The Maryland Terrapins found themselves looking to get out of the negative limelight in the national media by snapping out of their two-game losing streak. Sophomore guard Melo Trimble entered Sunday's tilt against Michigan totaling 20 points on 4-for-25 shooting from the field in Maryland's last two games. His shooting percentage wasn't great against Michigan, but his imprint on the game was left in all categories of the stat sheet.
Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard has been building a solid case for removing the interim tag on his position and being named head coach next season. The Badgers notched an impressive seven game winning streak before their latest loss to the Michigan State Spartans. A win against Illinois puts them at 17-10 and 9-5 in the conference.
Let's see how the action played out.
Game of the Night: Maryland Terrapins 86, Michigan Wolverines 82
The pregame hype around this game surrounded Melo Trimble's shooting slump and how Maryland was going to guard the perimeter against a Wolverine team who can fill it up from deep with ease. Michigan entered the under-16 timeout shooting 2-for-3 from the perimeter to hold serve with Maryland's 9-8 lead.
Maryland's defense sparked a 10-4 run once play resumed. Junior big man Damonte Dodd entered the game to give freshman Diamond Stone a breather and immediately made his presence felt with two quick blocks heading into the under-12 timeout. The Terps took a 19-12 lead into the second media timeout. A Jaylen Brantley three-pointer, steal and layup helped sparked a 14-0 run which forced the Wolverines into a quick timeout shortly after the media timeout.
In the midst of the Terrapin run, Michigan had missed their last 13 shots while Maryland continued to own the paint and pick up easy baskets. Robert Carter Jr. continued to have his way inside with Michigan's big men and poured in his sixth and seventh points on an and-one opportunity which inflated the Terrapin lead to 28-13 with 7:55 left in the first half.
Michigan's field goal drought of 7:30 ended when Derrick Walton Jr. took a steal coast to coast to help cut the lead down to 14. The Wolverines couldn't keep any Terrapin out of the lane, as Melo Trimble bulled his way into the paint for two free throws which built the lead to 30-17. Walton Jr. continued to leave his mark on the first half creating for himself and his teammates. Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman's layup off a Walton Jr. assist cut the Maryland lead to 35-27 with 3:27 left.
The Wolverines jumped out to a 10-2 run to cut the lead to 35-30, but two baskets by Diamond Stone helped keep the lead safe and allowed the Terrapins to ultimately take a 41-36 lead into halftime.
Michigan's run continued into the early minutes of the second half with low post scoring and three-point shooting from Mark Donnal. The Wolverines connected on their first seven shots of the second half and took a 54-53 lead with 14:56 remaining.
Melo Trimble looked much more comfortable in the second half as he repeatedly got into passing lanes and in the paint to create scoring opportunities for himself and others. Excellent ball movement, inside scoring and two three-pointers from Jake Layman helped blossom the lead to 66-58 with 12:00 minutes left.
Mark Donnal continued to exploit Maryland's pick and roll defense to get easy points in the paint. The Terrapins fell asleep multiple times and failed to rotate over. The Wolverines were extremely efficient in the first half and 13 minutes into the second half as they totaled 20 assists on 28 made field goals. Their team play and efficiency cut the Maryland lead down to 72-70 with 7:08 left.
The tournament like intensity carried through to the under-4 timeout as both programs went back and forth in the scoring column. Walton Jr. picked up his fourth foul with five minutes remaining and the Terrapins regained the lead 76-75 with 3:50 left.
A Zak Irvin three-pointer cut the lead to 80-78, but Robert Carter Jr. continued to be the difference for Maryland as he poured in another put back layup to add two more points to the lead. With Maryland holding possession, the Terps called a timeout up 82-78 with 44.5 seconds left.
After a Trimble missed layup, Walton Jr. fouled out with 18 seconds left on an offensive push off foul on Rasheed Sulaimon. Sulaimon connected on both free throws to build the lead to 84-79 before a Duncan Robinson three-pointer cut the lead back to 84-82. After two free throws by Melo Trimble that extended the lead to 86-82, Jaylen Brantley came up with a crucial inbounds steal to put the game away.
Maryland had an impressive all-around team performance, but were led by Robert Carter Jr's 17 points and six rebounds. Senior Jake Layman had an efficient 14 points, Diamond Stone had 13 points and five rebounds and Melo Trimble had a very solid game of 14 points and eight rebounds. The Terrapins have three games left in the Big Ten regular season, and will enjoy a six day break before they hit the hardwood again on Saturday, February 27 at Purdue. Tipoff is set for 4:00 p.m. EST and will be televised on ESPN.
The Wolverines were the beneficiary of the unsung performance of big man Mark Donnal's 25 points and five rebounds. All five starters scored in double figures as Zak Irvin notched 11 points and four assists, Duncan Robinson poured in 10 points and nine rebounds, Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman had 16 and point guard Derrick Walton Jr. had 14 points, six rebounds and five assists. The Wolverines also have three games left before the Big Ten Tournament. Michigan will host Northwestern on Wednesday, February 24 on at 7:00 p.m. EST. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
It was a pretty sloppy offensive performance with only one player on both ends ending the first half in double figures. Illini point guard Kendrick Nunn tallied 12 points in the first 20 minutes and clearly looked like the best player on the court by getting others involved and creating for himself. Junior Malcolm Hill -- the other half of the dynamic Illinois duo - put together an impressive first half by posting eight points and six rebounds to help the Illini take a 29-24 halftime lead.
Wisconsin didn't have any double figure scorers in the first half. Redshirt freshman Ethan Happ came close with nine points and Vitto Brown notched seven. The rest of the Badgers failed to contribute much in the scoring column, especially from the perimeter -- Wisconsin shot 1-for-13 from the three-point line in the first half.
Malcolm Hill continued to put his offensive repertoire on display in the second half with an impressive step back jumper over the outstretched arm of Happ and an impressive crossover to help create space against Happ at the top of the key. The Badgers had no answer for Hill as he was able to score at will from multiple locations on the court.
After being down double digits for the start of the second half, Happ began to take over on offense as he was able to get to the free throw line - Happ was 6-for-10 from the charity stripe with 7:28 remaining in the game. A Bronson Koenig three-pointer and a Nigel Hayes midrange jumper forced Illinois to call timeout in order to stop the bleeding caused by a 17-0 run by Wisconsin. Illinois crept back into the game with five minutes remaining, but the combination of Happ and a stingy Badger defense helped extend the lead to a comfortable margin that was too much to overcome for Illinois.
Illinois was led in the scoring column by Malcolm Hill's 20 points and Kendrick Nunn's 15. Michael Finke chipped in with eight. Illinois begins their last quartet of games on Thursday, February 25 as they host Indiana. The game is scheduled to start at 9:00 p.m. EST on ESPN.
The Wisconsin Badgers needed this game in order to strengthen their NCAA tournament résumé, and despite a tumultuous first half, the Badgers rallied behind a strong performance by Ethan Happ to move to 17-10 with four games remaining in the regular season. Happ tallied another double-double on the season with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Nigel Hayes notched 17 points while point guard Bronson Koenig poured in 14. The Badgers head into their final stretch of the schedule with a road tilt against Iowa on Wednesday, February 24. Tipoff is set for 9:00 p.m. EST on the Big Ten Network.