Ohio State had a very uneven performance on Wednesday night against Rutgers, but in the end they were able to squeak out a 70-64 victory over the Scarlet Knights. The Buckeyes looked like they were going to run away from Rutgers at times in the victory, but sloppy play from Ohio State allowed the Scarlet Knights to crawl back into the game on a number of occasions. Not only did the Buckeyes jump out to an 11-point lead in the first half before taking a 33-27 edge into the halftime break, but early in the second half Ohio State opened up a 12-point lead on Rutgers.
The Scarlet Knights were able to again work their way back into the game, despite seeing leading scorer Corey Sanders foul out with five minutes left in the game. With just over a minute to go the score was tied before Kam Williams not only hit a three-pointer to give the Buckeyes the lead for good, and the junior guard was also fouled on the play. Williams hit the free throw and finished with a career-high 23 points in the victory. The win by Ohio State was their 100th overall win over a Big Ten opponent at Value City Arena.
Now Ohio State hit the road to take on a Maryland team that has been in a bit of a funk, losing their last two games. These two teams squared off less than two weeks ago, with Maryland earning a 77-71 victory in Columbus. Justin Jackson paced Maryland with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Ohio State was able to get 20 points from Jae’Sean Tate, and 18 points from Marc Loving, but it wasn’t quite enough for the Buckeyes to pull the upset.
Ohio State will be hoping this trip to College Park will be a lot different than the last time the Buckeyes played there. Last January, Maryland jumped out to a 48-30 halftime lead on Ohio State, and continued to widen the margin in the second half, eventually beating the Buckeyes 100-65. The loss dropped Ohio State to 1-3 all-time in College Park, with the lone win coming in the 1979 NIT. Ohio State has lost their last three games overall to the Terrapins.
Since beating Ohio State in Columbus on the last day of January, Maryland has fallen into a bit of a funk, dropping their last two games. Last Saturday against Purdue, the Terrapins lost in College Park 73-72, falling to the Boilermakers in the final seconds of the game. Maryland followed that up by losing to Penn State 70-64 on Tuesday night. The loss to the Nittany Lions was the first time Maryland had been defeated on the road this season. The back-to-back losses mark the first time Maryland has dropped back-to-back games since February of last year. The last time Maryland dropped three games in a row came back in 2012, which was head coach Mark Turgeon’s first year with the school.
The consecutive losses have dropped Maryland in the Big Ten standings, with the Terrapins currently sitting two games behind Wisconsin. With games next week at Northwestern, who sits just behind Maryland in the standings, and at Wisconsin next Sunday, today’s game is one the Terrapins desperately need if they have any hopes of staying in thick of the race for the Big Ten title.
Numbers to know
During the 13 years Thad Matta has been Ohio State’s head coach there have been 82 instances of home-and-home regular season series with Big Ten opponents. Just nine times has Ohio State been swept in both meetings. There has been 32 times in which Ohio State has been defeated in the first game of the home-and-home, and 24 times the Buckeyes have been able to earn the victory in the rematch to avoid the sweep.
Jae’Sean Tate and Marc Loving are soon going to be the 26th and 27th players to record at least 1,000 points and 500 rebounds while in a Buckeye uniform. With 507 rebounds already to his credit, Tate is likely going to be the next member of the club, as he needs just 12 points to reach 1,000 for his career. Loving has already reached 1,000 points for his career, and needs 14 rebounds to reach 500 career rebounds.
Both teams have had their fair share of success this year in close games, with each school winning nine games that have been decided by six points or less. Three of Maryland’s four losses this year have come by less than six points, including the two most recent losses Maryland has suffered since playing the Buckeyes. While Ohio State has the same number of wins as Maryland in games decided by six points or less, the Buckeyes have also suffered even more heartbreaking losses, falling in six games decided by six points or less.
Cast of characters
With 15 points and 13 rebounds in the victory over Rutgers on Wednesday night, Thompson notched his ninth double-double of the year, which is second-most in the country among players who are averaging less than 24 minutes per game. In the earlier matchup this year with Maryland, Thompson was close to notching yet another double-double, finishing with nine points and nine rebounds in the loss.
The senior scored eight points on Wednesday night against Rutgers, and currently sits 33rd all-time on Ohio State’s career scoring list with 1,238 points. Loving should move up another spot on the list today as he trails Ron Stokes by just two points for 32nd place. After passing Stokes, Loving will set his sights on Jared Sullinger, who sits in 31st place with 1,282 career points.
In the first half of Tuesday night’s game against Penn State, Trimble surpassed the 1,500 career points for the Terrapins. The junior guard finished with 11 points in the loss, and now has reached double figures in 13 straight games this year. Ohio State did an admirable job of containing Trimble in the first meeting, only allowing him 13 points on 5-13 shooting, while also forcing the guard into five turnovers.
The freshman forward has done some of his best work on the court of late for the Terrapins. In three of the last four games Jackson has reached double-figures in scoring, and he narrowly missed his third double-double during that span on Tuesday night, scoring 14 points and adding nine rebounds. The 22 points Jackson scored in Maryland’s victory in Columbus recently was only topped by the 28 points he scored in the victory over Minnesota just a few days before. Jackson is Maryland’s best rebounder this year, pulling down 6.3 rebounds per game.
How to watch
Game time: 4 p.m. ET
Radio: 97.1 WBNS-FM