Jahmir Young sank his first free throw to cut Michigan State’s lead to three with just 18 seconds remaining.
His second was left just short and left the Terps scrambling to try to trap the Spartans in the backcourt as the final seconds ticked down.
Malik Hall slipped toward the opposite basket amidst the chaos and received a full court heave that sailed over every Maryland defender’s head. He dished it to Jaden Adkins, who slammed home a dunk that sealed Maryland men’s basketball’s fate in a 63-58 loss to Michigan State Tuesday in East Lansing.
The Spartans (15-9, 7-6 Big Ten) ended coach Kevin Willard’s squad’s four-game win streak and handed the Terps (16-8, 7-6 Big Ten) their fourth straight loss in the matchup.
A 7-2 Michigan State run extended its already sizable lead to double digits minutes into the second half, with a Maryland squad that struggled to score in the first half still failing to find immediate answers after the break.
Young drove to the basket and kissed a layup off the glass while being fouled four minutes into the half to break the Spartans run, with his free throw cutting the Terps’ deficit to single digits.
The Charlotte transfer poked the ball away from A.J. Hoggard on the ensuing possession and found Hakim Hart, who pushed the ball in transition and got another off-balance and-one layup to bounce in.
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“We came out with a little bit more sense of urgency on the offensive end [in the second half],” Willard said. “I just thought we came out so lackadaisical on the offensive in the first half, it just led them to getting out on the fast break which they’re terrific at.”
The pair of layups through contact catalyzed a 14-0 Maryland run that gave the Terps their first lead of the game eight minutes into the second half, but Maryland’s struggles from three weighed it down as the Spartans regained their footing.
Back-to-back threes from Akins and Tyson Walker helped Michigan State take the lead back, and a Joey Hauser’s third triple of the game put the Spartans in control with just over four minutes remaining.
“All three of [Hauser’s] threes were just kind of blown assignments that we had matched up pretty good and then we just left him,” Willard said. “He’s a bad guy to leave.”
Hart and Young attacked the basket in the waning minutes, with a Hart dunk making it a three-point game with just under two minutes to go.
The Terps missed two of their last four free throw attempts, allowing the Spartans to score the final basket of the game just as they scored the first. Michigan State also rattled off the next five makes from either team to start the game as it surged to a 15-0 lead, a reminder of Maryland’s struggles the last time it traveled to the state of Michigan.
The Spartans drained six of its first seven shots before Willard’s squad clamped up, forcing six straight misses from Michigan State that resulted in a scoring drought of well over five minutes for the home team.
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The Terps still couldn’t find their offensive footing during the Spartans’ struggles and didn’t get going until their leading scorer, Young, did himself. The guard scored seven of his nine first-half points in a row to cut Maryland’s deficit to six halfway through the opening frame.
Michigan State responded with a Akins jumper that was followed by a Hauser three to extend its advantage back to double digits. Hauser hit from behind the arc again later in the half to stunt a 6-0 Terps run that had cut Maryland’s deficit to five.
The Spartans made five of their 10 first-half attempts to take a nine-point lead into halftime. The Terps didn’t take advantage of their own looks from behind the arc, going 2-for-13 in the opening 20 minutes and finishing the game just 3-for-22 from deep.
Maryland was in the game until the end despite its 39.2 percentage shooting from the field and 13.6 percent shooting from three, but Adkins’ slam in the final seconds ended the Terps’ four game winning streak and denied Maryland its first back-to-back away wins since early 2020.