It was another nail-bitter for Maryland Sunday afternoon as they blew a 16 point first half lead, but managed to hold on for a 86-82 win over Michigan in the school’s sixth annual Gold Rush Game. The win was a must-have for the Terps after losing two straight against Wisconsin and Minnesota, the Gopher’s first win in conference play.
It seemed Maryland was going to mean business early on as they jumped out to a 29-13 lead just 12 minutes into the game. Their bigs Diamond Stone and Damonte Dodd were controlling the paint and Maryland seemed to be cruising.
But Michigan had other plans, closing the first half on a 23-12 run, knocking down five three balls in the half’s final five minutes.
The Terps seemed to control the closely contested second half, grabbing a nine point lead after a Rasheed Sulaimon jumper with 10:29 remaining. But the Wolverines answered with an 11-0 run, mostly dominated by forward Mark Donnal, who finished with a game-high 25 points on 10-13 shooting. He knocked down three triples and blocked five Terrapin shots in the second half.
The games final nine minutes never saw a lead larger than five in either direction. Michigan’s Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman stole an errant Jake Layman pass with a little more than six minutes left, scored and was fouled, converting for 3 the old fashioned way. This was one of the more costly of Maryland’s 18 turnovers
Robert Carter Jr. stepped up for the Terrapins, knocking down some tough floaters late in the game. He tore the roof off the building when he slammed home a putback dunk off a Jake Layman missed three pointer with 2:23 left, giving Maryland an 82-78 lead. The Terps led by five with nine seconds left when Duncan Robinson knocked down an incredibly tough three, cutting the lead to two. But Melo Trimble converted a pair of free throws to seal the deal. He finished with 14 points while shooting 7-8 from the line.
The Terps got a huge performance from their bench. Damonte Dodd scored 7 points while grabbing 6 boards and blocking a few shots. Jared Nickens was finally able to knock down a couple of three balls and Jaylen Brantley played his best basketball of the season, providing Maryland with five points and three steals including the game-sealing one with 5 seconds left after the Trimble free throws.
But Maryland’s starters also stepped up largely. Robert Carter led the way with 17 points on 8-13 shooting, while Layman finished with 16 points on 5-6 shooting.
All five Michigan starters finished in double-figures as the Wolverines only had 6 points from their bench. Abdur-Rahkman dominated Maryland on both sides of the ball finishing with 16 points, 9 assists and 3 steals. Derrick Walton Jr. scored 14 while knocking down three triples and dishing out 5 assists.
For Maryland, they have two tough road games left at Purdue and Indiana and a home matchup with Illinois. They currently sit one game behind Indiana for first place in the Big Ten.
Michigan has home games against Northwestern and Iowa, with a road game at Wisconsin mixed between.