Michigan overcomes slow start as Bench, Smith leads team over Maryland in Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals

Mike Smith scored a career-high 18 points for Michigan

Site: Indianapolis, Ind. (Lucas Oil Stadium)
Event: Big Ten Tournament (Quarterfinal)
Score: #4 Michigan 79, Maryland 66
Records: U-M (20-3), Maryland (16-13)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, March 13 — vs. Ohio State – Big Ten Tournament Semifinal (Indianapolis, Ind.), 1 p.m. (TV: CBS)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Graduate transfer Mike Smith had a U-M career-high 18 points and set a Big Ten Tournament record with 15 assists as the No. 4-ranked University of Michigan men’s basketball team topped Maryland, 79-66, in the first quarterfinal Friday (March 12) at Lucas Oil Stadium.

It was a wild affair that saw the Terps shoot 62.5 percent in the first half and race to a 12-point lead before the Wolverines stormed back to take a two-point edge into the halftime break. Michigan stretched its advantage to nine early in the second half and withstood several Terrapins comebacks to advance to the semifinal round.

GAME NOTES

 Mike Smith set a Big Ten Tournament record with 15 assists and added a U-M career-high 18 points.
» Michigan shot 51.7 percent (31-of-60) and made 10 three-pointers.
» Michigan has won 14 straight tournament openers, the most of any major conference team.

Site: Indianapolis, Ind. (Lucas Oil Stadium)
Event: Big Ten Tournament (Quarterfinal)
Score: #4 Michigan 79, Maryland 66
Records: U-M (20-3), Maryland (16-13)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, March 13 — vs. Ohio State – Big Ten Tournament Semifinal (Indianapolis, Ind.), 1 p.m. (TV: CBS)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Graduate transfer Mike Smith had a U-M career-high 18 points and set a Big Ten Tournament record with 15 assists as the No. 4-ranked University of Michigan men’s basketball team topped Maryland, 79-66, in the first quarterfinal Friday (March 12) at Lucas Oil Stadium.

It was a wild affair that saw the Terps shoot 62.5 percent in the first half and race to a 12-point lead before the Wolverines stormed back to take a two-point edge into the halftime break. Michigan stretched its advantage to nine early in the second half and withstood several Terrapins comebacks to advance to the semifinal round.

Michigan shot 51.7 percent (31-of-60) from the field and hit 10 three-point baskets while going a perfect 7-for-7 from the free-throw line.

Sophomore Franz Wagner and senior Eli Brooks each had 16 points and four rebounds. Brooks shot 4-for-8 from behind the arc, while Smith was a perfect 4-for-4. Senior Chaundee Brown Jr. was the fourth Wolverine in double figures with 10 points. Graduate student Austin Davis led the team with eight rebounds and added six points, while freshman Hunter Dickinson had five boards and six points.

Maryland jumped out to a 15-6 run as Michigan struggled to settle in, shooting 2-for-10. The Wolverines cut it back to a one-possession game on a 6-0 run, but the Terps answered with six straight to lead, 23-15. Over the next three and a half minutes, Maryland was able to gain its largest lead, 36-24, with 4:45 to play in the first.

Down 12, Michigan went on a tear to close out the first half in its favor, 40-38. Junior Brandon Johns Jr. was clutch, sparking the 16-2 run with the first five points. Brooks hits a three, Wagner had two jumpers, and Smith hit back-to-back free throws as the Wolverines went 8-0 in the last 2:17 to take a 40-38 lead into the locker room. Brown (eight points), Johns (seven) and Davis (six) combined for 21 points off the bench in the opening half.

The Wolverines stayed hot starting the second half, using an 11-4 run as the Terrapins shot 2-for-10 to take 51-42 edge. Maryland did not going away easily as it hit three straight baskets to make it a two-possession game, 51-47, but Brooks and Wagner nailed back-to-back threes for a 57-47 lead at 10:44.

During the ensuing media timeout, some jawing between the sides led to Maryland coach Mark Turgeon getting a technical foul and Michigan coach Juwan Howard two technicals along with an ejection, leaving associate head coach Phil Martelli in charge of the Wolverine bench.

After Maryland cut the deficit to five, it continued to rain threes for Brooks and Wagner as Michigan went on an 8-0 run and took its largest lead, 65-52, at 7:23. Maryland could only get within six before Michigan closed on a 12-4 run.

The Wolverines have now won 14 straight conference tournament openers, the most of any major conference team, and are 5-0 in their last five quarterfinal games.

Michigan will face No. 9-ranked Ohio State in the semifinal round at 1 p.m. Saturday (March 13) with CBS televising the game. The fifth-seeded Buckeyes were an 87-78 overtime winner over No. 4 seed Purdue in the second quarterfinal.

COURTESY MICHIGAN ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

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