COLLEGE PARK, Md.–For the second straight game, the Maryland men’s basketball team faced a daunting deficit. But against Michigan State on Saturday evening, there was no miraculous comeback, no heroic game winner and for the first time this season, the Terps failed to protect home court.
The Spartans won 78-66 in front of a sold out Xfinity Center, putting a hold on Maryland’s chances to capture at least a share of the Big Ten regular season title.
“We could never really get control of the game,” Terps Coach Mark Turgeon said. “Michigan State was running [it’s] offense at a high level and we could hardly catch up to them.”
The Spartans (20-9, 12-6 Big Ten) set the tone offensively from the start, attacking the basket and knocking down wide open three pointers. The Terps (23-6, 13-5 Big Ten) struggled to put the ball in the basket until midway through the first half when they trimmed a 17-5 deficit down to five points.
Maryland sophomore Ricky Lindo Jr. ignited some life within his team when he nailed a three pointer to even things up at 23 with 10:04 remaining in the first half. Unfortunately for the Terps, that was the closest they came. Maryland never took the lead, as Michigan State was able to control the pace of the game.
“It was just [Michigan State’s] night,” Terps’ sophomore Jalen Smith said. “They were hitting shots and getting offensive rebounds.”
Spartans’ senior guard Cassius Winston played like an All-American, despite having seven turnovers. Winston recorded 20 points, four rebounds and six assists while shooting 5-6 from behind the arc. Winston’s highlight reel moment came in the first half when he drained a buzzer beater from half court.
After Maryland cut the deficit to 11 points in the second half, Winston buried a corner three pointer while drawing a foul. Winston converted the free throw, which extended the Spartans lead to 76-61 and silenced a Terps’ crowd that was buzzing since the morning.
“We let the game slip out of our hands and dug a ditch from ourselves,” Smith said.
Michigan State junior forward Xavier Tillman played an all-around game, registering 14 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and two blocks. Freshman Malik Hall added 16 points and six boards.
Terps’ senior guard Anthony Cowan Jr. couldn’t translate the same performance he had against the Spartans in East Lansing two weeks ago. Cowan had 13 points and went 0-3 from deep. The Bowie native hasn’t made a three-point field goal since Feb. 18 against Northwestern.
Smith registered his 20th double-double of the season, 20 points and 12 rebounds. Sophomores Eric Ayala and Aaron Wiggins combined to shoot 1-11 from the floor.
“We got to be a deeper team if we want to beat a team like that,” Turgeon said.
The Spartans were able to beat Maryland on the boards, out rebounding the Terps 35-29. Michigan State’s 19 offensive rebounds resulted in 19 second chance points, which proved to be one of the difference makers.
“It wasn’t our night,” Cowan said. “But, I got full confidence in my teammates and myself. We just got to get ready for Tuesday.”