Maryland hoping third matchup vs. No. 4 Michigan is charm

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Maryland lost decisively to Michigan twice during the regular season.

The Terrapins will get another shot at the Wolverines in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis on Friday.

The eighth-seeded Terrapins (16-12) advanced with a 68-57 victory over ninth seed Michigan State on Thursday.

Michigan, the Big Ten's regular-season champion, recorded an 84-73 win at Maryland's home court on New Year's Eve, then blew out the Terrapins 87-63 at Ann Arbor, Mich., on Jan. 19.

In the first meeting, Wolverines center Hunter Dickinson dominated in the lane with 26 points and 11 rebounds. In the rematch, Michigan knocked down half of its 24 3-point attempts.

"They've just whipped us both times," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said during a Big Ten Network interview. "We've got to just try to play better against them. Their size is just amazing across the board. You double the post, they can make threes. You don't double the post, those guys can score on you. It's a tough one for us."

The Terrapins put themselves in a tough spot entering the conference tournament, losing their final two regular-season contests. The win over the Spartans helped their NCAA Tournament prospects.

Maryland got off to a slow start, trailing by 12 midway through the first half. From that point, the Terrapins shut down the Spartans' attack. They forced 18 turnovers, leading to 27 points.

"We played for 40 minutes," Turgeon said. "They came out hot. They had 19 (points) at the second media timeout, which wasn't us. After that, we were really good defensively."

The duo of Eric Ayala and Aaron Wiggins combined for 40 points, 15 rebounds, six assists and five steals.

"We wanted to come into the game with positive energy," Ayala said. "Coach has been talking about it all year, just playing with positive attitudes."

The Terrapins led by as much as 19 against Michigan State, which defeated Michigan on Sunday.

"We shared the ball better," Turgeon said. "We moved our bodies better. We just played with great toughness and we weren't going to be denied today."

The fourth-ranked Wolverines (19-3) lost two of their final three regular-season games after ranking as high as No. 2. Their bigger concern is the health of starting guard Eli Brooks, who suffered a left ankle sprain in the early going on Sunday.

His status for this week's tournament is uncertain, although the Wolverines seem resigned to playing without him for at least Friday's game. He was still wearing a walking boot as of Wednesday.

"Eli is such an important player for us, offensively and defensively. (He and Franz Wagner) are probably our best defenders on the team," Dickinson said. "When we don't have him, it's obviously a lot tougher to win. Like Coach (Juwan Howard) always says, it's a next-man-up approach and we're going to miss him a lot."

Brooks averages 8.7 points per game -- tied with Mike Smith for fourth on the team -- but his contributions go far beyond that, assistant coach Phil Martelli said in a radio interview.

"He's the most valuable player on this team, plain and simple," he said. "The most invaluable piece, both to his teammates and to the coaching staff, is Eli Brooks. We talked about what this team is about. It's about balance and that's what Eli brings."

--Field Level Media