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Jan 10, 2024 5:14 pm

Maryland, Michigan seek stronger 2nd-half effort

Maryland and Michigan can start fast, but finishing strongly is less certain.

Both Big Ten squads enter Thursday’s game in College Park, Md., looking to shake off losses after blowing double-digit first-half leads.

The Wolverines (6-9, 1-3 Big Ten) led Penn State by 14 late in the opening half before crumbling to lose 79-73 Sunday in Philadelphia.

Later that day, the Terrapins (9-6, 1-3) lost their early 11-point advantage and fell to host Minnesota, 65-62.

Sloppy offense and flimsy defense fueled Michigan’s meltdown after the Wolverines led 37-27 at the break.

Michigan committed nine turnovers after halftime, resulting in 13 points for the Nittany Lions, who shot 16 of 29 (55.2 percent) from the field in the second stanza to send the Wolverines to their fourth straight loss.

“We came out in the second half — a problem that we’ve had all year — maybe entitled or comfortable or relaxed … ” said forward Olivier Nkamhoua, per the Detroit News.

“We got that lead and thought if we just kept doing what we were doing, we would be OK. But in situations like that, you have to take it up another level. … We didn’t handle it the right way.”

Nkamhoua leads Michigan with 7.7 rebounds per game. His 16.8 scoring average is second behind guard Dug McDaniel’s 17.8.

Early turnovers and a disappearing offense doomed Maryland against the Golden Gophers.

The Terrapins’ 29-22 halftime edge could have been wider if not for their 15 giveaways in the first half, which contributed to the team’s season-high 17 total turnovers.

“This team’s got me a little perplexed because we don’t practice that way,” said coach Kevin Willard of Maryland’s first-half giveaways, per The Diamondback.

After making nine shots in the game’s first 11 minutes to jump ahead 23-12, the Terrapins stalled out for good. Maryland made one field goal over the first half’s final 9:13 and went 9 of 28 (32.1 percent) from the field after halftime.

Guard Jahmir Young finished the loss with 20 points, on par with his team-leading 19.9 points per game. Forward Julian Reese played to his team-high 9.5 rebounding average with nine boards against Minnesota.

–Field Level Media

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