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Men’s Basketball: Andrew Dakich and Ohio State shine from behind the arc to stay perfect in Big Ten

Ohio State graduate transfer Andrew Dakich (13) attempts a three pointer in the first half of the game against Maryland on Jan. 11 in the Schottenstein Center. Ohio State won 91-69. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor

The Ohio State men’s basketball team could not miss from beyond the arc Thursday night against Maryland.

After what was beginning to look like a tough game for the Buckeyes, they quickly turned things around when redshirt senior Andrew Dakich, a pass-first point guard, began knocking down 3s. Ohio State shot its season high from 3-point range, making 17-of-29 shots and shooting 58.6 percent from distance.

The Buckeyes’ 17 3-pointers against Maryland tied for second in program history for most triples in a game, marked the most against a Big Ten opponent and the most ever at home.

Eight different players contributed to the team’s 3-pointers, even former walk-on guard Joey Lane. Most remarkably was Dakich, who is not a high-volume shooter, yet scored a career-high 11 points against the Terrapins.

Dakich scored all 11 of his points during his team’s 31-12 run to end the first half that put the Buckeyes back on top of the Terrapins after trailing early. He provided the Buckeyes with an offensive spark, and was his team’s second-leading scorer heading into halftime. Head coach Chris Holtmann said he was looking for this kind of performance from Dakich.

“I was talking to a really close coaching friend on the way home from Michigan State and he said to me … ‘You know Dakich is going to have to step up in a conference game and make a few open 3s. You know he’s just going to have to do that,’” Holtmann said. “I think we kind of encouraged him the last couple of days just to be ready because of how teams are going to play him, and low and behold, he was right.”

Dakich, who scored just three points in the Buckeyes upset win against No. 1 Michigan State from a half-court shot to end the first half, wanted to take a different approach in this game after hearing Holtmann wanted and needed him to shoot more.

“I actually saw that interview and for him to answer those questions, like alright now I really have to start shooting,” Dakich said. “My dad is always like, ‘Dude just shoot the ball sometimes.’ But [redshirt junior forward] Keita [Bates-Diop], [senior forward Jae’Sean Tate], I try to get those guys the ball, and I try to be efficient with the ball and putting it in the right positions. Tonight, I was open and fortunate enough to knock them down.”

Ohio State’s finished with its second-highest assist total of the season with 25, while turning the ball over just nine times. That passing allowed Bates-Diop to shoot 6-for-8 from 3-point range. Both guards C.J. Jackson and Kam Williams finished the game with two makes from beyond the arc.

Despite another convincing win against a notable Big Ten competitor from Ohio State, Holtmann said he does not think performances like Thursday’s should be the expectation for the Buckeyes in their remaining conference games.

“I don’t think we can ever expect to make 17 3s in a game, I guess that’s what I mean. I think that’s unrealistic,” Holtmann said. “We made some shots tonight that on an average night we’re probably not going to make.”

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