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Ohio State drops competitive contest against Maryland, 72-62

C.J. Jackson being injured hurt the Buckeyes throughout, but a number of players stepped up when needed.

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday afternoon, the Ohio State Buckeyes fell on the road against the No. 24 Maryland Terrapins, 72-62, behind a 19-point effort from the Terps’ Anthony Cowan. With the win, UMD completes the regular-season sweep of the Bucks, and sends the Scarlet and Gray deeper into the NCAA Tournament bubble, if not off of it.

Before the game even tipped off, OSU was behind the eight ball; senior guard C.J. Jackson, the Buckeyes’ second-leading scorer, was ruled out with a shoulder injury.

In his absence, Keyshawn Woods, Justin Ahrens and Musa Jallow handled the majority of the backcourt duties. Woods saw 35 minutes on the floor and ended the game with 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting. Jallow had two points and saw 10 minutes of game action at the Xfinity Center in College Park, Md. Ahrens, Andre Wesson and Kaleb Wesson joined Woods and Jallow in the starting five.

Leading the way for OSU on the scoring front was Duane Washington Jr. Shooting 5-of-10 from the floor, Washington netted 15 points in addition three rebounds and four assists.

Not too far behind Washington was Andre Wesson, the third and final Buckeye that scored in double figures against the Terps. The elder Wesson netted 13 points, making 3-of-6 shots from downtown.

Ahrens, who made his first career start, made all nine of his points from beyond the arc. He ended the game 3-of-5 from three-point distance, and collected four boards.

On the boards, OSU was led by Kaleb Wesson. In addition to seven rebounds, Kaleb had seven points and only one personal foul. This was one of Kaleb’s tougher days from the field, as he went 3-of-12 overall and 1-of-5 from three range.

Maryland got points from all over. Four players hit double figures, with Darryl Morsell (11), Bruno Fernando (14) and Serrel Smith Jr. (14) trailing the team leading efforts of Cowan.

After being held to zero points in the first half, Fernando exploded for all 14 of his points in the second half—and was the difference maker late. He ended the game with a team leading 10 rebounds, achieving double-double status.

Fifteen turnovers by the No. 24 team in the country made things interesting, as the Buckeyes were able to cash those mistakes in for 13 points. On the other end, OSU turned the ball over seven times, with four of them occurring in the second half. Luther Muhammad (3) and Ahrens (2) were the only Buckeyes to have multiple turnovers on Saturday. For the game, though, Cowan and Smith Jr. had the most turnovers with four apiece.

Let’s take a look at how this one went down.

Both teams began the game on cold stretches. OSU opened up 2-of-7 from the floor, while the Terps were 1-of-4 at the first media timeout with 15:42 remaining.

After the first break in action, things began to pick up. Luther Muhammad and Andre Wesson hit threes, as did UMD’s Anthony Cowan and Aaron Wiggins. At the second media timeout at 11:52, things were all squared at 12-12. In comparison, media break No. 1 had a score of 4-2 in favor of the Buckeyes.

After buckets by both sides, OSU went cold. Over two minutes of a scoreless drought, Chris Holtmann burned a timeout. In that span, though, the Terrapins began to pull away. Layups by Darryl Morsell Cowan, combined with fast-break points from Aaron Wiggins were all part of a surge that put UMD up eight.

The tide would turn back, however, as Maryland turnovers (and some made Buckeye shots) put OSU back on the map. Woods took a layup uncontested after a steal, and later buried a three. Duane Washington Jr. connected on a jumper and a pair of layups. With the gap closed to two, Serrel Smith Jr. paced the Terps back up five after making a three and a pair of free throws. At halftime, Maryland would hold a five-point advantage with a 33-28 score.

From a percentage standpoint, Ohio State was outshot in the first 20 minutes in College Park. OSU was 11-of-29 from the field, with a 4-of-12 mark from three-point distance; UMD was 13-of-24, and had a 4-of-11 clip from downtown.

Woods was the early scoring leader in the clubhouse for OSU, reaching 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting. On the other side of the equation, Cowan led his team with 10 points at the break. Bruno Fernando, one of Maryland’s star players, was held to zero points and four rebounds.

Maryland was also outmuscling the Bucks on the boards. The Terps had a 19-11 advantage in rebounds, and held a commanding 16-8 lead on defensive boards. Morsell led the home team with six, while Ahrens led OSU with three.

