Without sophomore guard JaQuan Lyle available, the Ohio State men’s basketball team knew it had its hand full at No. 21 Maryland, who beat the Buckeyes just two weeks earlier.
OSU dug its way back from several double-digit deficits, but couldn’t close the gap, as the Buckeyes (15-11, 5-8 Big Ten) fell 86-77 to the Maryland Terrapins (21-4, 9-3 Big Ten) in College Park, Maryland, on Saturday.
Senior forward Marc Loving led all scorers with 24 points for the Scarlet and Gray, as junior forward Jae’Sean Tate added 20. Freshman guard Anthony Cowan led Maryland with 19 points as freshman guard Kevin Huerter had 18.
In the final four minutes, both teams caught fire from beyond the arc. Down 77-66 with 3:41 remaining, Loving hit back-to-back 3s to cut the Maryland lead to five. Terrapin freshman guard Kevin Huerter answered with a 3 of his own, but redshirt junior guard Kam Williams answered for the Buckeyes to make it 80-75.
On the next possession, the Buckeyes needed a stop, but Cowan had other plans. He effectively put the game away for Maryland with a 3 with only 41 seconds remaining to increase the lead back to eight.
Sophomore guard C.J. Jackson had 13 points in his third start of the season, and redshirt junior center Trevor Thompson had 11 points and 10 rebounds for his 10th double-double.
The Terrapins came out firing from the beginning, knocking down four of their first six shots and led 9-0 at the first media timeout. But the lack of OSU offense wasn’t from a stagnant offense, shots simply weren’t falling despite the Buckeyes grabbing five offensive rebounds in the first four minutes.
OSU stopped the bleeding by scoring 11 points over the next four minutes, but a Maryland 8-0 run out of the second media timeout slashed a deeper deficit for the Buckeyes at 24-13.
From there, Maryland continued to build to its lead. After back-to-back dunks by backup center Michal Cekovsky, the home team led 40-24, its largest lead of the game.
OSU trailed 45-31 at the half behind 20 bench points and seven 3-pointers from the Terps.
In the second half, Maryland’s quick-hitting offense continued to overwhelm the Buckeyes. Freshman center Micah Potter narrowly missed a shot that would have cut the Terrapin lead to six, as he watched his 3-point attempt rattle in then out. On the other end, Potter watched freshman guard Kevin Huerter drill a 3 right in front of him, extending the Terps lead to 12.
After that, the Buckeyes began to make a comeback. Redshirt junior guard Kam Williams knocked down a jumper and senior forward Marc Loving made a 3 to slim the deficit to seven. A few possessions later, sophomore guard C.J. Jackson made his second 3, making it a six-point game with 13:05 left.
OSU continued to fight throughout the half, even withstanding a couple double-digit deficits. In the end, the effort wasn’t enough, despite shooting 60 percent in the second half.
Potter and Thompson each fouled out with four minutes to go. Loving and Tate scored 15 and 14 points in the second half, respectively.
OSU outrebounded Maryland 32-30, but committed 14 turnovers and were outscored 33-0 in bench points.
OSU plays a second consecutive conference matchup on the road Tuesday at Michigan State at 9 p.m.