No. 14 Maryland downs MSU for second time
College Park, Md. — Michigan State had an entire week to prepare for its rematch with Maryland on Saturday.
It turns out, even a month might not have made a difference.
On a day Michigan State's best players struggled, Maryland's were outstanding. Freshman Melo Trimble scored 24 points, including 21 in the first half, and junior Jake Layman added 23 as No. 14 Maryland rolled to a 75-69 victory in front of 17,950 at the XFINITY Center.
"I think you saw a combination of two things," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "One of the poorer performances by a Michigan State team. We were awful. We didn't make layups. We didn't guard. And I thought one of the better performances by the Maryland team. … Very disappointing and every time I think we're taking two steps forward, we take one step back."
The Spartans (12-6, 3-2 Big Ten) were coming off three straight victories last week and were looking to avenge their only conference loss, which came in overtime in the Big Ten opener at home against the Terrapins.
But the Michigan State guards — the players who have been outstanding in recent games — were shut down. Travis Trice didn't take a shot until more than 10 minutes had gone by and finished with five points on 2-for-8 shooting. He also turned the ball over four times and had one assist.
Denzel Valentine was just 1-for-6 from 3-point range and scored nine points while Bryn Forbes was 2-for-6 from the field and scored five.
It wasn't nearly enough to aid the 14 points and 10 rebounds from Branden Dawson and a solid 12 points and seven rebounds from Matt Costello.
"Those are two of our best players," Costello said of Trice and Valentine. "When those two have bad games that hurts and we do normally get a lot of scoring there. But we can't just say Trav and Zel have to go win us a game. Everybody has to pick up their part."
And add in a handful of missed layups from Dawson and Michigan State's offense never really got going.
"I think they did a good job, I think we self-checked ourselves a little bit, too," Izzo said. "It was a combination of both. I think they did a good job, take nothing away from them. But that was an inept performance by us on a big stage. That doesn't happen very often, and that falls on me."
There wasn't much — on either end of the floor — that went well for Michigan State. The Spartans, who entered the game shooting 41.3 from 3-point range, finished 3-for-17 while Maryland was 11-for-21. Michigan State was also awful from the free-throw line, making just 4 of 13 while Maryland was 20-for-22.
"My leaders have got to play better," Izzo said. "We really struggled, I mean you go 3-for-14 or whatever we went from the line. You miss, like I said, I don't know how many layups. At one time it was six. Layups. I'm not talking short jump shots. I mean, you're not gonna beat a good team when you do stuff like that.
"Give them credit, they played harder, they played better and they had a couple guys that I thought had career nights the way they shot the ball. Not a lot of teams will beat them here. … But this all goes back to they shot well and we missed layups, and that's a bad combination."
Not when they start out the way Trimble and Layman did.
After Michigan State scored eight straight points to go up 10-5, Layman scored seven straight to help Maryland to a 9-0 run and a 14-0 lead. That's when Trimble took over, scoring 13 straight, including three consecutive 3-pointers.
It was all part of a 19-4 run for the Terrapins, who took a 24-14 lead with 7:20 left in the first half.
"He did a good job," Trice said of Trimble. "He does a good job of attacking and he was feeling it tonight, especially on the catch and shoot. Give the bigs a lot of credit, too, because he is running off pin-down (screens) and it's hard to trail out on him."
Michigan State got a small lift from freshman Javon Bess and four straight points from Costello, but Layman hit four consecutive free throws and Trimble closed the half with his fifth 3-pointer to give Maryland a 40-26 lead at halftime.
Trimble got a lot more help in the second half as Maryland (17-2, 5-1) pulled away, going ahead 57-40 after two consecutive baskets by Evan Smotrycz and a pair of 3-pointers from Jared Nickens. The Terrapins pushed the lead to 60-40 on a 3-pointer from Trimble and the rout was on.
"It's a great win," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "Obviously, I'm really proud of my team. That's what I've been waiting for. I don't think we've played our best basketball lately and our guys stepped up today and really played well. Melo and Jake carried us offensively in the first half. It was great to see. I thought defensively we were as good as we've been in a half. I thought Dez Wells against Valentine was off the charts. It was one of Dez's best games. It was a great win. We were really good."