When talking about which player Michigan needed to show up to take down, there was talk about Hunter Dickinson, Franz Wagner, and of course, Isaiah Livers. However, no one mentioned Mike Smith.
And that’s just who showed up for the Wolverines.
Michigan defeated Maryland 79-66, advancing to the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament.
There was much speculation over which Michigan team would show up against Maryland, and the early minutes of the first half justified those concerns. The Terrapins were lights out in the first half, shooting 62% from the field. They had the Wolverines on the ropes early with an impressive barrage from beyond the arc, shooting 50%. Despite that, Michigan gained its composure, taking a two-point lead into the second half.
And they never looked back.
Mike Smith led the Wolverines with 18 points, 15 assists, five rebounds, and two steals. Nine of those assists came in the first half alone. Along with that, he was perfect from beyond the arc and from the charity stripe.
Smith wasn’t alone, however.
Franz Wagner, as expected, chipped in 16 points and four rebounds. Then there’s Eli Brooks. There was concern if Brooks would even take the court after suffering a scary injury in Michigan’s previous loss. Reports were that Brooks was in a walking boot, but his teammates were optimistic about him playing.
And rightfully so.
Brooks finished with 16 points, four assists, and two steals. He also was 50% from beyond the arc, drilling four three-pointers while playing some stingy defense. He was shaky to start the first half, but as the game went on, he improved.
Things got a little testy in the second half between Michigan head coach Juwan Howard and Maryland coach Mark Turgeon. It got so testy that Howard earned himself an ejection from the game. Nevertheless, it had no impact on the final result.
One of the game’s big shockers was the production (or lack thereof ) from Hunter Dickinson and Isaiah Livers. Both combined for six points and nine rebounds. And those six points all belonged to Dickinson, as Livers shot 0-5.
Michigan’s Chaundee Brown and Brandon Johns Jr. also contributed to the blowout win for the Wolverines. Brown chipped in ten points, drilling two threes, while Johns Jr. added seven points on 100% from the field.
Friday’s win marks Michigan’s third consecutive victory on Maryland since the Terrapins clinched a share of the Big Ten title against them last season.
Michigan will now advance to the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament.
Get in touch with Kory Woods at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay connected with him on Twitter @koryewoods.
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