Maryland basketball couldn’t keep up with Ohio State in Columbus on Thursday, falling to 3-3 in Big Ten play with a demoralizing 91-69 loss.
The Terps started well, but Ohio State went on an extended run late in the first half to open up a double-digit lead, and Maryland didn’t have nearly enough firepower to stay in the contest. Two of the Terps’ last three games have unfolded in this manner.
Keita Bates-Diop led Ohio State with 26 points and eight rebounds, as the redshirt junior shot 10-of-15 and made 6 of 8 threes. He was one of four Buckeyes to score in double figures. The team caught fire from beyond the arc in the first half and stayed hot all night, shooting 17-of-29 on threes. Ohio State shot 56 percent to the Terps’ 37 percent from the field, and that was far too much to overcome.
Maryland, meanwhile was already without Justin Jackson and Ivan Bender for the season, and Dion Wiley missed this game with a concussion. The Terps did receive a scoring boost early on from Michal Cekovsky, who had 13 first-half points before finishing with a career-high 18. Both Kevin Huerter and Anthony Cowan had off nights, scoring 12 points apiece and combining to shoot 7-of-23 from the floor.
Cekovsky, Huerter and Cowan combined to score Maryland’s first 22 points; the big man was in double figures just past the 10-minute mark. The Terps took a 22-15 lead at that point, but Ohio State turned it on. The Buckeyes went on a 13-0 run over roughly a three-minute span to take the lead, and after Maryland snapped the streak with two free throws, Ohio State nailed three triples to extend its lead to 13. The lead was 44-32 at halftime.
Andrew Dakich was unconscious in the first half, making 3-of-4 three-pointers for 11 points off the bench. Bates-Diop entered the locker room with 12, and the Buckeyes went 8-of-15 from deep as a team in the opening frame. They also shot 20 percent better from the floor—56.7 percent to 36.4 percent—to open up their lead.
After Maryland scored the first point of the second half on a Darryl Morsell free throw, Ohio State scored eight more points unanswered, stretching the margin to 19. A few minutes later, it was 29. Both teams looked somewhat sluggish down the stretch, as the game was well out of hand.
Maryland has four days off before visiting Michigan on Monday. With the Wolverines looking like another one of the conference’s stronger teams, the Terps will need an incredible bounceback performance to pull out a win.
Three things to know
1. Maryland watched another team get hot. For the second straight road game, the Terps looked like an even match early on and fell apart late in the first half. It hardly surprised anyone when then-No. 1 Michigan State entered a new gear, but Ohio State’s run was keyed in part by Dakich reaching a career high in points well before halftime. A shorthanded Maryland wasn’t able to climb back in it in the second half.
2. Bruno Fernando played, but it didn’t feel like it. After winning Big Ten Freshman of the Week for his performances against Penn State and Iowa, Fernando couldn’t find a rhythm Thursday. The 6’10 center scored just two points on two shots and corralled three rebounds in 16 minutes. With Fernando never in serious foul trouble, his quiet night was rather surprising. Maryland will need a considerable spike in production from him against the Wolverines on Monday.
3. Then again, hardly anybody brought their best game. Huerter and Cowan had poor shooting nights. So did Morsell and Jared Nickens. Fernando and Sean Obi struggled inside. Only Cekovsky and Joshua Tomaic had somewhat encouraging stat lines, but both were fighting to stay out of foul trouble. And the rest of the scholarship players were hurt.