Maryland and Michigan meet in a matchup of struggling Big Ten teams

Early in the second half of Maryland’s most recent game, forward Julian Reese picked up his fourth personal foul, prompting Coach Kevin Willard to replace the Terrapins’ second-leading scorer with reserve center Caelum Swanton-Rodger. The sequence was part of a second-half unraveling against Minnesota during which the Terps (9-6, 1-3 Big Ten) were forced into playing an inexperienced lineup and wasted a double-digit, second-half lead in a 65-62 loss at Williams Arena.

In addition to Reese sitting out with foul trouble, Jahari Long was unavailable because of back discomfort, leaving Maryland without one of its most seasoned reserves who several games earlier had filled in admirably in the absence of point guard Jahmir Young, the Terps’ leading scorer, who had been battling flu-like symptoms.

It’s unclear whether Long, who did not travel to Minneapolis, will be healthy enough to play in Thursday night’s game against Michigan (6-9, 1-3) at Xfinity Center. The senior guard is listed as day-to-day, according to Willard, who probably won’t make the determination until shortly before tip-off of a matchup between schools tied for last in the conference.

Maryland, which has lost nine of its past 11 in the series, is seeking to avoid its second three-game skid this season.

“We got stuck a little bit with a lineup we’ve never had before,” Willard said. “You know, three freshmen [DeShawn Harris-Smith, Jamie Kaiser Jr. and Jahnathan Lamothe] on the court trying to go out there and figure it out.”

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Harris-Smith has started every game for the Terps, and Kaiser is among the first players off the bench. Lamothe, however, plays sparingly. The 6-foot-4 guard made his Big Ten debut Sunday, logging 13:25, his highest usage this season against a high-major opponent.

The dearth of production from reserves remains a significant concern. Maryland, which received just seven points from its bench against the Golden Gophers, almost exclusively relies on Young and Reese for scoring.

A backup has scored in double figures just four times this season for the Terps. Two of those performances have come from Kaiser, a Northern Virginia native whom Willard has called a sublime three-point shooter.

“He’ll make 50 in a row in practice,” Willard said.

But Kaiser has made just 14 of 59 three-point attempts (23.7 percent) in games, underscoring a glaring deficiency that has plagued the Terps. Maryland is shooting 27.4 percent on three-point attempts, which ranks 340th out of 351 schools nationally. The only power conference program worse is Texas A&M (26.6 percent).

The Terps made 4 of 12 three-point attempts against Minnesota one game after making 5 of 22 in a 67-53 home loss to top-ranked Purdue. Three-point shooting has been especially off the mark when facing high-major opponents. Maryland is 29 for 124 in six such games, including 9 for 34 against a pair of Big Ten teams to begin the new year.

The Terps have gone three consecutive games without making more than six three-pointers.

Donta Scott has been Maryland’s most dependable three-point shooter of late. The fifth-year senior forward who recently set the program record for career games played is shooting 45.8 percent (11 for 24) over the past five games.

“Just take our time,” Scott said of how Maryland can get on track from beyond the arc. “Coach always tells us to step into our threes. We probably take as many shots as any other team in the country. We just have to step to the line and knock them down with confidence. We’re getting a lot of open looks; [I] feel like a lot of them are strong misses.”

Maryland missed seven open three-pointers in the first half against the Boilermakers. Young missed all three of his attempts in the first half but finished with a game-high 26 points. The fifth-year senior is averaging 19.9 points, the fourth most in the Big Ten, but only recently has been able to practice fully while recovering from a bug that began affecting him several days before Christmas.

Young nonetheless has been on a tear with four straight games of at least 20 points, including a career-high 37 in a 69-60 victory at UCLA on Dec. 22. The transfer from Charlotte raised in Upper Marlboro also has scored at least 20 points in seven of the past eight games.

“We’ve just got to translate what we do in practice to the game,” Young said after scoring 20 points in the loss to the Golden Gophers. “I feel like in practice we’re playing very well, and it’s just not translating to the game right now, so just try to build momentum and keep a positive attitude in practice and stick together for the next couple of days.”

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