By: Eddie Hobbs
After getting dominated by No. 1 Michigan State last Thursday 91-61, the Terps needed to recollect themselves against Iowa. Maryland was able to grab control of the game late and scored 56 points in the paint, en route to a 91-73 victory. The win showed that this young Maryland team has the attitude it takes to bounce back from a tough loss and can regain its composure.
While the confidence is high in College Park, the Terps await an Ohio State team that has just beaten Michigan State, a team that Maryland struggled to contain just a week ago.
Maryland must travel to Columbus, Ohio without one of its best producers off the bench in Dion Wiley, who suffered a concussion against Iowa. With Wiley’s injury, the Terps are now left with just eight scholarship players.
“The bad thing is Dion just probably played his best game of the year in the first half [against Iowa],” head coach Mark Turgeon said. “He was defending, he was making shots, and he was making us hard to guard… It’s just another setback for him, which is disappointing, because we need him.”
The injury bug has not been kind to any Maryland team this year, but it has struck yet another player on the men’s basketball team. The Terps are already without Justin Jackson and Ivan Bender, but now must face more adversity with Wiley being out.
The 6-foot-4 guard out of Oxon Hill, Maryland, has been averaging 20 minutes per game on 45 percent shooting from the field and 40 percent from the three-point arc.
The slew of injuries means that other players will have more opportunities to play, and Turgeon noted how Sean Obi and Justin Tomaic will get more playing time than usual.
Obi got extended minutes against Michigan State due to Maryland’s foul trouble, but only grabbed two rebounds and attempted no shots in 16 minutes of play.
Tomaic didn’t get any playing time against Michigan State, but played a big part in the second half of the Iowa game. The redshirt sophomore went 3-for-3 from the floor while grabbing four rebounds in 11 minutes of play.
Ohio State is having a bounce back year after finishing 17-15, and 7-11 in the Big Ten last season. The Buckeyes are now ranked first in the conference, and have been riding the wave of the redshirt junior Keita Bates-Diop, who is averaging 20 points per game on 52 percent shooting from the field and 39 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
“Diop and I think [Jae’sean] Tate both present kind of matchup problems,” sophomore guard Kevin Huerter said. “Tate is really a four playing the three and Diop is really a three playing a four. And so, they both present their own matchup problems.”
Jae’sean Tate is another Ohio State player who is stepping up for the team, the senior is helping Ohio State by providing tough play inside the paint. This sort of flexibility for the Buckeyes can create problems for the Terps.
Maryland has had the pleasure of playing at home in eight of its last 10 games at the Xfinity Center and in order to go into Ohio State and defeat the Buckeyes, the Terps must stick to limiting Ohio State offensively in order to come out with a victory.
“As long as we go in there and play hard and like I said, play well defensively we think we can play with them,” Huerter said.