Kevin Huerter hit a go-ahead three-pointer with just over three seconds remaining, but (#23) Michigan sank two free-throws with a second left and escaped with a 68-67 win.
This game was a roller-coaster, back-and-forth affair that was a game of two halves. Maryland as they have in the last two road games, started strong.
Michigan took an early 2-0 lead, but that was the only time in the first half Maryland trailed on the scoreboard.
The Terrapins were dictating the pace of play by slowing the game down and limiting Michigan’s possessions by not allowing any second chance opportunities.
With Bruno Fernando not starting due to a lingering illness, Maryland was playing small ball in the first half with four guards around senior center Michal Cekovsky down low.
In order for this line-up to be effective defensively, guards like Jared Nickens and Darryl Morsell have to box out on the glass and secure rebounds.
At halftime, Nickens had four rebounds, and Morsell had six.
Possibly due to their upset win at rival top five opponent Michigan State just this past weekend, Michigan looked sluggish early on.
Several times the Wolverines missed open three-point attempts or botched uncontested lay-ups that made Terp fans believe things may be building to an upset in Ann Arbor through the first half of play as Maryland led by ten, 30-20.
The second half was quite different than the first. Michigan started off shooting 6-8 from three-point range after going 2-9 in the first half.
At one point in the game, after Maryland led 37-30, Michigan hit five straight three-pointers on five straight offensive possessions.
Michigan came out energized after the break and found their hot touch from deep. They extended their lead to as many as ten at one point with six minutes to play, 59-49.
Maryland, unlike the last two road games, kept fighting back and would not go away.
Anthony Cowan led the comeback with his aggressive play getting to the bucket and getting looks from the painted area. He finished with a game-high 24 points on 8-15 shooting from the field, and 4-6 from three-point range.
Kevin Huerter struggled shooting the ball for most of the game, but hit his first three after starting 0-5 to cut the Michigan lead to four with just under two minutes to play.
Michigan twice pushed the lead back up to five in the final two minutes, but the Terps were resilient.
Anthony Cowan sank a three-pointer to cut Michigan’s lead to two with twenty seconds left.
After Zavier Simpson missed two free-throws, Maryland had a possession down two to force overtime or take a late lead.
Cekovsky found a streaking wide open Kevin Huerter, who got an open look from deep off of a beautiful screen by Joshua Tomaic, which he drilled to silence the home crowd for the moment.
Michigan took their final time-out, trailing by one with 3.2 remaining on the clock.
Head Coach Mark Turgeon elected to not guard the inbounds passer. Michigan was able to throw the inbounds pass all the way past half-court and find a player already turning up court as he caught the pass with plenty of time.
Senior Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman drove toward the basket and was tripped and fouled by Fernando.
A career 92% free-throw shooter, Abdur-Rahkman calmly sank both and crushed the hearts of Maryland fans.
This game was there for the taking, and will definitely sting for quite some time. Maryland had a real opportunity to grab a ranked win on the road to help boost their March Madness resume which is lacking a signature win.
The Terps will look to even back up their conference record (3-4) this Thursday, when the Golden Gophers of Minnesota travel to Xfinity Center for an 8:30pm tip-off.