Simply put, the Maryland Basketball program is at a crossroads for the 2021 – 2022 season. The Terps were handed their third straight loss, as Ohio State defeated Maryland 82-67 in Columbus. Ohio State (14-5, 7-3 Big 10) was led by national player of the year candidate E.J. Liddell who had 24 points and 11 rebounds. The Terps (11-12, 3-9 Big 10) were led by Donta Scott who tied a career-high with 25 points and scored in double-figures for the 15th time this season and 38th time in his career.
The Buckeyes pulled out to a 22 point lead in the second half, as the Terps had their opportunities to get back within striking distance throughout the second half but couldn’t take advantage. The terrapins never got any closer than 11 points. At times you could sense the Terps were getting ready to make one of their patented runs, but it just was not meant to be.
Here are some takeaways from the game:
The Terps defense was nowhere to be found in that first half as Ohio State went 16-26 (61%) and was 5-11 (45%) from the three-point line. It was an impressive display by the Buckeyes in the first half on the offensive end of the floor and ended the game going 30-59 (51%) from the field and 11-26 (42%) from three-point land.
Maryland on the other hand just could not find the basket and if you are a Terp fan you will find this interesting. The Terps in the first half went 10-31 (32%) from the field and 4-14 (28%) from the three-point line. In the second half, the Terps went 13-28 (46%) from the field and 6-15 (40%) from three. For the game, Maryland was 23-59 (39%) from the field and 10-29 (34%). It is not very often that the Terps shoot almost better from three-point land than two-point field goals, which indicates that there’s still inconsistency with getting “paint touches”, and playing inside out.
Who’s going to be the true leader of this team? There is no consistent scoring among the starting five, and you never know who is going to be the go-to guy. One game it’s Eric Ayala, the next game it could be Fatts Russell, Hakim Hart, Donta Scott, etc. Where is the constant scorer?. No Russell, Ayala, or Hart against Ohio State. Scott is good, but he can not carry a team on his shoulders.
This team needs to find themselves and figure things out. Maryland coach Danny Manning is trying to make the best of a bad situation. It is clear the team hasn’t thrown in the towel yet, as this team has the talent to be competitive night in and night out. On the offensive end, they need to get “PAINT TOUCHES” and quit settling for the three-point shot. When they play inside-out, which allows the outside shooters to do some damage and when the shooters are hitting those, Maryland can be very dangerous. The Terps need to get Qudus Wabab and Julian Reece more involved.
When Maryland is playing I just have this feeling that comes over me, that something is just a little off, but I just can’t put my finger on it. Is it a lack of offensive patience? Is it a lack of defensive effort? Is it just an overall lack of team chemistry? I am not sure what it is, but there’s talent there; Just not the results. There is still time to turn the ship around, as the remaining schedule offers potential opportunities for big wins down the stretch. Is playing in the postseason is still within reach? If so, They’ll have to get it together and start playing complete games.
There are still games to play and, as a fan, you just gotta believe.