Welcome back to the Testudo Times film room. Now-No. 9 Maryland men’s basketball lost for the first time since mid-January by a score of 79-72 at now-No. 23 Ohio State.
After falling down by 14 points early in the second half, the Terps gradually chipped away at the Buckeyes lead for much of the second half but were never able to take full control and regain the lead.
Aaron Wiggins and Eric Ayala both had phenomenal performances for the Terps, but the story of this game was the technical foul assessed to Anthony Cowan Jr. with a little under four minutes left in the game, which gave him his fifth foul and caused him to miss the rest of regulation.
Let’s take a look at some of the good and bad impact plays that led to the Terps’ loss in Columbus.
Play of the game
We’ll start the breakdown with this sensational drive from Wiggins. The sophomore guard put up a career-high 20 points in this game and this play was the biggest highlight from his Sunday.
Wiggins got the ball on the perimeter and drove past one man to start. After getting past the first defender, he executed one of the filthiest dribble moves we have seen this season from the Terps with a behind-the-back move.
Wiggins then converted an extremely tough floater over 6’9 Kaleb Wesson. He could have dished it or thrown and alley-oop to Chol Marial here, but he made the right call to put up the floater — and it paid off.
Poor defense led to too many easy buckets for Ohio State
One of the main reasons Maryland lost this game was because Ohio State shot the ball extremely well from downtown. The Buckeyes shot 40 percent from deep, and the Terps really had no answer defensively for much of the game.
On this play, Kaleb Wesson set a screen for his brother Andre Wesson to come up for the three-point look. Darryl Morsell did not switch in time after Kaleb Wesson pinned Cowan down low in the paint, which led to Andre Wesson getting the wide open look, which he converted.
Maryland struggled throughout this game with covering the pick-and-pop plays around the perimeter, and this play was a great example of it. Kaleb Wesson came over to set a screen for CJ Walker, which led to Wesson getting an open converted three.
Jalen Smith, expecting Wesson to roll to the basket, waited in the paint, which led to the Buckeye camping out at the three-point line. Walker was able to notice this and find Wesson for the three ball.
Over the past few games, Smith has been dominant in the post and has done really well in the pick-and-roll. On this play, Maryland had a perfectly executed pick-and-roll set up for Smith, but Ayala decided to kick it to Cowan in the corner instead.
Cowan ended up driving and missing a tough floater, but the better move on this play would have been dishing it to Smith, who had the mismatch with a guard down low.
Another main reason why the Terps lost this game was that they were dominated on the glass by a 36-27 margin. The Buckeyes hauled in 13 offensive rebounds and were able to take advantage of them with 14 second chance points.
On this play, Maryland played solid defense and forced a miss, but Donta Scott did a poor job of boxing out. Scott’s inability to find E.J. Liddell led to him being able to easily get inside positioning, which led to his putback layup.
Was this a breakout game for Aaron Wiggins?
We already looked into Wiggins best play of this game, but he had some other highlights as well.
On this play, Maryland ran an off-ball screen for Cowan, but he immediately kicked it back to Ayala, who found Wiggins in the corner. The sophomore guard immediately used a pump fake to get Andre Wesson to bite and executed a beautiful step-back dribble to nail the open three.
Wiggins went 6-for-13 from three-point range in this game, and this shot was one of his biggest threes of the night because it brought the Terps within three points after trailing by so much in the second half.
This play was a simple drive and kick out executed to perfection by Ayala and Wiggins. Wiggins’ man was distracted by Ayala’s drive to the paint and Wiggins was able to sneak out of the lane and into the corner for the wide open three.
Eric Ayala had one of his best games of the season
On this play, the Terps executed a beautiful backdoor cut to find Ayala for the converted contested layup. This was a great look and play design for the Terps, and if you have a good memory you probably noticed that it was the same exact play in which they ran against Nebraska a few games ago (gif below).
This is a great play for the Terps and something they will hopefully run more often as it has had success on numerous occasions now. Cowan’s strong drive to the corner helped distract Ayala’s man, which led to the sophomore getting free for the cut to the basket.
Maryland got a number of three-point looks from drive-and-kick plays, and that is what led to the Ayala three here. Morsell drove to the hoop and Ayala’s man came over to help. Ayala made the smart decision to drift down to the corner and was able to get the wide open look.
Ayala finished the game with 16 points, which tied his season high. He went 5-for-12 from the field and 3-for-8 from three-point range.
If you want to take a positive away from this loss, it has to be the play from Ayala and Wiggins. The two shined throughout the game and gave Terps fans a potential look at what life will be like without Cowan and probably Smith next season.