Maryland secured a very good Big Ten home win on Tuesday night as the No. 12 Terrapins held off No. 11 Ohio State with a 67-55 victory.
Using stifling defense and balanced scoring, Maryland picked up what could be another quad one win while maintaining pace with the Big Ten’s top teams. Senior point guard Anthony Cowan Jr. paced the Terps with 20 points while soundly outplaying his Ohio State lead-guard counterparts.
Maryland (13-2, 3-1) also had 11 points from Jalen Smith and 10 points from Darryl Morsell. Six players for the Terps scored at least seven points each on a night where they didn’t need one player to take over. Coupled with the team’s impressive defense and it was a very strong win for Maryland.
Maryland did a strong job of defending on the interior. Smith and freshman Chol Marial were both capable of slowing down Ohio State big man Kaleb Wesson and limiting his touches. The Maryland defense dared Ohio State’s perimeter shooting to beat them.
The Buckeyes simply had no answer if the Wesson brothers weren’t creating inside.
Ohio State shot 18 percent (5-for-27) from three-point range with 14 turnovers. Kaleb (15 points) and Andre Wesson (14 points) were consistent offensive threats for Ohio State when they weren’t bogged down by a collapsing Maryland defense. Freshman point guard D.J. Carton also chipped in 14 points with some garbage-time buckets to offset an up-and-down night. Outside of them? Ohio State had next to nothing.
Missing Kyle Young (injury) and dealing with a sluggish C.J. Walker (illness), the Buckeyes weren’t close to full strength. It didn’t help that Luther Muhammad and Duane Washington Jr. also both had off-shooting games. Muhammad and Washington were a combined 0-for-11 from three-point range on Tuesday.
After looking like one of college basketball’s elite teams early in the season, Ohio State is struggling. They’ve gone from the No. 1 team in the country at 9-0 to now losing four of their last six games. And while you can blame some missing rotation pieces and an off-shooting night for a loss to a top-12 team on the road the lack of offense is a troubling sign for the Buckeyes.
Point-guard play has to be more consistent for Ohio State while the outside shooting has to get better to make things easier for Kaleb Wesson.
Maryland’s win is particularly important given the team’s upcoming Big Ten schedule. Four of the next five games are on the road for the Terps as this will be a critical stretch to assess if this team is a Big Ten contender.