No. 5 Maryland men’s lacrosse entered halftime against No. 16 Michigan trailing 7-6, the fourth time this season it trailed at the halfway mark of a game.
The Terps went 2-1 in their previous three, with wins over No. 3 Virginia and No. 8 Penn State and a loss to No. 2 Notre Dame. They started the third quarters with aggression in each contest, scoring within the first two minutes in the frame all three times.
They didn’t complete that feat against the Wolverines. In fact, it was Michigan who struck first after the break and Maryland never recovered — suffering its first regular season Big Ten loss since 2019 due to poor second half play.
“They won some face-offs, and I just felt like at times we weren’t all on the same page,” coach John Tillman said.
[Hurt by scoring runs, Maryland men’s lacrosse was upset by Michigan]
The Wolverines scored three goals in the first 1:44 of the second half. They got out to a blazing start, showing no letdown from their excellent first half against the then-No. 2 team in the nation.
Just like that, Michigan led 10-6.
Maryland trimmed its deficit to 11-8 entering the fourth quarter, but four unanswered Wolverines goals put the dagger in the hearts of the Terps.
Maryland was outscored 9-5 when goals mattered most — in the latter stages of the contest. With the game on the line in the fourth quarter, the Wolverines outscored them 5-1 during the first nine minutes of the final frame.
“I just think we didn’t really play well,” Tillman said. “That’s stuff we[‘ve] got to look back at … talking to the guys and talking to Jake [Bernhardt], and looking at the film, make sure we’re getting feedback from them on what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, and make sure we’re setting the guys up for success.”
[Maryland men’s lacrosse suffers first Big Ten loss since 2019 in 16-11 defeat to Michigan]
The poor second-half performance from Maryland wasn’t an outlier — it marked the second straight week where the Terps’ offense came out of the break with a lackluster outing.
After a 10-goal showing in the first half against Penn State, the Terps looked out-of-sync in half two; they only scored twice over the next 19:04. But against the Nittany Lions, the Terps’ defense kept them in the lead before their offense eventually pulled away.
That wasn’t the case for Maryland in the Michigan bout, and the Terps were upset as a result.
In what has been the story of the season for the Maryland offense, it struggled to convert on looks in both second halves.
The Terps converted on just 17.6 percent of their looks in the second half against Penn State. That number improved slightly to 26.3 percent against Michigan, but it was still a poor showing.
Maryland is shooting just 30.8 percent in the second half over the course of the season.
“Our shooting has been inconsistent … it’s an area where we got to improve,” Tillman said. “Shooting is not only the technique — so we’re working on fundamentals and mechanics — but also the types of shots, locations. How quickly do we shoot? Do we settle for the first one? Do we try to generate a better one? And so I think there are a lot of things in play there.”