A place that OSU did hold an advantage was in the turnover column. As a team, only three first half TOs were committed by the Bucks, with all three coming from Muhammad. Maryland coughed the ball up eight times, with Morsell, Cowan and Jalen Smith having two apiece.

With OSU winning the opening tip, UMD got the ball to begin the second half. Fernando finally got on the board with his first two points after a hook-shot under the basket against Kaleb Wesson. On the ensuing Buckeye possession, Andre knocked down a three from the near wing. Following an Ahrens travel, Cowan hit a jumper; then Ahrens committed another turnover (a backcourt violation) after slipping on a drive, and in an attempt to get the ball to someone, threw it to a Buckeye on the other side of the court.

Fernando cashed that turnover into another made basket, but Kaleb Wesson was able to counter with a three. Wiggins then committed a turnover (thanks to a Woods steal), leading to an Andre Wesson reverse dunk.

Ahrens’ rough start to the half continued, as he fouled Fernando on a layup; that layup bounced around before going down— giving UMD a five-point, 41-36, lead at the under-16 media timeout.

From here, things went bad for the Buckeyes. Holtmann’s squad went over five minutes without a point, and Maryland mounted an 11-0 run. The Buckeyes missed nine-straight attempts from the field and had two turnovers in the first nine minutes of action after halftime. Inside, Fernando was making layups and winning the battle against Kaleb Wesson; Cowan beat the Buckeyes beyond the arc on a fast-break, in addition to making making a shot inside and a pair of free throws.

Washington broke up the cold slump with a driving layup that kissed the glass. After a missed three by Smith, Andre dished the ball to his brother for a layup. Even with these flurry of points, OSU trailed UMD 53-40 with a tad over nine minutes remaining.

The Buckeyes would get within 10 after Ahrens swished a three from dead-center. Maryland, who lead by as many as 16, began to go cold from the field, just in time for the Buckeyes to mount a comeback. For over 2:30, the Terps didn’t make a shot — and combined with offensive fouls/turnovers, gave the Buckeyes some breathing room.

Kyle Young then got in on the scoring action with a hoop and harm, after he was fouled by Ricky Lindo. Now within eight, Morsell bailed the Terps out of their cold stretch with a three. Conversely, Washington hit back-to-back triples to get OSU within five, 57-52. This 6-0 run in less than 40 seconds by Washington led to Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon calling a timeout to calm his team down.

The Buckeyes would get even closer after Ahrens, off of a slip screen, nailed a corner three to make the Terp advantage 57-55. However, on the following UMD possession, Ahrens fouled Smith on a three-point attempt. Smith would make all three freebies — and bring the Terps back up to a five-point lead.

Morsell then intercepted a Washington pass on the perimeter, and drew contact on the fast-break. Washington picked up his fourth foul, as Morsell got the Terps back up by even more after making both shots from the charity stripe. Ohio State’s next trip up the floor ended in a turnover as well, with Andre losing possession of the ball on a corner three. While it appeared he was hit on the shot attempt, the refs disagreed and gave the ball back to Maryland.

The elder Wesson’s mistake didn’t amount to much, as Fernando traveled with the ball on the ensuing possession. Fernando’s walk brought us to the final media timeout of the game with 3:43 left, and a seven point, 62-55, UMD lead.

Off the break, Woods was given the rock just inside the three-point line. His shot rattled in and out, and on the opposite end, a second-chance opportunity for the Terps led to Wiggins slamming the ball home with a virtually uncontested lane. The momentum would be brief, as Ahrens connected with a rebuttal three — shushing the crowd in the process, literally with a finger to the mouth.

Fernando, though, kept the Terps safely in the lead. Following the Ahrens trifecta, the Terp backed down on Kaleb Wesson; with the shot clock nearly expiring, he put a layup over the Buckeye big man. Missed shots in the following possessions by Muhammad and Woods wrapped it up, as the Terps were able to hold off the Bucks at the Xfinity Center.

Up next for the Buckeyes will be the Iowa Hawkeyes. The game will be on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. ET, and will be broadcast on BTN. Earlier this season, the Bucks lost to Iowa 72-62 on the road, and look to get redemption at Value City Arena.