Ohio State Drops 2nd Straight, Falling to Maryland in College Park

24th ranked Ohio State fell behind 14 midway through the second half, battled back to get within 3, but could not get any closer, falling on the road to Maryland 80-73 to drop to 10-5 and 2-2 in conference. With the win, Maryland snaps a two game losing streak to move to 11-5 and 2-3 in the Big Ten.  Maryland utilized a 20-4 early second half scoring run, turning around a 5 point Ohio State lead into a 14 point deficit, one they could just not quite overcome. Ohio State, playing without the services of Zed Key, out with a shoulder injury, missed the big man in a major way, struggling to get any defense in the paint, allowing Maryland to drive to the bucket all day long. The slow defensive rotations inside put Maryland on the stripe 33 times, limiting Ohio State’s physicality, and to their credit, they made 27 of them, leading to the Terrapin victory. Ohio State shot 44% on the day, hitting 9 of 19 three point attempts, while Maryland hit on 46% of their shots, including just 5 of 13 from deep and outrebounded the Buckeyes 40-26, while dominating the paint to the tune of a 34-22 scoring edge. Ohio State was led by a career high 22 from Brice Sensabaugh before he fouled out late in the game, while Justice Sueing added 21. Maryland put 5 guys in double figures, led by Jahmir Young’s 30. 

Ohio State got off to a little bit of a slow start, missing their first three shot attempts, and Maryland took a 2-0 lead. Sean McNeil broke the scoreless streak, drilling a three from the right wing and for a couple minutes, it became a three point shooting contest. Maryland drilled a pair as did Ohio State, with the Buckeyes triples coming from Brice Sensabaugh and McNeil. Justice Sueing hit a turnaround fade along the left baseline to put Ohio State up 3 before a Terp bucket cut into the lead and at the first media timeout, Ohio State led 11-10. Out of the timeout, Sueing split a pair of free throws to put Ohio State up two, but a 9-2 Terp run put Maryland up 5. Ice Likekele lobbed high in the post to Felix Okpara for a dunk to stop the run and at the under 12 timeout, Ohio State trailed Maryland 19-16. The tempo early favored Maryland who was forcing the issue with full court pressure and speeding up the Ohio State offense and taking them out of rhythm in the halfcourt. A 5-0 Maryland run put the Terps up 7, but a Sueing jumper to the right of the stripe cut the lead to 5. Sensabaugh took an iso dribble on the left side and got to the rim for two to get the Buckeyes a little closer and following a Maryland turnover, Bruce Thornton drilled a right corner three and at the under 8 media timeout, Ohio State was on a 7-0 run and the score was tied at 23. Maryland knocked down a pair of free throws out of the timeout, stopping a 3:17 scoring drought and breaking the tie and following a Buckeye turnover, Maryland drilled another pair of free throws to increase the Terp advantage. Ohio State got within one when Gene Brown hit a three from the top. Maryland knocked down 2 of 4 free throws on the same possession to ahead 3 and after a Buckeye miss, a second chance opportunity led to another Terp hoop and Ohio State took a timeout with 3:47 remaining and Maryland leading 31-26 as Ohio State, already down Zed Key to injury was without Felix Okpara as well with 3 fouls and struggling in the paint defensively. Tanner Holden stopped the Terp 5-0 run, hitting a pair of free throws and after a Maryland turnover, Sensabaugh hit a three and Maryland called a quick timeout with the score tied at 31. Out of the timeout, Ohio State forced another turnover and in transition, off a Sensabaugh miss, Sueing followed with a two and the Buckeyes went back in front. Two Maryland free throws re-tied the score, but Ohio State answered with two Sueing freebies. Maryland split a pair of free throws to cut the Buckeye lead to 1, but an acrobatic score by Sueing at the rim and a pair of Sensabaugh free throws put Ohio State on top 5. Tremendous half court defense on Maryland’s last possession led to a big stop and a Sueing triple attempt at the horn clanged off target and at the half, Ohio State led 39-34. It was a half that lacked any continuity or rhythm thanks to the ‘wonderful’ Big Ten officiating, who whistled the teams for a combined 21 fouls and 3 technicals and included 26 attempted free throws combined, with Ohio State hitting 9 of 11 and Maryland making 11 of 15. Ohio State hit 41% of their shots from the field, including 6 of 11 from beyond the arc, while holding the Terps to just 34% and 3 of 8 from deep. Ohio State forced 7 turnovers, while turning it over 4 times themselves. Playing almost exclusively with Eugene Brown at the 5, the smaller Buckeyes lost the rebounding edge to Maryland by a 24-16 count, including a 9-3 offensive rebound deficit. Justice Sueing and Brice Sensabaugh led Ohio State with 11 and 10 points each, while Maryland was led by Jahmir Young’s 13. 

