(Photo courtesy the lantern.com. Game information courtesy OhioStateBuckeyes.com, ESPN.com)

Ohio State  (13-10, 4-6) was much more energetic than their previous game against Iowa. Although the level of play was spotty, this marks the 3rd of their last 4 games where I think they played with more intensity. Unfortunately, they came up a bit short against Maryland (20-2, 8-1), 77-71.

In JC’s preview he felt that Ohio State could win this game and to keep an eye on the play of Maryland’s Kevin Huerter. Ohio State almost won, they were as close as 1 point with 3:35 to play, and Kevin Heurter had a solid stat line; 9 points, 4 assists, 4 blocks and 3 rebounds.

This was really a heart-breaking loss for the Buckeyes. This was, although not necessarily played at a high level, an entertaining game.  When you compare the box scores, it’s very difficult to point to any one area and say “Aha, this is it!” in terms of what contributed to the loss. It was just numerous little things. I guess that’s progress. Somewhat.

There were 6 lead changes in the game, all in the first half. Although Maryland held the lead the entire second half, Ohio State made several runs to pull within one point. At the 2:35 mark, two C.J. Jackson free throws pulled OSU to within 1 point, 69-70. At the 1:46 mark, a Marc Loving basket pulled OSU to within 2 points, 71-73, but the Buckeyes (3 missed FG’s, 1 missed FT , 1 turnover) would not score the rest of the game. Melo Trimble, of course, would close out the game scoring with a field goal and two free throws to account for the final margin.

In the second half, Ohio State closed the gap to 1 point on four occasions, but could not tie nor take the lead. Also, at four different times, the Buckeyes were down by 10 points in the second half, but persistently closed the gap, but not completely.

The Buckeyes had three players score in double figures;  Jae’Sean Tate (20 points), Marc Loving (18) and Kam Williams (10). Loving led the team in rebounding with 5, 3 of them offensive rebounds.

The Terrapins also had three players in double figures; Justin Jackson (22 points), Melo Trimble (13) and Antony Cowan (11). Jackson earned a double-double by leading the team in rebounds with 12, 5 of them offensive.

Thoughts and opinions…

  • The first half defense (42) points appeared to be a continuation of the Iowa debacle. Things stabilized a bit in the 2nd half (35 points), but there is still some work to do. This is the 3rd consecutive game where every opponent who played scored at least 1 point.
  • Speaking of defense, Lyle has really turned into a defensive liability. His man is seemingly having little problem getting around him, which creates a couple different issues for the OSU defense. If the defense doesn’t rotate to help on the “free” man, the opponent has a layup. If the defense does somewhat properly rotate to pick up JaQuan’s man, that opens up an opponent for a quick dump off and layup. It all starts with on-ball defense.
  • Trevor Thompson did not start this game. Evidently, Thad was in “send a message’ mode. It seemed to work; in 21 minutes of play, Trevor had 9 points and 9 rebounds, 3 of them offensive. His production of .43 points and rebounds per minute were about average for his season production.
  • Jae’Sean Tate and Kam Williams were energetic and effective. In the first half, they combined for 21 points (7-12 shooting). They were the straws that stirred whatever Ohio State was drinking.  I hope this rubs off on their team mates.
  • In contrast, Marc Loving and JaQuan Lyle were not very good in the first half. They combined for 4 field goals and 6 turnovers and no rebounds. In the send half, Loving had 4 baskets, 5 rebounds and only 1 turnover. A completely different performance. This is what frustrates me about Loving’s play – the inconsistency, which we shouldn’t be seeing in a Senior.
  • Despite both teams having 12 offensive rebounds each, Maryland outscored Ohio State  14-8 on ‘second chance points’. Ironically, this was the margin of victory. Just a little bit more efficiency could have made a difference.

This was another “good effort” game by the Buckeyes, and with much better results than their previous game. The Buckeyes have eight more remaining games in the regular season. The Big Ten Tournament is March 8-12. For Ohio State to bet to the NCAA’s, they need to win the tournament, an event that TeamTankings.com gives them a 1% chance to do. So, you’re schedule should be free around the Ides of March, if you’re looking for something to do..

Up Next

The Buckeyes travel to Ann Arbor to play Michigan (14-8, 4-5) Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00 pm EST. The game can be seen on ESPN2 and/or you can listen to it on 97.1. I golf with John Beilein’s brother-in-law, so for the love of James Naismith, please win this one Thad.