Maryland falters late at Michigan, suffers third loss in four games

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Anthony Cowan scored a game-high 24 points and Kevin Huerter drilled the go-ahead 3-pointer with 3.2 seconds to go, but a late mistake that allowed Michigan’s Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman to shoot the game-deciding free throws with 0.9 seconds left sank Maryland, 68-67, on Monday night at the Crisler Center.

On the ensuing inbounds, an unguarded Isaiah Livers rifled a pass up the right sideline that found the hands of Abdur-Rahkman, who then frantically rushed to the rim, drawing the ill-timed foul on Maryland’s (14-6, 3-4 Big Ten) freshman forward Bruno Fernando (five points, five rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench).

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It’s Maryland’s third loss in four games, as it falls into a three-way tie for seventh in the league standings with Minnesota and Penn State. Purdue and Ohio State, which both beat the Terrapins this season, sit atop at 6-0.

“This one hurts,” Turgeon said to open his post-game presser. “Just didn’t handle the last [3.2] seconds the right way. Obviously, I didn’t get my point across to my players on where [Michigan] needed to catch the ball. Can’t let them throw over your press and go downhill.”

Huerter pitched in 12 points and six assists. Freshman Darryl Morsell added 10 points and six rebounds. Senior guard Jared Nickens, making his first start on a Maryland team with just eight healthy scholarship players, posted seven points and four rebounds. Cowan, who played a full 40 minutes, added five rebounds and four assists, but had six turnovers.

Maryland led 30-20 at halftime, in which they shot 48 percent in the first 20 minutes (12-for-25), while Michigan shot just 31 percent (9-for-29).

In the opening three minutes of the second half, the Terrapins turned the ball over three times, which sparked a 9-0 Michigan run that made it 30-29.

Then, after going 2-for-9 from deep in the first half, the Wolverines canned seven straight triples from the 14:46 mark to the 9:42 mark in the second, turning a 37-30 deficit into a 52-47 lead. Michigan pushed its lead to 59-49 minutes after, but a 10-2 run capped by a pair of free throws a key 3-pointer by Huerter made it 61-59 with 1:26 left in regulation.

Zavier Simpson’s layup extended Michigan’s lead to 66-61 with 25 seconds to go, but that’s when Cowan and Huerter responded with back-to-back 3s to propel Maryland ahead, 67-66. Unfortunately for the reeling Terps, it all came undone with one mismanaged blunder, as Livers, a former high school quarterback, launched the deciding pass up-court without anyone defending him off the inbounds. Once Abdur-Rahkman had possession and turned downhill to the rim, Fernando was a sitting duck and fell into the lap of the Wolverines, who became another conference foe to snatch a needed win out of the Terrapins’ grasp.

“This was good timing for us to come and get one on the road, because they had a big game on Saturday,” Turgeon said. “So, this one obviously stings.”