Abdur-Rahkman drive, free throws lift UM over Maryland
Ann Arbor — There wasn’t much time for Michigan to savor its biggest win of the season.
Two days after topping rival Michigan State, the No. 23 Wolverines quickly went back to work for the first time after cracking the Associated Press Top 25 rankings this season and the tired legs showed.
Michigan slogged through a lethargic first half and rallied from a 14-point deficit before using a pair of free throws from senior guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman with 1.2 seconds left to edge a short-handed Maryland team, 68-67, Monday at Crisler Center.
Moritz Wagner had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Jordan Poole scored 11 off the bench for Michigan (16-4, 5-2 Big Ten). The Wolverines shot 31 percent (9-for-29) in the first half and 50 percent (16-for-32) in the second half.
BOX SCORE: Michigan 68, Maryland 67
Anthony Cowan scored 24, Kevin Huerter 12 and Darryl Morsell 10 for Maryland (14-6, 3-4), which was without forwards Justin Jackson (shoulder) and Ivan Bender (knee) because of season-ending injuries, and guard Dion Wiley because of a concussion. Forward Bruno Fernando also didn’t start because of illness and played limited minutes.
After scoring a season-low 20 points and trailing by 14 in the first half, Michigan opened the second half with a 10-0 run to tie it at 30 with 16:58 left in the second half.
Matthews started the flurry with a jumper before Isaiah Livers added a basket in the paint, Wagner knocked down a 3-pointer and Zavier Simpson capped it with a three-point play following a Maryland turnover.
After a few frantic possessions and a messy start to the half, Maryland responded with a 7-0 run to pull ahead, 37-30, with 14:46 left. Cowan ended Michigan’s run with a driving layup, Morsell scored on a transition layup and Fernando ended it with a hook shot and free throw.
Michigan roared back with five straight 3-pointers within a two-minute span to take a 45-41 lead at the 12:40 mark. Poole started the 3-point party with a deep ball before Wagner and Livers connected from beyond the arc. Poole capped the stretch with back-to-back 3-pointers to send the Crisler Center crowd into a frenzy.
After Cowan and Joshua Tomaic each nailed a 3-pointer to give Maryland a brief one-point lead, Wagner and Duncan Robinson got in on the action with back-to-back 3-pointers to spark a 13-2 run to put the Michigan on top, 59-49, with 5:50 to go. Poole added a runner off the glass, Jon Teske scored on a three-point play and Matthews topped it with an offensive putback.
But Michigan’s hot stretch cooled off significantly and Cowan scored on a difficult reverse layup to spark a 10-2 run that pulled Maryland within 61-59 with 1:26 remaining.
Abdur-Rahkman stopped a 1-for-11 stretch for Michigan with a 3-pointer and Simpson followed with a driving layup to make it 66-61 with 25 seconds left.
But Cowan knocked down a 3-pointer to make it 66-64 with 20 seconds left and following two missed free throws from Simpson, Huerter buried another 3-pointer to give Maryland a 67-66 lead with 3.2 seconds left.
That left Michigan with just enough time as Livers rifled the inbounds pass up to Abdur-Rahkman, who was fouled on a drive with 1.2 seconds left and sent to the free-throw line, where he made both.
Maryland’s three-quarters-court heave at the buzzer fell well short of the basket.
Maryland came out sharp and took it right at a lethargic Michigan team early, making eight of its first 12 shots to jump to an 18-7 lead with 11:47 left in the first half. The Terrapins did the majority of the damage in the paint before Cowan capped the early blitz with a banked-in 3-pointer to beat the shot clock.
The Wolverines were equally as flat and lackluster on offense. They struggled to generate anything and finish around the rim before Teske made a layup and Robinson drained a 3-pointer to cut it to 18-12 at the 10:08 mark.
Maryland quickly re-established a double-digit lead with another 8-0 spurt with Cowan and Jared Nickens each burying a 3-pointer and Michal Cekovsky scoring on an offensive putback to make it 26-12 at the 6:09 mark.
Meanwhile, the parade of misses continued for Michigan, particularly on layups. Matthews stopped the run with a driving layup but that only provided a temporary respite during a 1-for-9 shooting stretch for the Wolverines.
Maryland extended its lead to 14 twice in the final four minutes of the half before Michigan closed on a 6-2 run with layups from Wagner, Abdur-Rahkman and Jaaron Simmons to cut the deficit to 30-20 at the break and cap one of Michigan’s worst halves of the season.