Michigan State left its nonconference season without a win to define it.
It appeared primed to get that big win against visiting No. 12 Maryland in the teams’ Big Ten opener. Instead, Michigan State gave up multiple late leads and fell to the Terrapins 68-66 in double overtime Tuesday.
”There's no better win than to play bad and win – that's a signature win,” coach Tom Izzo said. “We had our chances in regulation and overtime, and we didn't get it done.”
Michigan State held a three-point lead late in regulation and a four-point edge in the first overtime, but squandered both to Maryland as Izzo lost his first Big Ten home opener.
In both instances, the Spartans could have extended the lead by one more, but with missed free throws failed to do so.
“We go up three at the end of regulation, had a chance to go up four,” senior Travis Trice said. “We hit that free throw, the game’s over, but then they come down to force over time.
”We just had multiple chances and we just didn’t put it away.”
The Spartans received a career-high 26 points from Trice, who came up big late in regulation to put the Spartans in position to win. With MSU trailing 44-43, Trice stole an inbound pass and layed it in for the lead.
The Spartans had an opportunity to potentially put the game away when Gavin Schilling came down with a rebound with MSU leading 47-45. Schilling turned and passed the ball to Bryn Forbes, who looked to have an easy run to a layup, but Trice had called a timeout.
”It was when Schilling had the ball,” Izzo said. “We had so many bad free throw shooters, that when Schilling had the ball, I said, `if Schilling gets the ball call timeout.' So that was my choice.”
Instead, junior Matt Costello hit one of two free throws and Maryland’s Dez Wells hit a 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds left to tie the game 48-48.
Michigan State then took a four-point lead in overtime keyed by Costello. He hit a pair of free throws then Maryland coach Mark Turgeon was called for a technical foul. Forbes hit the second of two free throws to stretch the lead to four.
But Maryland came back again as forward Jon Graham made a layup and Wells again proved to be a thorn in the Spartans’ side as he hit a pair of free throws after to tie the game 55-55 late in overtime. The Spartans had a chance to win on their final possession, but Forbes’ 3 was off the mark after Costello kicked out a play designed for him.
“Coach told me to take it and I should have taken it,” Costello said. “(Jake) Layman was going to get away from me, so I should taken it. I thought there was a double, so I kicked out, but I should have kept going.”
Instead, the game headed for a second overtime, where Wells and fellow Maryland guard Melo Trimble were the difference. Wells hit a pair of free throws then picked Trice’s pocket and raced away for an easy dunk to put Maryland ahead 60-57 and it never trailed again. Trimble accounted for six points – all on free throws – in the second extra frame.
”We had our chances, man, we had our chances and we didn’t close the door,” Izzo said. “We just didn’t play well enough and we didn’t execute well enough to win down the stretch.”