The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Terps can’t manage a last-gasp shot in a narrow loss to Michigan State

Michigan State 61, Maryland 59

Maryland’s Jahmir Young drives to the basket against Michigan State’s Carson Cooper in the second half Sunday afternoon in College Park. (Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
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Trailing by two in the final seconds, the Maryland men’s basketball team had the ball in the hands of the player who so frequently has delivered in big moments. But this time, Jahmir Young was unable even to attempt a shot before the buzzer, instead committing a turnover to seal a 61-59 loss to Michigan State on Sunday afternoon at Xfinity Center.

A second straight defeat left the Terrapins (11-8, 3-5), who had a season-high 18 turnovers, only a half-game out of last place in the Big Ten. Maryland also lost at home for just the third time in the past 31 home games.

Young was responsible for seven turnovers, also a season high. None was more costly than the point guard’s last, which allowed the Spartans (12-7, 4-4) to escape with their first road victory and deal Maryland a fifth consecutive defeat in the series.

In the final sequence, Young gathered a defensive rebound of Tyson Walker’s miss and charged down the court. He reached the three-point line but had the ball poked away by the Spartans’ Tre Holloman, and Michigan State smothered it as time expired.

“I thought we executed our defense really good,” Maryland Coach Kevin Willard said. “… You don’t want to call a timeout; you have a senior guard who you really depend on, who I have a lot of confidence in. … That’s on me; that’s not on Jahmir. I should have called [a] timeout.”

Young, the Big Ten’s second-leading scorer, finished with a game-high 19 points but shot 6 for 15. The former DeMatha standout had been on a torrid pace in his previous six games, averaging 26.5 points, including a 37-point performance in a win at UCLA on Dec. 22 and 36 during Wednesday’s loss at Northwestern.

Bri McDaniel’s hot start, Jakia Brown-Turner’s solid finish lift Terps

Young’s three-pointer with 8:26 to play Sunday gave Maryland a 53-50 lead, its first since early in the first half, and punctuated a comeback from a 15-point deficit. But A.J. Hoggard made a floater and a layup to put Michigan State back in front for good.

Maryland pulled within one point twice before Walker’s three-pointer with 44 seconds to play gave the Spartans a 61-57 lead. Young answered with a jumper, and the Terps ended up with the final possession to no avail.

“I know you didn’t notice it, but I guarded him, too,” Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo said in jest of his team’s strategy in guarding Young. “We put everybody except the kitchen sink on him. … Chuck Daly had the ‘Jordan Rules.’ When we play a guy like that, we have our rules.”

Walker led the Spartans with 15 points, going 5 for 14 from the field, and added five assists and five steals.

On the way to erasing a 12-point halftime deficit, Maryland was determined to get to the paint, whether via entry passes to 6-foot-9 forward Julian Reese or aggressive drives to the rim — particularly by forward Donta Scott. His layup with 12:16 to go pulled the teams even at 48. Michigan State went in front again until Reese got a short jumper to drop to tie the score at 50, setting the stage for a dramatic finish.

“Defensive intensity,” Scott said of how Maryland managed to rally. “Early on, we discussed that we were going to stop them from getting [points in] transition. I feel like in the first half we weren’t able to do that, and then in the second half we got a lot more keyed and locked in on stopping them.”

All is well at North Carolina, where the Tar Heels are thriving again

A sloppy first half left Maryland trailing 44-32 at halftime after the Spartans gained separation thanks to a 15-0 run. Holloman (12 points, all in the first half) made two three-pointers and added a fast-break dunk during the stretch, in which the Terps committed four turnovers in four-plus minutes.

Maryland missed 11 consecutive shots and went without a field goal for more than eight minutes. Further complicating matters, Reese committed his second foul with 4:11 left in the half, sending him to the bench.

“I told them at the beginning of the game, it’s hard,” Willard said. “You watch film, and [the Spartans’] first 10 minutes are always so — they always jump on you. They jumped on us [in East Lansing] last year. … It just takes you by surprise a little bit.”