There wasn't a ton of positives for Michigan State basketball in the first half against Maryland.
After convincingly beating Illinois and Ohio State, the Spartans tipped off inside Xfinity arena with a slow start.
MSU's offense regressed, shooting 36% from the field and 4-for-15 on 3-pointers. Maryland's defense was the main culprit. UMD made life uncomfortable for Michigan State and did a phenomenal job of clogging up lanes, which forced MSU to settle for outside shots.
Meanwhile, the Spartans didn't look the same defensively and failed to close out on the perimeter multiple times, leading to six-made threes for the Terps.
On the one hand, it shouldn't have come as a surprise; entering the matchup, Maryland led the conference in three-point rate, meaning 44.4% of their attempts come from deep. They also ranked first in percentage of points off 3-pointers (37.1% of Maryland's total points are outside the arc).
On the other hand, Michigan State doesn't usually give up a ton of three-point attempts, nor do opponents typically make them, but MSU still needs to tighten up defensively.
The road to March isn't over, and the Spartans most likely need 2-3 more wins to end up on the right side of the bubble, so a win over Maryland would be significant.
But it won't be easy.
Maryland isn't the kind of team that consistently drives into the paint for fouls, but Michigan State fouls at a high rate, and that's probably underselling it.
Yet, the Spartans opened up the second half with six miscues, putting the Terps in the bonus and at the line for the rest of the contest, a place they hadn't missed all game (13-for-13, 23-of-24 overall).
MSU fell behind 11-0 to start and hadn't made up the difference.
As the Spartans began a key run, Darryl Morsell blocked Aaron Henry's shot, and UMD scored on a runout, maintaining an 11-point advantage.
However, Michigan State kept chipping away; eventually trimming Maryland's lead to 53-46.
From there, the Spartans generated plenty of second chances; it just didn't amount to much.
At the 4:55 mark, MSU missed its last four field goals and only hit one of its last seven.
Michigan State never led, and anytime it got close, Maryland slammed the door shut with a resounding thud.
The Spartans may have willed themselves to victory vs. Ohio State, but UMD was red hot and never took their foot off the gas.
MSU's winning streak is over, and yes, the loss is a setback, but the season isn't a lost cause. Michigan State didn't have to win today; three regular-season games remain, plus the Big Ten tournament.
Though, I'd argue it's an opportunity MSU failed to take advantage of.
Now, a home game vs. Indiana on Tuesday becomes a must win for Michigan State.
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