A terrible start to the second half for Ohio State, turning it over 5 times in their first 6 possessions and going scoreless on 0-5 shooting, over the first 4 ½ minutes as Maryland took advantage, going on a 12-0 half opening run to take a 46-39 lead before Ohio State called a timeout with 15:36 to go in the game. Another Maryland bucket up 9, but finally Ohio State got on the board as Likekele made a put back following an offensive rebound. Maryland went on a 4-0 run to go up 13 before Sensabaugh got to the rim for two. Two Terp buckets sandwiched around a Sensabaugh deuce forced Chris Holtmann to take another timeout as the Buckeyes trailed Maryland 56-45 as the Terps had outscored Ohio State 22-6 in the first 8 minutes of the second half. Holden split a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to 10, but a pair of Maryland free throws put the Terps back up 12. After a Buckeye turnover, a Maryland score, they got a little mouthy, leading to a technical and Thornton bagged both free throws. On the ensuing possession, the Buckeyes beat the zone press, as Sueing got to the rim for two. After a Terp turnover, Sueing drilled a three, cutting the lead to 7 and at the under 8 media timeout, Ohio State was on a 7-0 run, but still trailing 60-53. Another Terp turnover led to a breakout by Sensabaugh who scored at the rim to get to within 5, but a pair of Terp free throws stopped the 9-0 Buckeye run and put Maryland back ahead by 7. A jumper and a pair of free throws by Sensabaugh trimmed the deficit to 3 but a pair of Terp freebies after a late foul call put Maryland back up 5. Two more Sensabaugh free throws cut back into the lead, but an old-fashioned three point play on the other end had the Buckeyes down 6 with 5 minutes to play. Sueing scored on the other end on a dribble drive and Chris Holtmann took a timeout with Maryland leading 67-63 and 4:29 to play. Maryland extended the lead at the stripe, bagging two more to go up 6.  Roddy Gayle’s triple from the left wing cut the deficit to 3, but a near steal turned into an easy deuce for Maryland. Gayle’s leaner cut the lead back to 3 with 2:30 to play. Back at the line again, Maryland made one of two before a Buckeye turnover gave the ball right back to Maryland and the Terps took a timeout leading 72-68 with 1:29 to play. A Terp bucket off the bounce and two more freebies put the Terps up 8 before Thornton scored at the rim. Two more Terps free throws followed by a Sueing triple cut the lead to 5 but with just 15 seconds remaining. A backcourt foul sent Maryland back to the stripe yet again and they made both that finished the scoring and the Maryland win.

A tough one for Ohio State. Losing Zed Key is so critical to the success of this basketball team. Without him, they have no post presence on the offensive end especially, and in this game, the Terps exploited the Ohio State defense in the paint as well. The Terps sped up Ohio State all day long with backcourt pressure and the constant foul calls kept the Buckeyes from getting into any rhythm from the jump. The Ohio State defense got exploited especially early in the second half without the inside presence. Gene Brown played the 5 for much of the game as Felix Okpara just struggled with Maryland’s athleticism and it made it very difficult on the glass. This is my opinion only, but people need to be a little patient with this team. The talent and depth is there. They have the right coach, despite what the vocal minority will say again. It’s a broken record out there with the Holtmann haters and it’s a big reason why this writer avoids social media like the plague. True basketball people understand how good he really is. The one thing holding this team back right now is health and experience. Playing games will get them experience and the sooner they can get Key back, the better.  Fortunately it’s not a serious injury and he should return within a week or so. Stay with them, they will reward you for it by March.

The Buckeyes tip it up again on Thursday evening in the Schott, hosting Minnesota at 6:30 PM and televised on FS1.

-Jason Harris

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