The two regular-season matchups between Maryland men’s basketball and Michigan have been physical and emotional and the teams’ meeting in the Big Ten quarterfinals on Friday was no different.
Wolverines coach Juwan Howard received two technical fouls and was ejected during an under-12 media timeout after exchanging words with Mark Turgeon and the Maryland bench in the second half of the Terps’ 79-66 loss at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Howard, the 2021 Big Ten Coach of the Year and a member of Michigan’s famed “Fab Five,” had to be restrained by multiple assistants before eventually leaving the court.
While Howard’s dispute of an official’s call before the timeout seemed to spark the altercation, the head coaches on both sides had different perspectives on the matter.
“This has been going on for three games,” Turgeon said. “I’ve been doing this for 34 years and I’ve called the conference office, I’ve called the commissioner about what transpired in the first two games. And I said I wasn’t going to take it the third game. I stood up for my team, I stood up for me. … All I said was don’t talk to me … Never back down, I just stood there and said don’t talk to me.”
Said Howard: “[Turgeon] charged at me. And that right there — I don’t know how you guys were raised but how I was raised by my grandmother and also by Chicago, because I was raised by Chicago and I grew up in the South Side, when guys charge you, it’s time to defend yourself. And especially when a grown man charges you. And that right there, I went into defense mode and forgetting exactly where I’m at. That’s not the right way how to handle the situation when you come at and charge someone. I didn’t charge him. So, when he charged me, I reacted. And I reacted out of defense.”
In the first meeting between the two teams, an 84-73 Michigan win at Xfinity Center, four technicals were given out in the first half. Most notably, Wolverines center Hunter Dickinson received one for staring down Maryland’s bench on multiple occasions after made baskets. Dickinson, a four-star prospect at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, later said he took umbrage at what he felt was a lack of interest from Turgeon and his staff in recruiting the local star.
Senior guard Darryl Morsell (Mount Saint Joseph) also fractured a bone in his face in the first meeting after receiving an inadvertent elbow from Michigan guard Franz Wagner. Morsell missed the second half of the game and was forced out of Maryland’s next game after undergoing surgery.
Morsell, Turgeon and Michigan’s bench were also assessed technicals in the second meeting, an 87-63 Wolverines win in Ann Arbor. In total, 10 technical fouls have been doled out in the three games.
Kevin Warren, commissioner for the Big Ten Conference, told the Big Ten Network that the league office reviewed the altercation and that “there’ll be no further action.”
“You know how that is, teams talking,” Morsell said. “But we’re here to play basketball. We’re not going to back down from any team.”
Seeding rules for the NCAA tournament bar conference teams who have played each other three times from meeting earlier than the Elite Eight. So, barring an extended run in the NCAA tournament — the Terps are projected to land anywhere from a No. 9 seed to a No. 11 seed — the next time Maryland will play Michigan is in the 2021-22 regular season. The fourth-ranked Wolverines are a projected No. 1 seed.