The Maryland basketball team has lost multiple games for the first time all season.
After dropping a deflating game to Penn State, the Terrapins will look to right the ship against Ohio State on Saturday.
Maryland had one of their bleakest performances of the season in every way, shape, and form. Forward Justin Jackson led the team with 14 points and nine rebounds, but he only connected on four of his 11 field goal attempts.
Melo Trimble didn’t fare much better as he hit just 4-of-13 shots from the field in an 11-point effort.
Three-point shooting was as big of an issue for the Nittany Lions as it was for the Terps. As a group, Maryland hit just 26.9 percent (7-of-26) of their shots from beyond the arc.
Kevin Huerter was responsible for three of those seven makes and finished with 12 points on the night. Huerter was arguably the most efficient Terp as he hit four of his nine shots.
Keys to the game
1.) Avoid turnovers – Maryland had one of their worst offensive performances of the season against Penn State. The Terps committed 13 turnovers and while that doesn’t seem like a ton, the Nittany Lions really made life difficult for Maryland. Taking care of the basketball and getting high percentage looks is going to be huge against a scrappy team like Ohio State.
2.) Pressure the Buckeyes – As a team, Ohio State shoots 46.3 percent from the field, which is good for fifth in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes generally don’t take a ton of bad shots. Maryland is going to have to use their length to bother Ohio State throughout the game. If the Terps can keep the Buckeyes out of the lane, it’ll go a long way towards deciding this one.
3.) Strong guard play – Maryland’s guards certainly didn’t play their best basketball on Tuesday. Anthony Cowan scored just two points and Trimble missed nine shots on the evening. Having your starting backcourt struggle that mightily is an issue, especially when you’re playing a team like Ohio State that is in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten and still fighting for their postseason lives. Trimble was named as a late season member of the top 20 for the Wooden Award on Wednesday. He’s going to have to play like it on Saturday.
Players to watch
Jae’Sean Tate (forward) – Tate is somewhat one-dimensional as far as his scoring is concerned. He’s rarely going to hoist up a three (1.1 shots-per-game). However, Tate really has a knack for being a slasher and getting to the basket. He can also post up down low and knife his way to the rim.
Marc Loving (forward) – Loving does a little bit of everything for the Buckeyes and is second on the team in scoring (11.7 points). He can shoot the three pretty well (37.8 percent) while being a solid rebounder and passer. Loving also isn’t afraid to put the ball on the floor when his shot isn’t there. This is the senior leader that the Terps are going to have to focus on.
Kam Williams (guard) – Williams may be fifth on the team in scoring, but Ohio State’s recent win against Rutgers was an example of how Williams can affect a game. The former Mount St. Joseph (Md.) standout is the Buckeyes’ top three-point shooter as he hits shots at a 38.7 percent clip. Williams scored 23 points and hit three of his five attempts from beyond the arc against the Scarlet Knights. Simply put: he can go off at any time.
This obviously isn’t a must-win game, but it’s probably the closest that Maryland will have to one this season. Purdue is a great basketball team that be NCAA Tournament bound, but the Penn State loss is tough to swallow. The Terps just couldn’t seem to consistently make shots the whole night.
Maryland ended up getting a fight in the second half the first time around against the Buckeyes. However, this is a game that the Terps should. On the afternoon that Lefty Driesell gets his name in the rafters, Maryland wins a close one 68-60.