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TT Court Vision: Three-point shooting and defense led the way in big win over Buckeyes

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We take to the film room to examine key plays that led to the Terps’ first ranked win of the season over Ohio State

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to the Testudo Times film room. No. 12 Maryland men’s basketball moved to 3-1 in conference play and 13-2 on the season after picking up a big win at home over No. 11 Ohio State, 67-55 Tuesday night.

As per usual for the Terps, Mark Turgeon’s squad got off to a slow start in which it didn’t score until after the first media timeout. After that however, the Terps used tenacious defense and sharp shooting from beyond the arc to grind out a win against the Buckeyes.

The Terps were led by senior leader Anthony Cowan Jr, who really came alive in the second half. They also received big time contributions from Jalen Smith, Darryl Morsell and freshman Donta Scott, who made some huge hustle plays that don’t always show up in the box score.

Let’s take a look at all of the impact plays from the Terps’ win.

A strong showing from behind the arc was a difference maker early

Maryland really struggled to start this game to get anything going offensively and looked lost when trying to move the ball. However after the first media timeout, the Terps looked like a much more focused group as shown on this play.

Ohio State threw a 2-3 zone at Maryland often during this matchup and Turgeon did a nice job of combating it — something the team has struggled with in the past. The Terps had great ball movement on this play, which led to Morsell’s ability to penetrate the zone and kick out to a wide open Smith for three points.

On this play, Maryland utilized the same type of drive-and-kick offense as seen on the one above, except this time Ohio State set up in man defense. Ayala played a large role in getting the Terps settled on offense to start with this three and his trip to the free throw line, but struggled once again to get going from deep, going 1-for-6 from three point land on the game.

Cowan only had two assists in this game, but his vision on this play was tremendous to find Morsell for a wide open three. The Terps’ successful high screen-and-roll between Cowan and Smith forced Morsell’s defender to help on a potential dump off, which left Morsell wide open to convert the triple.

Cross-court passes like this are often times dangerous, but Cowan saw the opportunity and did not flinch, delivering a perfectly placed bullet pass to Morsell.

As mentioned in the film review from the Indiana game, the pick-and-pop look for Smith is becoming a deadly weapon for the Terps’ offense. The screen gave Smith just enough time and separation to get an open look and he converted. Smith finished the day 2-for-2 from long range.

After starting the season slow from behind the arc, Smith has come alive as of late. He is shooting 60 percent from deep over his last seven games and seems to be getting much better looks from downtown. Coming into this season, one of the biggest questions regarding Smith’s game was his ability to stretch and hit three-pointer, and recently he has answered those questions.

This play was one of the best sequences of the night for the Terps. Maryland had turned the ball over on the other end and Ayala played great defense in transition to force a miss from D.J. Carton.

After the miss, Cowan got the rebound, brought the ball up and converted the pull up three at a crucial juncture in the game. The senior leader always seems to hit big shots in big moments, and this was one of those situations.

Maryland finished the night going 8-for-18 (44 percent) from deep, which is below average as far as attempts (averaging 23.3 three-point attempts per game), but above average as far as converting such tries. The Terps are currently shooting 31.4 percent from deep on the season, so the showing against the Buckeyes was a big step in the right direction.

Powerful drives to the rim

As the second half started and the pace slowed down, the Terps were a lot more successful when it came to driving to the rim. Cowan set the tone to start the half with a simple blow-by past Luther Muhammad to pick up the easy layup.

Scott scored just seven points for the Terps, but all seven came in huge moments. On this play, he drove to the basket, backed down Andre Wesson and converted a tough hook shot.

The freshman’s confidence and toughness on plays like this are what has helped him carve a nice roll for himself on this team. Scott’s role should only continue to grow as he continues to get better as converting in the paint.

This was another huge play for Scott, who was able to keep the offensive sequence alive after a missed shot. Despite not possessing elite size, he was able to go up and get a tough offensive rebound here.

After realizing he didn’t have a shot on his putback attempt, Scott made the wise decision to kick it out to Cowan, who did the rest. The senior again utilized his quick first step and elite finishing ability to convert this second chance opportunity.

On this play, Maryland showed again that it is able to penetrate and defeat a 2-3 zone. After some movement around the perimeter and an attempt to drive by Aaron Wiggins, Cowan kicked it inside to Scott, who found a wide open Smith for the easy slam.

Ohio State’s over compensation to guard the wing allowed Smith to find himself wide open for the easy bucket.

Excellence on the defensive end

Kaleb Wesson is amongst the best big men in the Big Ten, and Smith and the other Terps did a great job of keeping him in check all game. On this play, Wesson got a bit of inside positioning on Smith, which he thought was enough to get a shot up in the paint.

However, Wiggins and Joshua Tomaic came over in help defense to converge on Wesson, forcing him to take a really tough shot that ended up being swatted by Smith.

If Smith had to go at Wesson alone on this sequence, the likelihood that he would have made the block goes down significantly. Tomaic and Wiggins both brought the help at the right time and were crucial pieces to this defensive stand.

As the game wound down, Maryland did an excellent job of preventing any sort of comeback effort by Ohio State. On this play, Duane Washington Jr. was able to blow by his defenders with the help of a screen, but was met at the rim by Ayala, who drew the charge.

Ayala’s defensive rotation on this play was perfect. He recognized that Washington was going to get past his man and was able to slide over and get set in just enough time to draw a charge, rather than get called for a block.