February 27, 2015

Diamond Stone's absence was conspicuous in Maryland's stunning loss to one of the Big Ten's lowliest teams.

Stone is expected to return when the sixth-ranked Terrapins try to re-energize their conference title hopes Sunday against Michigan, which will likely play without star Caris LeVert once again.

Maryland failed to keep pace atop the Big Ten on Thursday despite visiting a Minnesota team that was 0-13 in the league. The Terps (22-5, 10-4) exited with a 68-63 defeat and their first set of back-to-back losses this season.

"I've got to figure out a way to get our team going again," coach Mark Turgeon said. "We're not ourselves. ... This is not a lot of fun. I just want us playing better. That's what I'm going to try to get going."

Turgeon had suspended Stone for Thursday's game because he pushed Wisconsin forward Vitto Brown's head to the court in a 70-57 defeat Feb. 13, which ended a school-record 27-game home win streak. The 6-foot-11 freshman is averaging 12.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks.

"Diamond can score down (in the paint), so we missed him," Turgeon said.

One of Stone's best performances came at Michigan on Jan. 12 with 22 points and 11 boards, but the Terrapins lost 70-67. That had been their only loss to an unranked team until the last two games.

The Wolverines (19-8, 9-5) earned one of their two wins in eight games against ranked teams this season with LeVert nursing his injured left leg. The preseason all-Big Ten pick, averaging a team-best 16.5 points in 15 games, played for the first time since Dec. 30 in a 61-56 victory over then-No. 18 Purdue last Saturday but re-aggravated the injury.

It appears LeVert will sit out this game, and coach John Beilein indicated that it's possible the senior guard gets shut down for the season if he doesn't get better soon. LeVert was limited to 18 games last season because of leg and foot ailments.

"He had, what we hope, is a temporary setback in that Purdue game. We're very optimistic that he will return," Beilein said. "I just feel bad for the kid."

Zak Irvin matched a season high with 22 points against Purdue but couldn't do enough to keep Michigan's momentum going Tuesday in a 76-66 loss at Ohio State.

Irvin also scored 22 in last month's upset of Maryland while Terps leading scorer Melo Trimble was held to a season-low two points and shot 1 of 7.

Trimble is shooting 16.2 percent (6 of 37) in his last three Big Ten contests. He went 3 for 11 on Thursday while scoring 10 points. The sophomore guard has totaled 11 turnovers in Maryland's back-to-back losses.

"It's my job. That's what I get paid to do. I've got to get Melo going again," Turgeon said. "Hopefully I can do it Sunday."

Michigan is hoping to get Duncan Robinson going. He scored 17 against the Terps and is averaging 11.5 points but has a combined seven over the past two games.

Maryland's Rasheed Sulaimon has averaged 20.3 points in the last four games, including a career-high 28 on Thursday, but had eight points on 3-of-10 shooting in the first matchup versus Michigan.

The Wolverines are 4-4 on the road and have lost all five visits to ranked teams since the beginning of last season, including a 66-56 defeat to a 14th-ranked Maryland squad last February.

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