Terps beat Spartans

Timothy Earl January 1, 2015 Comments Off on Terps beat Spartans

u-marylandIt took two overtimes, but the 12th-ranked Maryland Terrapins won their first-ever Big Ten opener, 68-66 over the Michigan State Spartans before 14,797 disappointed spectators at Breslin Center.

The Terps were led by their senior leader Dez Wells who finished with 16 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals. His clutch three pointer with five seconds to play in the game sent Maryland into the first overtime. He also had a key steal and dunk in the second overtime to give his team the lead and the momentum they would need to outlast the Spartans.

Freshman Melo Trimble also did his part by hitting six free throws down the stretch in the second overtime. It is not a surprise since Trimble leads the Big Ten in free throw accuracy, making 90 percent of his attempts. Although he had a tough shooting night from the floor he was 12-14 from the free throw line and led the team in scoring with 17 points.

The Terps (13-1, 1-0 Big Ten) appeared to be in trouble in the first overtime when a technical foul was called on coach Mark Turgeon when he argued about a no call on a drive by Trimble. The foul gave the Spartans two free throws and possession of the ball with 1:52 to play in the first overtime. Fortunately for the Terps they only hit one of the free throws to take a 55-51 lead and missed a jumper. Wells then fed Jon Graham ( seven points ) for a layup and his two free throws tied the score at 55-55.

The Terps played great defense as the Spartans held the ball for the last shot and when the shot by Bryn Forbes  clanked off the rim the game was sent into double overtime.

The first half is best quickly forgotten as each they tried to outdo the other when it came to poor offense execution. A Travis Trice jumper made the score 4-2 Michigan State with 16:33 to play in the first half. The Terps defense then held the Spartans scoreless until the 10:48 mark of the first half when a Branden Dawson basket made the score 9-6 Maryland.

Not to be outdone, the Terps had a 6:40 scoring drought and another four plus minutes without scoring which included some poor shot selection and sloppy play as the Terps committed 21 turnovers as each team was adjusting the the pressure of league play. Trice, the Spartans leading scorer with 26 points, plus six assists and two steals had eight of his teams points in the first half which mercifully ended with Maryland ahead by the stunning score of 17-14. Each team shot less than 34 percent for the game.

The second half had a better offensive showing but neither team was able to separate from the other. Michigan State had their largest lead of the game at 25-21 with 15:51 to play. The teams continued to trade baskets and a Trice 3-pointer gave his team a five point lead at 40-35 with 4:32 left to play in the game.

The gritty Terrapins fought back and Well’s three, after Michigan State coach Tom Izzo decided not to foul to force Maryland to take two free throws, tied the game at 48-48 sending the game into the first overtime.

The Terps won the rebounding battle 52-36, with Jake Layman leading the way with nine boards. Layman, who was in foul trouble was held to a season-low four points. The Terrapins Evan Smotrycz scored nine points and collected eight rebounds. Guard Richaud Pack also had nine points and a key rebound late in the second overtime which led to two free throws that put the game out of reach for the Terps.

Dawson led the Spartans in rebounds with 11 and Dawson, Forbes and Matt Costello each scored nine points in a losing effort for the (9-5, 0-1 Big Ten) Spartans.