Five Key Plays: Michigan at Maryland

Alejandro Zúñiga

The Michigan basketball team stayed within striking distance for much of Saturday afternoon’s clash against Maryland, but the Terrapins ultimately pulled away late. In Five Key Plays, we look at the biggest moments in the Wolverines’ 66-56 loss.

1) Three-pointers result in big first-half swing

After the game, John Beilein lamented a few Spike Albrecht shots that would’ve changed the game had they fallen. This was surely one of them.

Albrecht cut through the lane, losing Melo Trimble, his defender. Upon receiving a pass in the right corner, the junior’s pump fake sent the Maryland freshman soaring into the bench, leaving Albrecht an open look for three. But the guard missed.

The Terrapins pushed the ball quickly after the miss, and the Wolverines couldn’t get set up fast enough on defense, leaving Richuad Pack open from deep. Maryland worked the ball to the guard, who buried the catch-and-shoot look.

The six-point swing put the Terrapins ahead, 24-21, and they would go on to take a 30-21 lead into halftime.

2) Irvin brings Michigan back in second half

Zak Irvin missed the last 6:55 of the first half due to foul trouble, and he made his presence felt after the break. The sophomore took Michigan’s first three shots of the second half, and, while only one went in, Irvin was very active on both ends of the court.

Irvin’s contributions began by stepping in front of a short bounce pass for a steal. Taking the ball up the court himself, the forward asked for a screen at the top of the key from Ricky Doyle. Using the separation, Irvin stepped into a straightaway three.

The sophomore diversified his game with three rebounds and three assists, and Beilein said he “loved” what Irvin did off the dribble. Five minutes into the second half, he drove from the left wing on Dez Wells, using hesitation moves to get into the paint and drawing a foul.

Irvin finished the second half with 13 points on 3-of-7 shooting, going 5-for-5 from the free throw line.

“I was just trying to get in a rhythm and get back out there, because it had been a while,” Irvin said of his strong second half.

3) Abdur-Rahkman silences the Xfinity Center

The reaction from several people on press row to this dunk was, “I had no idea he could do that.

Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman delivered the game’s most exciting moment with a punishing dunk over Jake Layman, who decided to turn away instead of trying to defend the jam. The play was created by a great read from Doyle, who flipped the direction of his screen at the last possible moment to open a lane to the basket.

The rest was all Abdur-Rahkman, who finished the one-handed slam in front of Maryland’s student section.

The dunk brought the Wolverines within four, their closest margin in the half. While Michigan forced turnovers on Maryland’s next two possessions, it couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity, and the Terrapins scored the next four points to pad their lead.

4) Trimble answers Michigan runs

Last week, Beilein compared Melo Trimble to Trey Burke, and the Maryland freshman’s penchant for hitting clutch shots seemed reminiscent of the former Michigan star.

Virtually every time the Wolverines threatened a second-half comeback, Trimble made plays to keep the Terrapins ahead.

With just under nine minutes left, Albrecht hit a deep three to make it a one-possession game. But on the other end, Trimble delivered a triple of his own. That sequence was particularly deflating for Michigan, which had forced an Evan Smotrycz miss only to see the senior tip the rebound to the corner for Trimble’s open look.

A minute later, Irvin connected on a jumper, taking a handoff from Kam Chatman and using a Max Bielfeldt screen to create the shot. But the Terrapins moved the ball well against the Wolverines’ 1-3-1 zone, as Smotrycz’s dribble to the elbow drew a triple team and left Trimble open again.

5) Trimble slams the door

On Senior Day, a freshman secured a big win for Maryland.

With five minutes left, Abdur-Rahkman fouled Trimble on a three-pointer, and the guard made his free throws to stretch the Terrapins lead into double-digits. Then, Trimble began feeding his teammates.

His ability to drive around Abdur-Rahkman and Bielfeldt into the paint collapsed the 1-3-1 zone, allowing for a no-look kickout to Jake Layman in the corner for three. Less than a minute later, he did it again, using a Smotrycz ball screen to cut toward the basket, allowing for the easy outlet for a Dez Wells trey.

Maryland went 11-for-22 from deep, and Trimble made or created big plays late to seal the Terrapins’ victory.

This site is supported by donations

Like what you see? Click the button below to donate and access exclusive content.

  • Wayman Britt

    Boy I love watching that Rahkman drive and flush. I sure hope he gets more consistent, because he sure can dribble drive.

    • DingoBlue

      I hope that play is illuminating to him in some ways. In this system he could be extremely effective. That dunk is impressive and props to doyle on reacting.

  • David

    Given the attrition to the NBA and injuries, I am loving the upward trajectory of this team given what we’ve seen the last few weeks. We lose hardly any minutes (only Max if you don’t count Caris since he’s been out anyway) and there’s tons of growth being shown by the young guys, particularly Dawkins (who seems to be a damn good shooter) and MAAR. Doyle looks like a solid big man and Donnel can do it if he toughens up.

    Not a particularly bold statement, but I only see things going up from here.