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No. 9 Maryland tops No. 25 Michigan, earns share of Big Ten title

Posted: 3:49 PM, Mar 08, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-08 21:12:46-04
Michigan Maryland Basketball

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Anthony Cowan Jr. had 20 points and eight assists in his final home game at Maryland, and the ninth-ranked Terrapins beat No. 25 Michigan 83-70 on Sunday to earn a share of the Big Ten regular-season title.

Eric Ayala scored 19, Jalen Smith had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Aaron Wiggins added 15 points for the Terps (24-7, 14-6). Cowan, a senior guard, went 7 for 11 from the floor and hit six free throws in the final minute.

Maryland moved into a first-place tie with Wisconsin, and Michigan State had a chance to make it a three-way deadlock by defeating Ohio State later on Sunday. If two or more teams tie atop the standings at the end of the season, it is a shared championship.

Immediately after the game, Maryland was presented a Big Ten championship trophy, its first since joining the league in 2014. Wisconsin, however, is assured the top seed in the conference tournament this week by virtue of owing the best record in games involving the first-place teams.

The Terrapins held a two-game lead with five games to go, but lost three of four before defeating the Wolverines to finish 16-1 at home.

Reserve sophomore guard David DeJulius scored a career-high 20 points for Michigan (19-12, 10-10). The Wolverines closed their first regular season under rookie coach Juwan Howard by dropping three of four.

Michigan went 9 for 13 from the floor to start the second half, outscoring Maryland 25-15 to cut a 13-point deficit to 56-53 with 10 minutes left. Zavier Simpson led the surge with nine points on 4-for-4 shooting.

The Terps eased the pressure with a 9-2 run that included a pair of 3-pointers by Ayala. After that, the margin never dipped below seven points.

After a sellout crowd saluted Cowan and two other seniors, the Terrapins trailed early before Ayala scored six points in a 14-2 run that made it 18-9. Minutes later, Wiggins had a 3-pointer and a dunk in a 7-0 spurt that upped the margin to 12.

Smith ended the half with a 35-foot heave at the buzzer that hit the bottom of the net and put Maryland up 41-28.

COWAN LEGACY

Cowan made his school-record 130th consecutive start. He ranks first on the Maryland career list for free throws made (579), seventh in scoring, fifth in assists and third in 3-pointers made.

BIG PICTURE

Michigan: The hot and cold Wolverines enter the postseason in the midst of a cool spell. Michigan opened 7-0, then lost eight of 12. A 7-1 stretch followed before the current 1-3 slide.

Maryland: This was a must-win game entering the postseason. After blowing an opportunity to win their first outright title since 2001-02, the Terps got some momentum back and salvaged a piece of the crown.

UP NEXT

Michigan opens play in the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday.

Maryland begins play in the Big Ten Tournament on Friday.