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After taking the lead with 3.2 seconds left, Maryland loses to No. 23 Michigan, 68-67

ANN ARBOR, MICH. — The Maryland men’s basketball team seemingly came out of its Big Ten road funk against Michigan on Monday night. Not once, not twice, but three times the Terps lifted themselves from their recent slide and seemingly had the No. 23 Wolverines on the ropes here at the Crisler Center.

After leading by as many as 14 points late in the first half and by seven after Michigan made a 14-0 run — 11-0 to start the second half — to tie the game, the Terps roared back from 10-point deficit to take a one-point advantage on a 3-pointer by previously ice-cold Kevin Huerter with 3.2 seconds left.

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Coming out of timeout for Michigan, a long, unguarded inbounds pass by freshman forward Isaiah Livers eventually found its way to senior guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, who was tripped by freshman center Bruno Fernando with 1.2 seconds left.

Abdur-Rahkman hit a pair of free throws for a 68-67 victory.

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“This one hurts, because we battled tonight,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “I’m really proud of my group. We really guarded well, except the start of the second half. They made some shots and we turned the ball over during that stretch.

“We never stopped. We missed two front ends of one-and-ones during that stretch, we missed some layups, but we never stopped playing. We kind of snuck up on them at the end, Kevin made back-to-back 3s. We executed well with no timeouts. We didn’t handle the last 3.4 seconds the right way.”

Sophomore guard Anthony Cowan Jr. led Maryland with 24 points, but he also had half of his team’s 12 turnovers. Junior center Moe Wagner led Michigan (16-4, 5-2) with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

The defeat was the third in four games for Maryland (14-6, 3-4), all on the road and all against teams now in the Top 25. Given the way the Wolverines snatched what would have been an inspired victory away from the Terps, this might have been the most difficult to digest.

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“We battled a lot more than we had in the previous games, but this one stinks, this one hurts the most I think,” Huerter said.

Michigan’s last play

Turgeon blamed himself for not being clear enough in the huddle about how to guard Michigan’s last play.

“I obviously didn’t get my point across to my players about where [Michigan] needed to catch the ball,” Turgeon said. “You can’t let them throw over your press and let them [get] going downhill. This one obviously stings a little a little bit. We thought we had it.”

Cowan blamed himself for keeping his back to Livers and not turning around after the pass was thrown.

“The ball went over my head. I probably should have turned and faced the inbounder instead of turning the other way,” he said. “After that I tried to chase down the ball, but he was already gone and got to the foul line and hit two free throws.”

Said Huerter: “All of us are thinking of things we could’ve done different. We were trying to switch everything. He [Abdur-Rahkman] was my man. I don’t think I should have switched off. I was trying to talk, just let him get a head of steam. We had talked about letting him catch it in front of us and make him take a long shot and take our chances. We didn’t do that.”

Cowan thought the problem began in the huddle after Huerter hit the 3-pointer and Michigan called timeout.

“Our first mistake was celebrating too much,” Cowan said. “We should have just went to the bench and got our game plan on defense, but we didn’t, we celebrated too much. Coach from Michigan drew up a good play and we just couldn’t get to it.”

Tough night for Huerter

Until he hit a couple of late 3-pointers to nearly pull out the road upset for the Terps, Huerter was having a tough night.

He had missed his first five 3-point tries and seven of his first nine shots overall. He, along with Cowan, had missed the front end of one-and-ones late in the game as Maryland was trying to claw back from its’ double-digit deficit.

Hampered after getting kneed in the left calf early in the second half, Huerter was struggling until those two late 3-pointers, the first to pull the Terps to within 61-57 and the second to give Maryland a 67-66 lead.

“They always say you never lose by one play, even though the last play of the game was how we lost. I didn’t nearly have my best game going up until then, the last three minutes of the game,” said Huerter, who finished with 12 points and six rebounds. “A lot of thoughts of stuff we could have done different.”

Season-ending injuries to Justin Jackson and Ivan Bender have left the redshirt freshman as the Terps' only true power forward.

Huerter didn’t blame the injury that caused him to limp out of the arena after the game, instead crediting Michigan’s defense.

“I didn’t get the same looks I usually do. I think that was dictated by how they were playing defense, really trying to deny me the ball,” he said. “I got the ball, there were kind of five guys looking at me. I just didn’t have my best game.”

Said Turgeon: “He’s got two hands on him the entire game. Not one, he’s got two hands. It’s exhausting. We’ve got two guys that can score, and teams are just loading up on him. We’ve just to trust our teammates a little bit more. He showed you he has big, uh … he stepped up when he had to and made two big-time shots for us.”

Terps still down bodies

Redshirt junior guard Dion Wiley, who has not played since suffering a concussion early in the second half of Maryland’s 91-73 win over Iowa on Jan. 7, made the trip but didn’t play for the second straight game. Wiley did not practice over the weekend. He ran through pregame warmups with the team, but a team spokesman said it was unlikely that he would play.

Turgeon used only eight players — seven who are now part of the rotation and freshman walk-on Reese Mona for one minute. Graduate senior center Sean Obi didn’t play. Turgeon started senior wing Jared Nickens against the perimeter-oriented Wolverines.

“We only had 10 guys for practice this week, three of them are walk-ons,” Turgeon said.

MARYLAND (14-6): Cekovsky 3-4 0-0 6, Cowan 8-15 4-6 24, Morsell 4-9 2-3 10, Huerter 4-11 2-3 12, Nickens 3-8 0-0 7, Fernando 2-3 1-2 5, Tomaic 1-2 0-0 3, Mona 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-52 9-14 67.

MICHIGAN (16-4): Livers 3-5 0-0 7, Wagner 6-9 2-4 18, Abdur-Rahkman 2-9 2-2 7, Simpson 2-12 1-3 5, Matthews 3-10 1-2 7, Teske 2-3 1-1 5, Brooks 0-1 0-0 0, Poole 4-5 0-0 11, Simmons 1-2 0-0 2, Robinson 2-5 0-0 6. Totals 25-61 7-12 68.

Halftime—Maryland 30-20. 3-Point Goals—Maryland 8-20 (Cowan 4-6, Huerter 2-7, Tomaic 1-2, Nickens 1-5), Michigan 11-26 (Wagner 4-6, Poole 3-4, Robinson 2-4, Abdur-Rahkman 1-2, Livers 1-3, Brooks 0-1, Simmons 0-1, Matthews 0-2, Simpson 0-3). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Maryland 31 (Morsell, Huerter 6), Michigan 29 (Wagner 11). Assists—Maryland 8 (Cowan 4), Michigan 14 (Matthews 6). Total Fouls—Maryland 17, Michigan 15.

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