Final Horn: Michigan 70, No. 3 Maryland 67

Zach Shaw
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Playing without senior guard and leading scorer Caris LeVert for the third straight game, the Michigan basketball team faced a tough task against No. 3 Maryland. With on-paper mismatches across the board, the Wolverines needed a special performance if they wanted to secure a win.

And with every impossible-looking 3-pointer, press-breaking pass and forced turnover on defense, Michigan got it. Leading by as many as 13 at times, the Wolverines (3-1 Big Ten, 13-4 overall) survived a late push by the Terrapins (4-1, 15-2) to win, 70-67.

After being outscored by an average of 19 points in three games against top-25 teams this season, Michigan got the marquee win it desperately needed. Here’s out instant reaction at the buzzer.

MVP: Zak IrvinDuncan Robinson stole the show early on, ending the game with 17 points on 5-of-8 3-point shooting, but Irvin quietly filled in much of LeVert’s void, pacing the Wolverines with 22 points while chipping in two rebounds with three assists. The performance was a vast improvement over Irvin’s troublesome games in Michigan’s three other games against ranked opponents.

It was over when… After junior forward Mark Donnal drained a free throw with 14 seconds left, Maryland needed a 3-pointer to tie the game. Terrapin guard Rasheed Sulaimon was on fire late, making his last two three-pointers and had Donnal switched onto him, but Michigan’s junior big man defended well and Sulaimon missed the attempt as Duncan Robinson secured the rebound.

Key Stat: Michigan’s 12 3-pointers were the most Maryland has allowed all season, and each of them kept the Crisler crowd in the game and stopped late Maryland drives. Michigan hit 8-of-15 threes in the first half and cooled off in the second, making just 4-of-14 attempts, before Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin hit decisive threes late in the half to put the Terps away.

Unsung Hero: Derrick Walton Jr. . He wasn’t the leading scorer, and continued to have some uncharacteristic turnovers, but the junior guard led the Wolverines with ten rebounds, and helped hold Maryland guard Melo Trimble (14.8 points per game before Tuesday) to an uncharacteristic two points.

Four Factors

four factors maryland
  • MGoTweeter

    Just a big time win. Lots of things went well early for Michigan and Maryland surged back. Michigan took the shot and answered. Great job late by the vets except for Irvin on the free throw line. Overall this team just continues to improve and the potential for something special is there if levert comes back healthy.

  • bobohle

    Great composure by Walton down the stretch. By the way I called the B1G game for Irvin in the first post on the open thread tonight. GO BlUE!

  • Champswest

    Solid game by Donnal. 8 points, 9 boards, 2 blocks and 2 steals and a big free throw at the end.
    I like the way the team played hard the final 6 minutes when the game was on the line.

    • itsjustaherb

      I have lashed out against Donnal last season and the beginning portion of this season for not deserving minutes, but ever since that huge performance in the Illinois game he has been stepping up his game and playing harder. It’s amazing what confidence can do for you and he deserves the recognition for showing that deserves to be on the floor. Keep playing well Mark, the team needs you.

  • Slim33

    Great seeing Walton stepping up in crunch time. I hope this gets him going for the year. I thought Beilein could have run a couple different plays to get Robinson the ball other than the same old action. The offense still gets too stagnant at times but we are moving in the right direction. Big win!

  • Kenny

    we cannot stop stone but luckily Maryland had a poor shooting night and Walton and Irvin made two critical threes to get this win.

  • Stephen Chang

    This is a huge win by Michigan without Levert and other guys like Robinson, Walton, Irvin and Donnal step up their game as well. Stone for Maryland is a very tough guy to defend and they were dominating inside, but their outside shooting was terrible. Iowa is a big test on the road and hopefully Levert returns for that game. This win is a resume builder plus Michigan will build on that and maybe they could be dancing in March.

  • A2MIKE

    Not that you guys need reminding, but I called Trimble getting in foul trouble early. Thought that was huge and really disrupted their rhythm.

    Great win! Sky is not falling, we will be fine, now lets get caris back and see if we can string some wins together.