Terps fall to Ohio State 91-69 after cold shooting performance

On Thursday night, the Maryland Terrapins lost to Ohio State 91-69, marking their second blowout loss in the last three games. Conference play has not been kind to the Terps so far and things are not looking any brighter on the horizon.

Ohio State was not ranked coming into this matchup but they should be by next Monday. After knocking off #1 Michigan State on Sunday, the Buckeyes became one of the hottest teams in the Big Ten and they moved to 5-0 in conference play after stomping the Terps on Thursday.

Keita Bates-Diop has been one of the biggest standouts in the Big Ten this year, averaging 20 points per game. He led the way for the Buckeyes once again on Thursday by recording 26 points and eight rebounds. Overall the Buckeyes had an amazing shooting night to help lift themselves over the visiting Terps.

Just for comparison, Ohio State shot 52% from the field in their win over Michigan State last week and they shoo 56% against Maryland. The Buckeyes were even better from the three-point line, picking up 17 of their 32 baskets from beyond the arc. Three other players, in addition to Bates-Diop, finished with double-digit point totals.

Maryland was abysmal from the field all night. The Terps shot just 36% and got about 25% of their points from the free-throw line. Unlike past losses, the turnover margin was not to blame. Maryland coughed up the ball just seven times but still managed to lose in lopsided fashion.

Like in their loss to the Spartans last week, Maryland found themselves on the wrong side of a scoring run at the end of the first half.  The teams were tied at 22 with eight minutes to play but the Buckeyes quickly took complete control with a 22-2 scoring run. Mark Turgeon did not call a timeout during this entire span even though the Terps were clearly not running their proper game plan. The Buckeyes defense was stout but when your team is forcing shots early in the clock and not hustling back on fast breaks, you need to call a timeout and reset.

The only player who didn’t have a terrible night for the Terps was Michael Cekovsky. The senior started his night by going 5-for-5 with ten points and finished with 18. Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter usually lead the way on offense but the two combined to shoot 7-for-23. Rounding out the starting lineup were freshmen Darryl Morsell and Bruno Fernando. The two have been electric in the past but were non-existent in Thursday’s loss, combining for six points on 1-for-9 shooting.

Its’ difficult to not be frustrated with this Maryland team. When they started the season there was a lot of promise and opportunity but that has faded pretty quickly. Certainly the injuries have had a big impact on their play but the opportunities to pick up quality wins continue to come and go.

The Terps have played a handful of games against quality opponents but their best wins are still against Butler and Penn State. Meanwhile, there are already at least three or four losses that will come back to haunt the Terps when the season is over.

Mark Turgeon and the Terps will take the weekend off before traveling to face Michigan on Monday. This presents yet another opportunity for Maryland to pick up a big win. Hopefully they can regroup and put themselves in a position to win down the stretch instead of falling behind early.

Image credit: Adam Cairns / TNS

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Maryland survives matchup against Ohio State, 86-77

After losing two games in a row for the first time this season, Maryland was in desperate need of a win on Saturday. The loss against Purdue last Saturday was certainly disappointing given the circumstances, but Tuesday’s loss at Penn State was even worse. Another loss at home against an average team like Ohio state would have been devastating to say the least.

Sporting their all gold uniforms, the Terps thrived off of their soldout home crowd and came out swinging. Five minutes into the game, Maryland had a 9-0 lead and by the eight minute mark, they took their first ten point lead and continued to build on it as the first half concluded.

The interesting thing was the fact that the scoring didn’t come from any one player in particular. Maryland led 45-31 at the half with 20 points coming from the bench. Despite their first half domination, the Terps were held in check by the Buckeyes early in the second half.  Ohio State made a few significant runs before the ten minute mark and even cut the lead to just six at one point.

The game was beginning to feel eerily similar to the matchup against Purdue just one week ago. Last week the Terps had a double digit lead and were in complete control, but poor shot clock management and a lack of defense gave the game away. With Ohio State fighting back on multiple occasions, the usually rowdy Maryland crowd was uncomfortably quiet at times.

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C.J Jackson put up 13 and was one of just five Ohio State players to score in Saturdays game.  Source: Patrick Semansky, AP 

With two and half minutes to play, Ohio State already had two of their players fouled out and were not getting my favors from the refs. But a pair of back-to-back threes cut the Maryland lead to just five.  Kevin Huerter momentarily got the crowd back into it with a deep three, but Ohio State responded immediately to bring it back to five point game.

 

With under a minute to go, the Terps showed much better poise than a week ago. Anthony Cowan took as much time off the clock as possible and sunk a good look from three. There may have been a sense of panic among the crowd but the Terps were able to get back to their late game confidence. With a more comfortable eight point lead, Maryland was able to put the game on ice at the free throw line and close out an 86-77 victory

To the Buckeyes’ credit, they were able to stay within striking distance and keep the game competitive despite having zero points from their bench players. As lopsided as it may have felt at times, Ohio State’s starting five putting up 77 points was an impressive feat. I thought that Maryland played well overall and even dominated at times, but to let a depleted OSU team get back in the game in crunch time is just unacceptable.

This win could save Maryland from falling out of the Top 25 but that is very much in question. A more commanding victory would have helped but at the end of the day this was a must win game and the Terps got it done. However, Maryland will play two of their toughest games of the season next week. These upcoming road games against Northwestern and Wisconsin will be huge in deciding the legitimacy of Maryland as we approach March.