to tell his team not to allow Michigan to catch the ball running toward its basket and elected not to have anybody guard the inbounder, forward Isaiah Livers. But Huerter lost Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Livers delivered a 55-foot bullet pass that snuck just over Cowan’s arm and found Abdur-Rahkman running toward the basket.
“Once I saw him catch it and get a head of steam,” Huerter said, “I knew it was bad news.”
Fernando fouled Abdur-Rahkman with 1.2 seconds remaining. Abdur-Rahkman converted his free throws, and another hopeless Maryland desperation shot sealed a loss the Terps said was more painful than the blowouts they’d suffered recently to Ohio State and Michigan State.
Afterward, players and coaches replayed the final seconds in their heads.
“He was my man,” Huerter said. “I don’t think I should’ve switched off.”
“I probably should’ve turned and faced the inbounder instead of just turning the other way,” Cowan said. “It went over my head.”
“Blame me,” Turgeon said. “I didn’t get my point across to my players. We don’t want them catching the ball going downhill.”