Maryland men’s basketball’s road woes strike once again, fall to Ohio State

Photo by Maryland Athletics

Jahmir Young crossed up two Buckeyes before driving hard towards the basket. Going up for the layup, he found the ball swatted away by Felix Okpara, who was waiting underneath the net. Young struggled, and so did Maryland, as they were bested on the road once again.

After winning their 10th and final in-conference matchup at Xfinity Center, the No. 21 Maryland Terrapins traveled to Columbus on Wednesday night to challenge the 12-17 Ohio State Buckeyes (4-14 in Big Ten). 

Since Maryland last defeated Ohio State in College Park two months ago, Ohio State has gone on to win just two of its 15 most recent games. With the Terps marching into enemy territory this time around, the Buckeyes fought hard to establish a winning streak after defeating Illinois at home on Sunday, 72-60.

With Maryland continuing to show its struggle on the road, the Terps fell short, losing to the Buckeyes, 73-62.

Ohio State ensured that it would not miss any baskets on its first few possessions, establishing a 12-0 run in the first five minutes and forcing a timeout from head coach Kevin Willard.

“We came out and got a good bucket, but then just did some things early on in the game that make you scratch your head. This was disappointing,” Coach Willard said.

As Maryland desperately tried to start making baskets, Ohio State forced  turnovers, scoring three baskets off of stolen possessions in the first eight minutes. In his frustration, Willard drew a technical foul from the sideline, giving the Buckeyes a pair of free throw shots to slow any momentum Maryland may have had to start the game.

The Buckeyes allowed Maryland some time to catch up midway through the half, drawing their seventh personal foul with about nine minutes left to play. Julian Reese brought the Terps within five points with baskets on two straight possessions, but Ohio State kept pushing.

With just under five minutes to play, Donta Scott knocked down a three-pointer from the top of the arc, bringing Ohio State’s lead down to just four points and forcing a timeout from head coach Chris Holtmann.

A foul shot from Julian Reese brought the score to 29-35 just before the first half expired.

“We didn’t get [to the free throw line] enough. I think that’s something that’s been a big part of our road problem, the free throw disparity has been crazy on the road,” Coach Willard said post-game.

The leaders for Maryland at half were Reese (eight points, six rebounds), Young (seven points, two rebounds), and Scott (seven points, two rebounds). The Terps finished the half shooting slightly better than the Buckeyes, with a field goal percentage of 55%.

Maryland notched four personal fouls just four minutes into the second period, allowing Ohio State to take advantage of its free throw shots and pull ahead by 13 points.

Ian Martinez proved vital to Maryland’s offense in the final half. Knocking down two three-pointers and a jumper in the first eight minutes, Martinez scored eight of Maryland’s 12 points in that time frame.

Midway through the period, Don Carey drained a deep three-pointer from the top of the arc to finally bring Maryland within less than 10 points to win. Soon after, Donta Scott earned his fourth personal foul of the night, sending himself to the bench before possibly fouling out.

Three minutes later, Ohio State’s Isaac Likekele exited the game after his fifth foul. He finished with 11 points and four assists.

Willard called his final timeout with just under five minutes left to play, sending in Scott to finish the game. The Terps trailed by 12, needing a big push to somehow take the lead for the first time since tipoff. 

A foul from Sean McNeil put Carey on the free-throw line with a minute and a half left. Carey drained both shots, narrowing the Buckeyes’ lead by just seven points.

Maryland failed to draw any closer, trailing by 11 when time expired. The Terps only led for 46 seconds of the entire game.

The leading Terps were Reese (17 points, 12 rebounds), Carey (14 points), Young (nine points, three rebounds), and Scott (nine points, three rebounds).

“We gotta play better when the crowds affect us. Crowds have affected us a little bit. When teams are going on runs, we are rushing on offense and it’s hurting us,” Coach Willard said.