Michigan State will play on Thursday in the Big Ten Tournament.
A pull-up 3-pointer from Melo Trimble right before the buzzer gave Maryland (24-7, 12-6 Big Ten) a 63-60 win over the Spartans (18-13, 10-8) on Senior Day at the Xfinity Center on Saturday. The loss ensured that Michigan State will finish no higher than fifth in the Big Ten and not earn a double bye.
Freshman big man Nick Ward led the way for the Spartans with 22 points and 16 rebounds, while Miles Bridges added 18 and 8. No other Spartans finished in double figures.
Trimble finished with 16 points for the Terrapins.
Why it happened
Michigan State struggled to find consistency on offense. When Ward sat on the bench with foul trouble, the Spartans could not establish any inside-out offense. They finished the night shooting 36.7 percent from the field, rendering an eight-turnover performance meaningless.
What it means
Michigan State will finish anywhere from fifth to seventh place in the Big Ten and play on the second day of the conference tournament. For possibilities, check out the following graphic.
Here it is. All 128 scenarios. I'll separate top/bottom seeds next. pic.twitter.com/ipYv4Hx8iy
— SpartanDan (@dbaker3448) March 3, 2017
Nick Ward. He dominated in the screen-and-roll game, consistently cutting to the rim and making himself available for easy buckets. He posted 18 points and 10 rebounds in the second half alone to keep the Spartans in it, although he did miss a chance to give MSU a late lead when the ball slipped through his hands. Credit Alvin Ellis III and Cassius Winston, who kept finding him.
Tum Tum Nairn. He’s in there for his defense, and for portions he did the job. But with the game on the line, he allowed Trimble too much space to get off a shot that he probably should’ve seen coming.
Who was there
One of the most underrated atmospheres in the Big Ten (probably because the Terps have not been in the conference for long) showed up and made its presence known. MLive’s Brendan Quinn captured this moment during a timeout.
During that timeout … pic.twitter.com/loUKLKxTRc
— Brendan F. Quinn (@BFQuinn) March 4, 2017
Who is next
See above. We’ll have to wait for the results of the remaining conference games to see whom the Spartans will face in Washington.
Nick Ward did all he could, but not much offensively from any Spartans besides him and Bridges. pic.twitter.com/NnZnyWzQp3
— Luke Srodulski (@lsrodulski) March 4, 2017