Jahmir Young’s 30 points brings Maryland back from the dead, knock off No. 24 Ohio State

Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Maryland men’s basketball performed its best in more than a month with an 80-73 thriller over Ohio State on Sunday afternoon, led by Jahmir Young’s 30 points, a season-high for the Terps. 

The Terps (11-5, 2-3 Big Ten), coming off two straight losses against Big Ten teams, looked to break through against a conference opponent for the first time since Dec. 2 against Illinois. They answered the call, gutting out one of their most impressive victories of the season. A 22-6 run early in the second half put the Terps in control, and they sealed the game with composure behind Young and Julian Reese.

“I was not worried we’d play bad offensively today,” Young said. “We’re home.”

Ohio State (10-4, 2-1 Big Ten) were coming off a loss of their own, falling in a 71-69 contest against Purdue, the best squad in the conference (14-1).

Fifth-year guard Don Carey joined the starters once more after acting as the sixth man in the Terps’ last game. Carey has turned in some of his best performances of the season as of late, memorably scoring a team-high 19 points against UMBC off the bench on Dec. 29. On Thursday against Rutgers, he went 4-8 from deep, again coming in with the reserves, and his shooting kept Maryland within arm’s reach of overtaking the Scarlet Knights before the Terps ultimately squandered their opportunities.

Both teams found their scoring stride early, a nice change of pace from the offensively challenged Maryland-Rutgers matchup a few days back. Ohio State led 11-10 through five minutes, while Maryland hit its first two threes, after missing their first 10 three days earlier.

Sophomore big man Julian Reese also started off aggressively, taking four shots in the first couple of minutes while wrapping up two quick rebounds in a short span. 

The Terps’ resistance to settling for threes was another factor for their success. They only took three in the first 10 minutes and made all of them. Playing with patience and penetrating from outside the confines of the perimeter helped keep the rolling Reese involved. 

Both teams’ shooting hit walls midway through the first half, as they combined for 2-17 throughout a grueling stretch in the final 10 minutes. Jahmir Young fought hard, getting inside and snagging rebounds, and his continuously getting to the line and capitalizing kept the Terps in the game.

Maryland got sloppy before halftime. Both teams fouled frequently enough to land in the bonus early, as they combined for 24 personal fouls. Turnovers plagued the Terps in the late going, as Ohio State registered four steals and took a 39-34 lead into halftime. 

The break couldn’t have come at a better time, as it stopped the Terps’ pungent 1-15 scoring drought from the field, quite a contrast from their opening stretch. Willard’s rotation of the starters, Ian Martinez, Jahari Long and Patrick Emilien was tighter than ever.

The Terps’ game perked up in the second half, and it started with their defense. They forced two traveling calls in a minute, on top of scoring on each of their first three attempts to take a 40-39 lead. Donta Scott and Don Carey hit back-to-back threes to keep the good times coming, banging out a 14-0 run while taking advantage of five turnovers through the first five minutes of the half.

Once the Buckeyes finally scored on an Isaac Likekele putback, the Terps stayed hot. Driving and attacking the basket, Maryland built a 22-6 run to push the lead to 56-45 after eight minutes.

Ohio State finally snapped out of its slump to score nine points in a row. Young once again stopped the bleeding, going hard at the rim to earn his 11th and 12th free throws of the game to put the lead at 62-55 with seven minutes left.

Both teams hit the bonus with five minutes remaining. Young frequently found himself doubled on offense down the stretch but continued to rack up trips to the free-throw line.

Ohio State hit three shots in a row to keep it tight in the closing minutes, but a costly turnover down four with under a minute left all but sealed it. Young slammed the door shut with one more pretty lay-in. The following free throws padded the 80-73 score.

He finished with 30 points and 11 rebounds, five of those on the offensive end. It was Maryland’s first 30-10 game since Greivis Vasquez in 2009—not bad for a 6’1 guard. All five starters finished with double-digit scoring. The team tried only 13 shots from behind the three-point line, a season-low by a sizable margin.

“I really liked the fact that we didn’t settle for threes,” Willard said. Young identified their strengths as “being able to get downhill, not being in a rush.” 

Rebounding was another key to this win. Not only did the Terps out-rebound the Buckeyes 40-26, they also wrangled in seven more offensive rebounds. Patrick Emilien, for one, played 20 minutes off the bench and grabbed four rebounds, all off the offensive boards.

A suddenly revamped Terps squad will wait a week to play, a road contest next Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.