(Game information courtesy OhioStateBuckeyes.com, ESPN.com)

Ohio State (15-11, 5-8) played a tenacious, more efficient second half against Maryland, but it just fell short of climbing out of the pit they dug for themselves in the first half. They couldn’t overcome poor first half shooting, playing wit a too short bench and, I think, some iffy officiating.. They came up a bit short against Maryland (21-4, 9-3), 86-77.

Ohio State was running a bit short-handed against Maryland. Per Bucknuts, neither Kieta Bates-Diop nor JaQuan Lyle made the trip to College Park, both due to family emergencies. In terms of game availability, KBD’s  wasn’t a factor, because he had already been sidelined for the season due to his injury. JaQuan’s was a factor, since it forced Thad to re-juggle his rotation.

The real concern here is that the Bates-Diop and Lyle families fully recover their health. After all, in the Grand Scheme of Things, basketball is just a game.

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 four players score in double figures; Marc Loving (24 pts – season high),  Jae’Sean Tate (20 points), CJ Jackson (13) and Trevor Thompson (11). Thompson had a game high 10 rebounds for, I believe, his third consecutive double-double. Interestingly, when these teams played in Columbus two weeks ago,  Jae’Sean Tate also scored 20 points.

The Terrapins also had four players in double figures; Anthony Cowan (19), Kevin Huerter (18), Jaylen Brantley (11) and Melo Trimble (10). Justin Jackson led the Terps in rebounding with 7.

Thoughts and opinions…

  • Fortunately for Ohio State, they were perfect from the free throw line on the first half (6-6). Their field goal shooting was dreadful; as in “can’t hit broadside of a barn” dreadful. They were 10-28 from the field. Ugh.
  • Their early efforts sort of set the tone for the first half. In their first possession, they went; missed layup-rebound-missed layup-rebound-missed layup-rebound-missed jumper. All in a span of 30 seconds.
  • Incredibly, two minutes later, they repeated the sequence. Within the first four minutes of the game they went 4 missed shots, turnover, four missed shots. Good god. March Loving broke the scoring ice at the 15:19 mark with 2 free throws and a minute later scored OSU’s first field goal of the game.
  • To the Buckeyes’ credit, they looked like a completely different team in the 2nd half. They scored 46 points on 17-28 (61% shooting) and were still a respectable 76% (6-9) from the foul line. Loving and Tate took the offensive mantle by combining for 29 points – nearly matching the team’s 1st half output.
  • Sticking with offense for a bit, despite coming off a great game against Rutgers, I don’t think that Kam Williams had a very good game. He scored 9 points (4-11) and had 3 turnovers. He looked off balance shooting. Instead of jumping straight up on his jump shots, he seemed to be drifting to one side or the other. It’s hard to zero in when your moving in several directions at once.
  • The Maryland offense was well designed and executed against Ohio State. There seemed to be a fluid off-ball movement that enabled the Terps to get good spacing and to get open. Noticeably, they seemed to target Micah Potter. He would get screened, lose his man, and give up layups. This occurred three, maybe four times, if I recall correctly. Aside from the play design, Micah needs to earn to anticipate these screens and his team mates need to communicate better.
  • Ball security plagued the Buckeyes. They had 14 turnovers versus 8 for Maryland. The Terps outscored OSU 19-8 in ‘points off turnovers’. The difference was 13-5 in the 1st half.

The Buckeyes are down to 5 remaining games in the regular season. They are all going to be challenging match-ups. Let’s see a strong finish and maybe make some impact in the Big Ten tournament..

Up Next

The Buckeyes travel to East Lansing to play Michigan State  (15-10, 7-5) on Tuesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 9:00 pm EST. The game can be seen on ESPN and/or you can listen to it on 97.1.