The Ohio State Buckeyes’ (12-5, 2-4) losing streak was extended to four games on Friday night at the Value City Arena as they fell to the No. 19 Maryland Terrapins (16-3, 7-1) 75-61; the Terp win gave them seven in a row. With their fourth loss in the conference this season, that is more than OSU had against Big Ten foes in the entire 2017-18 season.
While the Buckeyes went on a number of runs throughout the game, a rough shooting day, specifically from behind the arc, ultimately doomed them. For most of the game, the visiting Terps connected on nearly every shot they took (or at least that’s how it felt), while Ohio State struggled from the field.
That storyline began early in the game as the Buckeyes weren’t able to connect from the floor, but fortunately early on, Kaleb Wesson dominated the boards to keep the game close. By the time the teams took the first media timeout, Maryland led 12-8 on 5-for-8 shooting, while OSU was just 3-for-9 from the floor. The younger Wesson brother had half of the home team’s points to go along with four of OSU’s five rebounds. However, he would not be the offensive threat the rest of the half that his hot start might have otherwise indicated.
Kaleb Wesson was coming off of the worst game of his collegiate career in which he scored only two points against the Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday.
Out of the media timeout, with the shot clock winding down, Duane Washington Jr. hit a deep three-pointer to cut the Terp advantage to one. Washington would take it upon himself to be a focal point of the offense in the game.
The freshman’s triple was the first from behind the arc for OSU on the night. Then, just two possessions later, C.J. Jackson found Andre Wesson in the corner for another three, giving the Buckeyes a 16-15 advantage. Despite the fact that these two buckets were the only ones from downtown for Buckeyes thus far, nine of OSU’s first 18 attempts were from behind the arc; not the percentage (22%) that Holtmann was likely hoping for.
On the other side of the court, the Terps made six of their first eight attempts (75%) from beyond the arc. Maryland scored on seven straight possessions and, coupled with their distinct advantage from deep, opened up an eight-point lead — their largest at that point of the game — with 4:39 remaining before halftime.
A little more than a minute later, Kaleb Wesson found a cutting Kyle Young in front of the basket. Young got the layup, but couldn’t connect on the free throw as he was fouled.
Trailing 42-35, with less than a minute left, Kaleb Wesson took a pass at the top of the key and immediately dished it to Washington who connected on a three-pointer, preserving their two-for-one opportunity as the clock wound down. However, the clock expired shortly after Maryland’s Aaron Wiggins hit his second triple of the half. Maryland ended the half up 45-38.
For OSU, Washington was keeping the team in it with 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting, but along with Young’s 3-for-3, they were the only Buckeyes to shoot better than 40 percent from the field in the half.
Before the break, the difference between the teams was in the Terps’ shooting. As a squad, they hit 15 of their 24 attempts (62.5%) from the field, including seven of their 10 tried from distance (70%). While some of that was just good, old-fashioned hot shooting, some of it was because the Buckeyes seemed to be often out of place on defense. Throughout the first 20 minutes, the Bucks regularly found themselves doubling ball-handlers, only for that to lead to an uncontested bucket from an unguarded man.
After starting out fairly rocky from the floor, the Buckeyes did pick up their shooting as the half wore on. At the break, they were 14-for-30 (46.7%) from the field, but still an abysmal 3-for-13 (23.1%) from three-point land.
The Terps were led by three players with eight points apiece, Bruno Fernando, Jalen Smith, and Darryl Morsell.
Out of the intermission, the Buckeyes raced out to a 6-0 run, cutting the score to 45-44. OSU turned the Terps over three times in the first 1:40 of the second half; Jackson had a pair of steals in the early going of the period.
With two suspect calls early in the second half, Kaleb Wesson had to go to the bench with three. However, his replacement, Young, quickly picked up his third foul almost immediately upon entering the game, then a few minutes later got his fourth as Fernando hit a runner to put the visitors up 53-44 following the made free throw.
With 13:43, left Andre Wesson got a fortunate roll to break a Terp 10-0 run, but Wiggins hit a three-pointer as the shot clock ran out. As the visitors began to extend their lead into double digits, the Buckeyes began to play more frantically. The fouls started to pile up for OSU and the ill-advised deep-balls continued.
However, the silver lining to that frenetic pace was that the Buckeyes were forcing more turnovers — nine from Maryland in the first 10 minutes of the half. That ninth takeaway led directly to another Washington triple that cut the Maryland lead to 59-53. However, as had been the case all game, the Terps responded as Anthony Cowan Jr. waived off a pick-and-roll in order to bury a three of their own. Of course, Kaleb Wesson wanted in on the action, and connected on a deep ball of his own on the very next possession, making the score 62-56.
Unfortunately from there, the Terps kept compiling points and OSU fell in love with the deep ball. The Washington and Wesson back-to-back threes were the only ones of the half for OSU at that point, as they were just 2-for-8 (25%).
From there, things continued to go the Terps’ way, as the went on an 8-0 run, as the Buckeyes failed to score for 6:09 until Kaleb Wesson hit a pair of free throws with less than two and a half minutes remaining.
On the night, Maryland shot 58.1 percent (25-43) from the floor, but they actually shot better from beyond the arc at 64.7 percent (11-17). The Buckeyes on the other hand were just 23-59 (39%), including 6-26 (23.1%) from deep. In the first half, the Buckeyes were able to stay in contention because they went 9-for-12 from the free throw line, but after halftime, they only got to the charity stripe twice, with Kaleb Wesson hitting both attempts.
Despite the fact that the Buckeyes turned the Terps over 19 times (including 13 in the second half), the home team couldn’t keep the game close. They did finish with 18 points off turnovers, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
The Buckeyes will be back in action on Wednesday, Jan. 23 as they host the Purdue Boilermakers. The game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.