Jahmir Young burst down the court after a Michigan State miss with the Terps trailing by two. Maryland men’s basketball, with the game in the balance, had the ball in the hands of its leading scorer.
But Young lost his handle as he started to drive to the rim for a game-tying basket. A Michigan State player jumped on the ball as the buzzer sounded. His season-high seventh turnover and Maryland’s season-high 18th giveaway of the day doomed the Terps’ second-half comeback effort.
Maryland overcame a 12-point halftime deficit but struggled to score down the stretch in a 61-59 loss to Michigan State on Sunday in College Park. The Spartans claimed their first away win of the year while the Terps dropped another close game.
“[The Spartans] do a great job of getting into gaps and I thought we overpenetrated three or four times, or five or six times, and that got us into trouble and got them on the break,” coach Kevin Willard said. “When your starting backcourt has 11 turnovers, that’s just tough to overcome.”
Despite its poor first half, Maryland surged after the break. The Terps (11-8, 3-5 Big Ten) went on an 11-2 run to start the second half thanks to threes from Young and Donta Scott and a pair of layups by Julian Reese, who was held to one point in the opening 20 minutes.
Maryland continued to chip away at Michigan State’s advantage and tied the game at 48 with about 12 minutes to go. A Young three-pointer four minutes later gave the Terps their first lead since early in the first half.
The fifth-year senior came off a 36-point performance in Maryland’s loss to Northwestern and has averaged 26 points across the Terps’ last seven games. Young struggled relative to his recent performances on Sunday, shooting just 6-for-15 from the field along with his seven turnovers in 36 minutes, but hit multiple crucial shots down the stretch.
“I know you didn’t notice it but I guarded [Young] too,” Spartans coach Tom Izzo joked. “We put everybody except the kitchen sink on him … Chuck Daly had the Jordan rules, when you play a guy like that … he should look up and see six eyes every time he’s got the ball.”
The Terps, in addition to finding their offensive footing, suffocated the Spartans. Michigan State (12-7, 4-4 Big Ten) shot just 26.9 percent from the field after halftime and Maryland handily outrebounded the Spartans throughout the entire game, securing 37 boards to Michigan State’s 22.
The Terps didn’t fully capitalize on that early second-half outburst. Both teams struggled to score as the second half wound down. Michigan State missed 11 consecutive field goals and Maryland suffered another scoring drought of more than four minutes but trailed by just one with less than four minutes to go.
The Terps weren’t able to outscore the Spartans down the stretch as Willard’s squad fell to 0-5 in one-possession games this season. Maryland held Michigan State to just 17 second-half points but squandered a crucial opportunity for their second quad one win of the year.