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Ohio State runs away from Maryland, 91-69

Bates-Diop led the scoring, but Andrew Dakich, yes Andrew Dakich, got a career high...in the first half.

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Tamanini Matt Tamanini is the co-managing editor of Land-Grant Holy Land having joined the site in 2016.

Fresh off of the upset of then-No. 1 Michigan State on Sunday, the Ohio State Buckeyes (14-4, 5-0) returned to the floor tonight with a decisive home victory over the Maryland Terrapins (14-5, 3-3) by a score of 91-69.

While the victory over MSU turned into a bit of the Keita Bates-Diop show, against the Terps—even though he was the team’s leading scorer again— OSU saw significant contributions from a number of players, including some that don’t often light up the scoring column. Eight different Buckeyes hit three-pointers in the game, and four scored in double-figures.

After Jae’Sean Tate and Kaleb Wesson missed the first two attempts for the Buckeyes, good ball-movement got OSU on the board as C.J. Jackson hit a three; the first of many on the evening. The Buckeyes were able to keep pace with the Terps, despite the fact that they hit their first four shots before Tate blocked a pull up attempt by Darryl Morsell.

On the following Maryland possession, Kam Williams came up with the steal and found Tate driving. The Pickerington native got the layup to go, and was fouled in the act. After the first media timeout of the game, Tate couldn’t convert the three-point play opportunity to keep UM’s lead in check at 10-9.

Unlike the Terps, the Buckeyes struggled from the floor early, hitting only three of their first 10 attempts. However, down 15-9, Keita Bates-Diop hit back-to-back jumpers that pulled the home team within a single basket before the under-12 media timeout.

Out of the TO, Maryland’s Anthony Cowan Jr. hit a triple, and Michal Cekovsky got a dunk to extend the lead to 20-13. However, head coach Chris Holtmann was not pleased and called a timeout to get his team refocused. The decision seemed to make a difference as OSU hit their next four baskets to tie the score at 22, forcing Maryland’s Mark Turgeon to call a timeout of his own. The Buckeyes would run away from the Terps from there.

In the Buckeyes’ mini-run, Kaleb Wesson got an inside bounce pass from his brother Andre for a layup and Kam Williams hit a jumper. However, the most eye-opening buckets came from Andrew Dakich. The Michigan transfer’s only attempt in the Sunday upset over the Spartans was a 28-foot banked three-pointer. However, after a triple from the wing and a pull up jumper, the guard was OSU’s leading scorer 12 minutes into the game.

From there, Kaleb Wesson blocked an attempted three-pointer from Cowan and found Tate on the break for the go-ahead slam.

On the next Buckeye possession, Kaleb Wesson was fouled going up to the rim. He was only able to hit one of his two free-throw attempts, extending the OSU run to 10-0. However, the Buckeyes weren’t content there. Dakich hit his second three of the game to give him eight points, just two shy of his career high with 6:10 remaining in the first half.

After a pair of Morsell free-throws, Bates-Diop hit three-pointers on consecutive trips. The second was thanks to an hellacious Tate rebound that gave the Buckeyes a second-chance opportunity. On the subsequent possession, Dakich hit yet another three-pointer, giving him 11 and a new career-high. With three minutes left in the half, the Buckeyes led 37-26.

At the end of the first half, the Buckeyes were on a 29-10 run, and headed into the locker room with a 44-32 lead. Despite starting the game a bit cold from the floor, OSU finished the half shooting 56.7 percent (17-30), including hitting half of their attempts from behind the arc (7-14).

Conversely, the Terps, who started hot, had come back down to Earth, as they hit just 8 of 29 attempts following their 4-for-4 start. They were kept in the game in part by their 41.7 percent (5-12) shooting from downtown. Also, no Buckeye had more than one personal foul in the half.

Despite Dakich’s career high, Bates-Diop led the Buckeyes in scoring at intermission with 12. Tate also had an impressive 20 minutes, logging eight points, five assists, four rebounds, and four blocks.

For the Terrapins, Cekovsky led all scorers with 13, while Kevin Huerter had nine.

For the third half in a row, the Buckeyes committed only three turnovers in the first 20 minutes, as did Maryland. The only major statistical difference between the teams, aside from the shooting percentages, was the fact that OSU assisted on nearly half of their baskets (14). The unselfish ball-movement led to many open looks for the Bucks.

After the Terps opened the half with a Morsell free-throw, OSU hit a pair of a triples—one by Bates-Diop, one by Williams— to extend the lead to 50-33 in the early minutes of the second half.

With the Buckeyes threatening to run away from Maryland, Cowan found Bruno Fernando for the alley-oop. That was followed up by a Joshua Tomaic three-pointer to get the advantage down to 52-38. After nearly losing the ball, Kaleb Wesson got OSU back on the board with an old-fashioned three-point play.

At the 15:20 mark of the half, Tate hit the Buckeyes’ 10th three-pointer of the game, which temporarily put them up by 20. Shortly thereafter, Jackson hit another three, and Dakich was credited with a somewhat-suspect assist on a Jackson tip-in that pushed OSU’s lead to 63-40.

As the home team continued to maintain the 20-plus point lead, the intensity from both squads began to wane. However, Holtmann kept most of his starters in the game, allowing Bates-Diop to continue to amass buckets. The Big Ten Player of the Year contender finished with 26 points on 10-15 shooting, including 6-of-8 from downtown. He also chipped in eight boards as well.

With 2:42 remaining in the game, Holtmann finally emptied the bench, getting Micah Potter, Musa Jallow, and Kyle Young a few minutes. Then, after play started, the coach got fan-favorite walk-on Joey Lane in to the NutHouse’s cheers. Lane hit his first three-pointer since Nov. 23, 2016 against Jackson State.

Even though Dakich didn’t improve upon his 11 first-half points, Jackson (14) and Tate (13) joined him and KBD in double-figures, as Kaleb Wesson and Williams each had eight.

The Buckeyes ended up assisting on 25 of their 32 field goals. Ohio State shot well in the first half, but they were near unconscious in the second half, especially before garbage time kicked in. n the second 20 minutes, they hit 15 of 27 attempts (55.6%), including going 10-15 (66.7%) from three-point land.

The basketball Buckeyes will next travel to Piscataway, NJ to take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Sunday, Jan. 14. The game will tip at 7 p.m. ET and will air on BTN.