The Maryland Terrapins suffered their third Big Ten loss of the season Thursday evening, as they were blown out by Ohio State in Columbus, 80-56. An inability to consistently score on offense, defend against the three, and rebound doomed Maryland, who fell to 18-4 on the season.
Maryland once again struggled on offense to begin the game, not making a field goal until the 12:29 mark of the first half, when freshman Michal Cekovsky made an uncontested dunk. Ohio State's zone defense stymied the Terps' offense, forcing Maryland into low-percentage shots and multiple turnovers.
The Terps decided to let Dez Wells initiate the offense midway through the first half, moving freshman Melo Trimble off the ball. Maryland made four of their next five baskets after making the move, including three straight baskets by Wells. The senior led all Maryland players with 12 points. Junior Jake Layman was the only other Terp to score in double digits.
But just as quickly as the Terps cut the lead to one, the Buckeyes responded with a 12-0 run of their own. The Buckeyes were led by D'Angelo Russell, who scored seven of those points, including a key four-point play. Ohio State pushed their lead as high as 13 before Maryland was finally able to respond with an 11-3 run to cut the lead to five. However, the Buckeyes' Marc Loving drained a three for Ohio State with 29 seconds left in the first half that gave OSU an eight-point lead at the intermission.
As the second half began, Ohio State pushed their lead back up to 12, but the Terps responded by getting to the basket, drawing contact and getting to the free throw line. Unfortunately for Maryland, the Buckeyes converted five of their first seven shots of the half and quickly pushed their lead to 16 just four minutes into the second period.
Maryland was resilient and kept trying to get back into the game, and again cut Ohio State's lead down to ten, but the Buckeyes seemed to always have an answer. This time it came in the form of a Marc Loving three, which was his fifth of the game. A few minutes later, a Russell desperation three pointed banked in off the glass. Maryland simply couldn't consistently force Ohio State into stops to allow themselves to cut into the lead.
Maryland had no answer for D'Angelo Russell, who finished with 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. In the battle of the top Big Ten freshmen, it was Russell who came out on top over Melo Trimble, as Maryland's freshman star had one of his worst offensive games as a Terp, finishing with just three points and going 0-of-8 from the field.
The Buckeyes had three different players finish in double figures, led by Marc Loving's 19. Ohio State dominated Maryland on the glass, out rebounding the Terps 51-32, including 16 offensive rebounds that drastically limited any second-shot opportunities for Maryland. The Terps were also held to just 16 points in the paint, compared to 32 for the Buckeyes.
Three things we learned
1. Maryland is really struggling on offense
Ohio State did a great job on defense against Maryland, but the Terps also missed a lot of easy shots close to the basket. They shot just 28 percent from the field, including a cold start to each half, when they were only a combined 2-of-11 from the floor. Maryland was also limited in their second-chance opportunities, getting out hustled on the glass, where Ohio State out rebounded the Terps by 19.
2. Winning on the road in the Big Ten is hard
Maryland is still learning how to play with a target on their back. Coming into venues as a ranked team means that they're often going to get an opponent's best shot. They found that out again against Ohio State, who let Maryland hang around before the game snowballed away from the Terps as OSU outscored Maryland by 16 in the second half. It was Maryland's worst loss of the season. In Big Ten play this season, Maryland is averaging just 64 points while allowing their opponents to score just less than 72 points.
3. Maryland's perimeter defense continues to be an issue
In the past several games, Maryland has gone from being one of the best perimeter defense teams in the Big Ten to seemingly one of the worst. Ohio State made 10 of their 17 attempts from beyond the arc Thursday, continuing a very bad trend for Maryland; over their last three games, the Terps have allowed their opponents to make 28 of their 57 three pointers. Teams are running plays that result in Maryland defenders losing their man and that player is often waiting for a pass to the outside. It's been a reoccurring theme that Maryland has to work to address moving forward.