After picking up a solid win over Penn State on Tuesday, Maryland was faced with their biggest matchup of the season. The only problem is they had just two days to prepare. The Terps traveled to East Lansing on Thursday and got blown out by the #1 ranked Michigan State Spartans 91-61.
It’s almost crazy to think how fast the game fell apart for Maryland. With six minutes to play in the first half, the two Big Ten teams were tied at 29 points. The Terps came out of the gate fast and matched the Spartans intensity by hitting eight of their first ten shots. Kevin Huerter was the key to this hot start and ended up scoring 14 points in the first half.
Despite getting off to an amazing start, Maryland could not keep Michigan State down. The Spartans enjoyed an insane three-point shooting percentage in the first half, going 10-16 and scoring 30 or their first 44 points from beyond the arc.
Once the Spartans started to create some separation it was over for this inexperienced Maryland team. Michigan State finished the half with a 15-3 run to take a 44-29 lead the break.
The Terps came into this game as an extreme underdog for many reasons. One of those being the fact that Michigan State has a lot of depth and the Terps don’t after their recent injuries. This became evident as the Spartans started to pull away. Mark Turgeon’s team looked gassed and were just trying to make it to the half.
The problem is, Maryland came out of the break looking just as uninspired. Michigan State is the number one team in the country for a reason, but the Terps didn’t show much of an effort to change their game plan. Both Anthony Cowan and Huerter looked very confident at times but they couldn’t get the ball inside to mix up the offensive attack. This forced the perimeter players to throw up way too many contested three pointers while the game slipped away.
To harp on the depth issues, Both Bruno Fernando and Michael Cekovsky had four fouls a piece before the mid-way point in the second half. This made them absolutely non-existent for the remainder of the game and they finished with seven and two points respectively. With no one to substitute, Maryland just couldn’t keep pace with a very fast and fluid Spartan team.
Just to emphasize how dominate Michigan State was, four players finished the night with double-digit scoring. Miles Bridges has been a monster for the Spartans this season and he put on a show Thursday night with 15 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds.
Michigan State also came very close to scoring 100 points in their fifth straight game. However, the previous four games were against non-conference pushovers like Houston Baptist and Long Beach State. I will let you decide what that says about Maryland. The Spartans have scored less than 80 points in just four games this season.
You can’t help but feel disappointing in this Maryland team. I know that they had a slim chance to defeat the best team in the country on two days rest but after their hot start, the second half was just torture to watch. The Terps will have a chance to bounce back on Sunday as they rerun home to host Iowa. The Hawkeyes are really struggling this season with a 9-8 record (0-4 in Big Ten) that puts them at the bottom of the conference.
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