ANN ARBOR – A week ago, Jon Teske shut down an elite big man in Ethan Happ. He had to contain two Saturday at Crisler Center.
The 7-footer held No. 24 Maryland’s Bruno Fernando and Jalen Smith to combined 20 points, leading Michigan (23-3, 12-3) to a 65-52 home victory.
While the junior center struggled from the field (nine points, 5-for-20 shooting), he was the tip of the spear for a Wolverine defense that held the Terrapins (19-7, 10-5) to well under a point per possession.
The early going resembled last year’s 85-61 rout in College Park. The hosts raced out to a 14-2 start off a pair of triples from Zavier Simpson and Ignas Brazdeikis, as well two transition buckets from Charles Matthews.
Defense ➡️ offense.@1CMatthews gets the @umichbball transition flush. pic.twitter.com/AbzUhIW4iL— Michigan On BTN (@MichiganOnBTN) February 16, 2019
Matthews led the way with 14 points. Brazdeikis notched 13, Simpson scored 12 and all three snared five boards apiece.
Aaron Wiggins paced all scorers with 15 points, draining a trio of threes.
The lead ballooned to 25-10, as Michigan turned 13 first-half turnovers from Maryland into 10 fast-break points. Fernando and Smith got the ball deep in the lane several times, but Teske and Brazdeikis poked out steal after steal.
The Terrapins finished with 16 turnovers. The Wolverines assisted on 15 of 23 field goals, and scored 14 points in transition.
After the fast start, the offense ground to a halt. The officials hit Simpson with his second foul with six minutes to go in the half, and the Wolverines tallied just four more points before the break. In his place, David DeJulius locked down Anthony Cowan, outscoring the junior guard 2-0 over the timeframe.
Out of the lockers, Maryland closed the gap to 42-39 with just over 10 minutes to go. A coast-to-coast layup by Poole and a step-back Simpson triple pushed the margin back to eight. After a 0-for-6 start from behind the arc, Teske nailed his seventh for a 57-46 advantage with 2:47 left.
Oh, and Simpson tacked on another three o’clock sky hook. It capped a strong response only a few days after the major upset in Happy Valley.
"This is like baby Kareem right here!" - @jimjackson419@umichbball's Zavier Simpson with the KAJ-like sky hook pic.twitter.com/r6RjvzzpT7— FOX College Hoops (@CBBonFOX) February 16, 2019
The Wolverines travel to Minneapolis Thursday for their second game against Minnesota. It preludes a Sunday tilt with Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans.