The Maryland men’s basketball suffered their first loss in Big Ten play at the hands of Michigan on Tuesday by a 70-67 decision.
It was only the second loss of the 2015-16 season for the Terrapins.
One of the primary reasons for the Maryland defeat was the fact that Michigan shot 41.4 percent (12-of-29) from beyond the arc. Guard Duncan Robinson was extremely efficient with five three-pointers, including four in the first half.
Maryland’s three-point defense combined with nine first half turnovers got the team behind the eight-ball and had the Terps fighting an uphill battle throughout the second half. Guard Melo Trimble also had one of the worst games of his collegiate career as he only scored two points (1-of-7) and dished out three assists.
Trimble also spent the majority of the opening half in foul trouble.
Layman had arguably his best game of the season as he scored 18 points and secured 10 rebounds. The Massachusetts native also connected on his first six shots from the floor, and was really the only positive in a pedestrian first half.
The Terps also received another stellar performance from center Diamond Stone. The star freshman scored 22 points and reeled in 11 rebounds in what was his third double-double in the past five games.
Maryland fed the ball inside quite a bit in the second half, which allowed the Terps to make a comeback. Stone was the clear beneficiary as he scored 19 of his points in the second stanza, including a stretch where he netted 10 consecutive Maryland points.
Getting to Know Ohio State
- Ohio State is coming off back-to-back early exits from the NCAA Tournament. The Buckeyes placed nearly all their eggs in the D’Angelo Russell basket, who most presumed would be a one-and-done prospect. This was a team that went 23-10, including a 80-56 thrashing of Maryland on Jan. 29. The Buckeyes’ season ended in the Third Round of the NCAA Tournament when they fell to No. 2 seed Arizona by a 73-58 decision.
- With Russell leaving the program along with Sam Thompson (10.2 ppg) and big man Amir Williams (4.7 rpg), junior forward Marc Loving was tabbed as “the guy” to lead the Buckeyes going forward. Loving is averaging 14.7 ppg/5.9 rpg/1.5 apg as the team’s workhorse. While he’s not a guard, Loving can be compared to Trimble in terms of what he provides for his team. Like Trimble, Loving can shoot from the perimeter (33.8 percent from three) and also has the ability to put the ball on the floor and attack the rim (11.1 free throws attempted per game). This is a guy that can score in bunches as he has topped the 20-point mark twice in the last four games. Loving is the guy that Maryland is going to need to slow down if they want to fend off a pesky Ohio State squad.
- Much like Maryland’s previous two matchups, Ohio State doesn’t exactly have a boisterous front line. Trevor Thompson is the team’s starting center, but he doesn’t provide a ton in the way of offense. Thompson is currently averaging 5.9 ppg and 5.0 rpg for the Buckeyes, but doesn’t lead the team in either category. This is a guy that makes his living around the rim and isn’t afraid to take the ball up strong. Former four-star recruit Daniel Giddens comes off the bench and plays 18.9 minutes-per-game. Giddens definitely has supreme athleticism and could the full-time starter when season’s end if his numbers continue to climb. He’s currently averaging 4.7 ppg and 3.9 rpg and is Ohio State’s best chance to compete with Maryland’s talented frontcourt.
Keys to victory for Maryland
- Feed the ball inside – Maryland settled for jump shots in the first half against the Wolverines, including 10 three-pointers. The Terps only made two of those trifectas and both came from the fingertips of Layman. After getting down by 12 points early in the second half, Maryland began to feed the ball inside. As was mentioned above, Stone had a tremendous amount of success scoring the ball and getting to the free throw line. Stone went 8-of-9 from the charity stripe, which turned into easy points for the Terps. With Ohio State having a limited frontcourt, Maryland will have to continue attacking the low post if they want to beat the Buckeyes.
- Bounce back game for Trimble – It’s very difficult to find a game over the past season and a half where Trimble was nearly invisible. The Maryland point guard couldn’t find his shot and dealt with foul trouble through nearly all of Tuesday’s game. Trimble needs to just put the Michigan contest behind him and move forward like we’ve seen him do before. The sophomore guard has only had three other games this season where he failed to score double-digit points. The Terps need to make sure Trimble gets his scoring touch going early on and everything should be just fine.
- Defend the three – Maryland’s biggest issue against Michigan was their three-point defense. The Wolverines managed to have a lot of success from beyond the arc. The Terps are usually one of the better teams in the conference in terms of defending the long-range shot. They’re holding opponents to a 31.1 percent clip from beyond the three-point line, but Michigan shot 41.4 percent on Tuesday night. Maryland didn’t do a great job of closing out on shooters, especially Robinson. While Ohio State is only shooting 33.8 percent from three this season, the Buckeyes do possess a phenomenal long-range shooter in former Mount Saint Joseph (Md.) star Kam Williams. Williams is shooting 45.1 percent from beyond the arc, including 9-of-14 over his last three games. Despite coming off the bench, Williams is the one that the Terps will need to watch out for.