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Players to Watch: Michigan needs to slow Scott, Young again for repeat performance

Michigan won handily in Ann Arbor earlier this season.

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Michigan Brian Bradshaw Sevald-USA TODAY Sports

On Jan. 1, the Michigan Wolverines blew the socks off the Maryland Terrapins in an 81-46 showing in Ann Arbor. The Terrapins had only 13 points in the first half, and the Michigan defense held them to just 26.5% from the field.

Since then, Maryland has lost two of its last three before Thursday’s rematch with the Wolverines in College Park. The Wolverines are 2-2 since their last meeting and have lost their last two road games.

Despite a 4-2 Big Ten record, good for third in the conference, Michigan needs to start racking together some wins to be taken seriously come March. A win Thursday night would certainly be a step in the right direction. Here are the players to watch as Michigan looks to build a winning streak against the Terps.

Jahmir Young

Young scored just five points against Michigan in Ann Arbor earlier this season. In his last two games, he’s scored 50 total points while shooting at a 45.7% clip. He’s at his best when he’s moving downhill and scoring at the rim, especially when he picks up fouls. He shot 15 from the charity stripe, hitting 13 of them, in his 30-point performance in the upset win over Ohio State last week.

Young is shooting 40.7% from the field in the team’s last nine games. During their winning streak to open the season, he was a more efficient 44.7% on just as many attempts per game. Tougher Big Ten defense definitely plays a role in that, and the Wolverines gave it to Young the last time they played (2-for-9). Odds are he will not perform that poorly again and the Terps overall just had a cold night, but the Wolverines would love to slow down Maryland’s leading scorer for a second time.

Donta Scott

Like Young, Scott really struggled against the Wolverines going 2-for-10 from the floor with five points and five rebounds in 18 minutes. On the other end, he played a part in Hunter Dickinson’s season-high 32-point performance that drowned the Terps early in the game.

On the season, Scott averages 12.4 points per game. When he scores in the double digits, Maryland is much more likely to win. In fact, it is 8-2 when he does and 3-4 when he does not. A little bit of Dickinson, Terrance Williams II, and maybe even a sprinkle of Tarris Reed Jr. defending him should be expected depending on how Maryland decides to use him.

Scott dropped about 20 pounds this offseason, but he is still a rock at 6-foot-8, 230. He’s one of the most athletic players in the conference and can throw it down off a put-back or put just about anybody on a poster. In college, some players won’t come back from that, but it will be important to shake something like that off if it does happen to a Wolverine on the road on Thursday.