The Buckeyes went on the road in a tough environment, but couldn’t do enough to knock off Maryland in an 86-77 loss.
Ohio State played this one without JaQuan Lyle, who was tending to a family emergency. The Buckeyes came out with some great effort early, with Trevor Thompson battling up to three Terps at one time. Although he wasn’t able to finish some put backs, the Bucks looked motivated in College Park, but Maryland still opened up the game 9-0.
Ohio State’s first points came at the 15:19 mark when Marc Loving knocked down a pair of free throws to make it a 9-2 game. Maryland had some good looks from the perimeter that didn’t fall, which could have made this one get out of hand a lot sooner than it should have. But thanks to buckets by Loving and C.J. Jackson, Ohio State trimmed the lead to 9-6.
The Buckeyes were sticking around, but eventually Maryland got a little bit of separation thanks to some points off of turnovers. The Terrapin lead hovered around 9-12 points for a great portion of the first half, but the lack of depth for Ohio State started to show. The Buckeyes looked like they were running out of gas, and near the end of the first half, Ohio State was down 40-24.
The Terps would take a 45-31 lead into the half. Maryland had 20 bench points in the half, against Ohio State’s zero.
Ohio State looked recharged coming out of the locker room for the second half. Trevor Thompson gave the Buckeyes a couple of quick baskets, but Maryland wouldn’t let Ohio State get too close early. Thad Matta decided to apply a little more pressure in the backcourt on defense, and it made things more difficult for Maryland. The Terps led 52-42 at the under-16 timeout.
A bucket by Kam Williams, followed by a Maryland miss and Marc Loving three put the Buckeyes down 54-47, and the Terrapins crowd was as quiet as it had been all afternoon. It looked at times in the first half we might be in for a blowout quickly, but the shorthanded Buckeyes did a good job of staying in it early in the first half.
Jae’Sean Tate stepped up as the half progressed, but Maryland continued to fend off the Buckeyes. It wasn’t pretty by any means, but they were alive. The Buckeyes were down 72-64 with six minutes in the game. Just when it appeared Ohio State might make a late surge, Trevor Thompson fouled out (on an extremely questionable call) with five and a half minutes left.
Ohio State couldn’t put a final dent into the Maryland lead, which became even more difficult after Micah Potter fouled out shortly after Thompson. The already shorthanded Bucks were down two big men.
Marc Loving got hot late, and after a pair of three pointers, Ohio State was down 77-72 in the final few minutes of the game. Maryland and Ohio State traded threes afterward, and a great defensive stop by Wesson gave the Buckeyes another shot to trim the lead. Loving missed a three on the ensuing possession, and a Maryland three sealed the deal.
Marc Loving finished with a season-high 24 points. Trevor Thompson had 11 points and 10 rebounds for Ohio State, while Jae’Sean Tate contributed 20.
3 things we learned:
1. JaQuan Lyle’s absence hurt. The sophomore point guard missed Saturday’s game dealing with a family emergency. Up against a Maryland team that’s one of the better teams in the Big Ten, any lack of depth by the Buckeyes was going to hurt. It’s even worse against a Maryland team with a guard like Melo Trimble. At the end of the first half, the Buckeyes had no points off the bench.
Ohio State managed to stick around in the second half, and started shooting the ball better. Maryland wasn’t in the same offensive flow that they were in the latter part of the first half, and that combined with more defensive pressure from the Buckeyes helped keep things within reach. Lyle, like the rest of the team can be on or off on any given night, but there’s no question that just having him as an option helps greatly.
2. Trevor Thompson and Marc Loving couldn’t do it alone. Loving kept the Buckeyes in the game early, and Thompson showed some dang good effort throughout the game. It was tough for him with the Maryland bigs, who seemed to swarm him as soon as he laid his hands on the ball. Loving and Thompson combined for 16 of the Buckeyes’ 31 points in the first half, and towards the end of the half, they seemed gassed.
Jae’Sean Tate stepped up in the second half, after shooting 2-for-8 in the first half. Thompson came out strong with a quick pair of baskets in the second half to help narrow the Terps lead, but it was impossible to sustain the effort. Maryland was playing at a quick pace, and while Tate’s improved play in the second half was helpful, it wasn’t enough and too late.
3. You gotta share the rock. The Buckeyes didn’t do great of assisting on scores Saturday afternoon. Part of that undoubtedly has to do with the absence of Lyle, but the ball movement wasn’t spectacular, and there was a lot of solo work on the offensive end. We’ve seen the offense get stagnant during the season, and it was clear that today was a case of that.
The distribution was slightly better in the second half, but it’s difficult for the Buckeyes to just flip the switch and make things happen. It’s pretty much the same brand of basketball we’ve been watching the past couple of seasons. Loving got hot late, which really eliminated any needed ball movement, but it’s obviously better to have it than not at all.