The Washington Post
Terps’ Big Ten travels continue to be travails
columbus, ohio — Maryland has gone on the road and won against a Big Ten opponent only once this season, a defeat of lastplace Minnesota in early February.
Wednesday’s game at Value City Arena against 13th-place Ohio State presented a perfect opportunity for the No. 21 Terrapins to change their fortunes away from College Park. A 73-62 loss — in a game Maryland led for just 46 seconds — only underscored the Terps’ season-long struggles to win conference games on the road.
The loss left Maryland (20-10, 11-8) tied for third with Indiana, Iowa and Northwestern in a packed conference race. The Terps, who trail Purdue and Michigan, close out Big Ten play Saturday at Penn State with seeding at stake in next week’s conference tournament in Chicago.
The Buckeyes (13-17, 5-14) jumped out to an early 14-4 lead before Maryland Coach Kevin Willard called a timeout just over four minutes into the first half. During that stretch, the Terps missed three three-pointers and turned the ball over once; Ohio State scored at the other end each time, a trend that repeated itself throughout the night.
“Their defense initially was really good,” Willard said. “They were aggressive on [point guard] Jahmir [ Young]. We had some opportunities at the rim that we missed, and I thought [Ohio State] played very well.”
After Willard’s first timeout, sophomore forward Julian Reese broke the scoring drought and Young made Maryland’s first three on the next trip down the floor,
cutting the Buckeyes’ lead to five. Ohio State pushed its lead back to double figures midway through the first half, but the Terps didn’t let the Buckeyes pull away. Senior forward Donta Scott scored seven points in the final 4:49 of the first half, helping Maryland head to the locker room with only a 35-29 deficit.
Instead of poor shooting, which has doomed the Terps early in road games throughout the campaign, it was turnovers that limited them in the first half. They turned the ball over seven times and Ohio State scored nine points off those turnovers, compared with the four points Maryland scored off the Buckeyes’ five. The Terps cleaned up the turnovers in the second half and finished with 10 total, but that fix wasn’t enough.
Ohio State found its stride offensively after intermission, stretching its lead to 13 and forcing Willard into another early timeout. This time, the stoppage didn’t provide the reset Willard desired.
The issue was Maryland’s defense. The Terps simply couldn’t get the stops they needed.
Junior guard Ian Martinez, who entered the game averaging 5.8 points, scored eight straight points on two threes and a long jump shot, but Martinez’s efforts to keep the Terps within striking distance were to no avail. His second three got the lead back within single digits, but the Terps were unable to maintain any momentum.
Nearly every time the Terps cut into the Buckeyes’ lead, Ohio State answered with another basket. If the Buckeyes didn’t score, they came up with the stop that Maryland couldn’t.
With 1:34 left, Don Carey made two free throws to get within seven points, the closest the Terps had been since the beginning of the second half. But the glimmer of hope was quickly dashed as Ohio State calmly made six straight free throws down the stretch.
Reese led the Terps with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Carey finished with 14 points, including three three-pointers, as the only other player who scored in double figures for Maryland.
“Tonight was a little frustrating just because I didn’t think we played well,” Willard said. “We’ve played well on the road the last six games. We’ve given ourselves chances to win it or tie it. But give [Ohio State Coach] Chris [Holtmann] and his staff credit. I thought they played great. . . . Everyone’s got talent in this league. You have to be ready to play every game.”