No. 6 Maryland holds off late charge from bubble-hungry Michigan

Michigan doesn’t have Caris LeVert in the lineup and there’s no certain timetable on when or if he will return. The Wolverines are still “on the fence” for the NCAA tournament according to Jerry Palm, currently carrying a resume that has three good wins, including one against No. 6 Maryland back on Jan. 12.

Maryland had no interest in losing the season series to this desperate and resilient Michigan team, particularly coming off the embarrassing loss to Minnesota earlier in the week. The Wolverines were crisp with their passing and able to take advantage of some defensive breakdowns, but a late turnover prevented a good shot to win in Maryland’s 86-82 home victory.

Maryland led by as many as 16 in the first half thanks to efficient offense from Jake Layman and Robert Carter on one end and stifling defense, like this block from Damonte Dodd, on the other end.

But Maryland was not ready for Michigan’s Mark Donnal’s best afternoon of the season. Donnal had 22 of his team-high 25 points in the second half (he averages 7.4 points per game) and seemed to be getting everything he wanted against the Terps’ defense. Duncan Robinson hit a 3-pointer with seven seconds left to cut the lead to two points, but Melo Trimble responded with a couple of free throws and then Michigan never got a great opportunity to retake the lead they held just five minutes earlier.

Maryland finished with four players in double figures, led by Robert Carter with a team-high 17 points. Jake Layman had 16 points, Melo Trimble didn’t shoot well but had a productive day with 14 points and eight rebounds while freshman Diamond Stone, in his first game back from suspension, added 13 points and five boards.

Although the Wolverines led for those few minutes late in the second half, this felt like a game that Maryland controlled throughout. Michigan’s resiliency deserves credit in this space, but unfortunately it does not go far enough to get them credit in the RPI or with the selection committee. Caris LeVert or no Caris LeVert, this team needs quality wins if it wants to be in the field of 68 next month.

Diamond Stone was one of four players in double figures in the Terps’ 86-82 win. (USATSI)

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