No. 6 men's basketball avoids upsets, survives Maryland on the road
Maryland needed a full team effort to avoid its second loss to MSU this season.
And then some.
Red-hot shooting saved the sixth-ranked Spartans (20-3, 8-2 Big Ten) and a key 18-4 run in the second half helped overcome a 13-point halftime deficit on Sunday at the Xfinity Center to win their fourth straight game and defeat Maryland, 74-68.
MSU first defeated the Terrapins 91-61 at the Breslin Center on Jan. 4. The loss for Maryland (15-8, 4-6) is its second straight.
Sophomore guard Joshua Langford scored a game-high 19 points, leading four players to double figures. Sophomore point guard Cassius Winston scored 13 points, freshman forward Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 12. Sophomore guard Miles Bridges scored 11.
The Spartans, a team that averaged shooting 52.3 percent heading into the game, started off 1-of-10 from the field. Maryland used MSU’s shooting troubles to establish an 11-3 lead with 15:58 left in the first.
MSU was able to bring it within two three separate times in the first half, but could never take a lead. Bridges hit a 3-pointer with 10:10 left in the first half to bring MSU back within striking distance but still trailing, 18-16. Maryland, however, responded with a 14-4 run. After hitting a long 3-pointer with seven seconds left in the half, guard Jared Nickens gave the Terrapins its biggest lead of the game, 37-24.
The Spartans were held to 27.3 percent shooting in the first half, while Maryland was able to convert on 15-of-30 shots.
Key plays and improved shooting from the Spartans, however, erased Maryland’s lead. MSU opened the half on an 11-2 run, capped by back-to-back scores from guard Joshua Langford, bringing MSU within four, 39-35. That same run transformed into an 18-4 run, giving MSU a 44-41 lead, its first of the game, with 14:26 left to play.
MSU’s held its biggest lead at eight points, and Maryland cut the lead to two points with 1:44 to play on a layup from Nickens to make it 63-61.
The Spartans will rest until Wednesday, when they host Penn State (15-8, 5-5). The Nittany Lions have won its last three games, including an 82-79 upset win at No. 13 Ohio State. Tip off at the Breslin Center is set for 6:30 p.m.