INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Michigan's little man, graduate transfer point guard Mike Smith, made all the biggest plays for the Wolverines Friday in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals, as they cruised past Maryland 79-66,
Smith, a 5-foot-11 guard who had a brilliant college career at Columbia in the Ivy League, had 18 points and a tournament-record 15 assists in the win for the top-seeded Wolverines. With the win, Michigan (20-3) advances to Saturday's semifinal against the Purdue-Ohio State winner later on Friday.
The game itself was entertaining, but the moment of the day came midway through the second half when Michigan coach Juwan Howard was ejected and Maryland coach Mark Turgeon was assessed a technical foul after they got into a shouting match at half-court.
Players and assistant coaches quickly separated Turgeon and Howard, but Howard was ejected and Turgeon received a technical foul.
Howard appeared to be yelling at an official when Turgeon fired back and walked toward him by the scorer's table. Howard started his postgame press by apologizing for the incident. But he also said he was arguing with an official when Turgeon jumped in, think Howard was yelling at him. Turgeon said, “Juwan I’m not going to let you talk to me! You don’t talk to me ever again!”
Howard, an inner-city Chicago native, immediately turned his attention from the official to Turgeon. “And he charged at me. I was raised by Chicago and when you’re charged, you defend yourself. Especially when a grown man charges at you.”
Michigan took some body shots early from Maryland and fell behind by 12, but Smith took over and the Wolverines went on a 16-2 run to take a 40-38 lead into intermission.
Michigan shot 52 percent from the field, and was 10-for-22 from three-point range. They made all seven free throw attempts. Franz Wagner added 16 points, as did Eli Brooks, who played well despite playing on a bad ankle that he sprained last Sunday in the loss to Michigan State
It was the third straight win in the series for Michigan, and all three wins this season have been by double digits. With the loss, the Terrapins fell to 16-13, but their NCAA Tournament hopes should be secure. Guard Eric Ayala was their leading scorer with 19.
This is the first of four games on Friday in the Big Ten Tournament. The complete pairing and schedule are below.
Big Ten Tournament
Here is the complete Big Ten Tournament schedule, with game times and television information:
Wednesday, March 10 (First Round)
- Game 1 – Minnesota 51, Northwestern 46
- Game 2 – Penn State 72, Nebraska 66
Thursday, March 11 (Second Round)
- Game 3 – Maryland 68, Michigan State 57
- Game 4 – Ohio State 79, Minnesota 75
- Game 5 – Rutgers 61, Indiana 50
- Game 6 – Wisconsin 75, Penn State 74
Friday, March 12 (Quarterfinals)
- Game 7 – Michigan 79, Maryland 66
- Game 8 – No. 4 seed Purdue vs. No. 5 seed Ohio State – 25 minutes later (TV: Big Ten Network)
- Game 9 –No. 2 seed Illinois vs. No. 7 seed Rutgers – 6:30 p.m. ET (TV: Big Ten Network)
- Game 10 – No. 3 seed Iowa vs. No. 6 seed Wisconsin – 25 minutes later (TV: Big Ten Network)
Saturday, March 13 (Semifinals)
- Game 11 – No. 1 seed Michigan vs. Game 8 winner – 1 p.m. ET (TV: CBS)
- Game 12 – Game 9 vs. Game 10 winner – 25 minutes later (TV: CBS)
Sunday, March 14 (Championship)
Game 13 – (Game 11 vs. Game 12 winner) – 3:30 p.m. ET (TV: CBS)