Ohio State Upsets #21 Maryland to win 2nd Straight
Ohio State took a lead with a Justice Sueing triple just over 2 minutes into the game and never trailed again, leading for the final 37:55 to upset visiting 21st ranked Maryland 73-62 for their second straight win. Ohio State, who knocked down all 20 of their free throws, out rebounded the Terrapins 32-24, 9 of the offensive variety leading to 18 second chance points. Ohio State shot it at a 48% clip for the game, while holding Maryland to 44%. The Terps drilled 7 of 19 from beyond the arc, while the Buckeyes hit 5 of 14 from deep. Six Buckeyes scored in double figures, led by Justice Sueing’s 16 and 6 rebounds. Felix Okpara finished off his best game as a Buckeye, completing the double-double, scoring 12 to go along with 12 rebounds. Brice Sensabaugh added 12 and 7, while Ice Likekele added 11 and Bruce Thornton and Sean McNeil added 10 each. Maryland was led by Julian Reese’s 17 and Don Carey’s 14.
A pair of Maryland buckets sandwiched an excellent interior pass from Ice Likekele to Felix Okpara for a dunk and the Terps held the early lead. A triple by Justice Sueing from the left wing put Ohio State in front and they weren’t done. Sean McNeil drilled a three from almost the same spot and on the next possession, Okpara tipped in a Sueing miss. A pair of Likekele buckets, the latter in transition off a Maryland miss and the Buckeyes were on a 12-0 run forcing the Terps to take timeout 4 ½ minutes in with Ohio State leading 14-4. Out of the timeout a 5-0 Terp run cut the lead in half but a McNeil stopped the run with a short jumper in the paint. After a technical foul on the Maryland head coach Kevin Willard, McNeil drilled both free throws and at the under 12 media timeout, Ohio State led 18-9. Maryland cut into the Ohio State lead with a 4-0 run before Likekele lobbed to Okpara for two breaking a 4 plus minute Buckeye scoring drought. After a Maryland score, Likekele scored mid lane with a short jumper and on the other end, grabbed a steal of a crosscourt pass and took it coast to coast for a lay in while being fouled and at the under 8, Ohio State led 24-15. Out of the timeout, Likekele completed the old fashioned three point play to extend the lead to 10. Maryland answered with a 6-0 run to trim the lead to 4, forcing Ohio State to take a 30 second timeout at the 4:46 mark. Brice Sensabaugh stopped the run with a short runner in the paint and after a defensive stop, Sensabaugh working on the right baseline, kicked to Thornton on the left point for three. Maryland answered with a three of their own, but back came Sensabaugh, drilling a baseline J. A Maryland score due to a goaltending violation on Okpara preceded the final media timeout and with 2:25 to play in the first half, Ohio State was on top 32-26. A right corner triple by McNeil increased the Buckeye lead to 9, but the Terps scored the next 3 to cut the lead to 6. Ohio State was unable to get a shot off before the halftime horn and at the half, the Buckeyes led Maryland 35-29. Both teams shot it at a good clip with Maryland hitting 55% and Ohio State hitting 54% of their chances. Maryland hit 3 of 8 from beyond the arc, while the Buckeyes hit 4 of their 7 attempts from long range. The Buckeyes scored 9 points off of 7 Terp turnovers, while turning it over just 5 times themselves, leading to just 4 Maryland points. The Buckeyes led the battle on the glass in the first 20 minutes, out rebounding Maryland 13-11. Sean McNeil led all scorers wih 10 first half points, while Ice Likekele added 9 to go along with 3 dimes. Felix Okpara also chipped in 6 points and 6 boards for Ohio State. Maryland was led by Jahmir Reese, who scored 8 while pulling down 6 rebounds.
Ohio State opened the second half scoring when Okpara followed his own miss with a bucket. After a pair of Terp free throws, Thornton drilled a jumper just above the stripe while being hit and banged down the ensuing free throw to complete the old fashioned three point play. Two Sueing free throws extended the Buckeye lead to 11 and capped a 7-2 Buckeye run. A Maryland dunk and after a Buckeye miss, Sensabaugh stole a pass and was hugged resulting in an intentional foul sending Brice to the stripe where he canned them both. The Buckeyes maintained possession and Sensabaugh drileld a baseline fade away forcing the Terps to call timeout with 15:56 to play and the Buckeyes leading 46-33. After a Terp deuce, a no look Likekele pass found Eugene Brown streaking to the cup for two to answer. After a Maryland triple, Sueing bagged a pair of freebies and the Buckeyes led by 12. Another Maryland three trimmed the lead to 9 and at the under 12 timeout, Ohio State was leading 50-41. Out of the timeout, Likekele banged down a pair of free throws to extend the lead back to 11. After Maryland split a pair of free throws, Sensabaugh followed his own miss for two. A long Terp triple and some questionable calls against the Buckeyes drawing the ire of the bench and the home crowd and Ohio State regained possession in the front court and Chris Holtmann called a timeout with 8:26 to play and the Buckeyes leading 54-45. On the Ohio State offensive set out of the timeout, Okpara grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled on the put back attempt. He dropped in both to extend the lead to 11 but a defensive breakdown led to an uncontested Terp dunk to answer. Thornton’s runner was followed by a Terp putback keeping the lead at 9. After a Buckeye turnover, Ice Likekele took a final farewell to the home crowd, fouling out at the 6:33 mark with 11 points. Maryland split the free throws trimming the lead to 8. Facing backcourt pressure, a loose ball led to Sensabaugh lobbing to Okpara for a dunk. Maryland scored quickly and then took a timeout with 6 minutes to play and Ohio State leading 60-52. A rebound and put back by Sueing extended the lead and after an Okpara block, Thornton banked in a runner forcing the Terps to call their final timeout with 4:34 left in the game and Ohio State leading 64-52. Okpara altered another Terp shot, forcing a miss and Ohio State took advantage as Sueing buried a triple from the left wing. Maryland dropped in a jumper to stop the 7-0 Buckeye run, but with less than 3 to play, Ohio State led by 13. The Terps scored the next 6 to trim the lead to 7 with 1:34 to play and the Buckeyes used nearly the entire 30 second shot clock before Sueing was fouled. Justice knocked down two and with just over a minute to play, the Buckeyes were firmly in control, up 9. After a Terp miss, Sensabaugh collected the rebound and was promptly fouled and the teams walked to the other end for the double bonus. He buried both to extend the lead Another miss by Maryland and in the frontcourt, Sueing was fouled sending him to the stripe where he made both to put the exclamation point on the Buckeye win. A pair of Terp free throws capped the scoring and the Buckeyes sent the seniors out the right way.
What a pair of back to back ballgames by Ohio State. The freshmen are growing up before our eyes and although its likely too late to salvage this season barring an improbable 5 game run in the Big Ten Tournament, next year could be very exciting. The youth is developing and although their confidence was shaken for a long stretch, they never stopped grinding and the effort paid off in the final two home games of the year. If that doesn’t say a lot about the heart of the players and the resilience of the coaching staff, I don’t know what does. Chris Holtmann is absolutely the right guy to lead this program and with the talent coming in next year and the experience gained this year, look out for the Buckeyes in 23-24. For now, one big thank you to the outgoing seniors, Justice Sueing, Isaac Likekele and Sean McNeil. Thank you for representing Ohio State in a first class way. You are all Buckeyes for life.
Ohio State tips it up one last time in the regular season, facing Michigan State in East Lansing on Saturday at Noon, airing on ESPN.