Ohio State and Maryland came into Friday on opposite sides of the spectrum.
The Buckeyes came in with three straight losses, falling to No. 23 Iowa 72-62 on the road in their previous game. The Terrapins come in winners of their past six, scoring at least 70 points in five of those games.
But the two teams had something in common: 3-point shooting percentage, with Ohio State averaging 36.5 percent from deep and Maryland hitting 35.8 percent from 3, No. 5 and No. 6 in the Big Ten respectively.
However, the 3-point game proved to favor the hot team as No. 19 Maryland, shooting 64.7 percent from deep, gave Ohio State its fourth straight loss, defeating the Buckeyes 75-61 at the Schottenstein Center Friday.
As many teams have approached the main post threat of Ohio State, the Buckeyes defense attempted to stop the combination of freshman forward Jalen Smith and sophomore forward Bruno Fernando by trapping, leading to open shots behind the 3-point line.
“We were trying to keep our guys out of foul trouble and they did a good job of passing out of it,” Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann said. “They did a good job of passing out of it and made some open 3s.”
Offensively, Ohio State was trying to overcome the same thing, as Holtmann said multiple players were on sophomore forward Kaleb Wesson each time he touched the ball.
It did not lead to the same success.
In the first half, nine of Ohio State’s first 18 shot attempts were from 3, and the Buckeyes connected on only two of them, ending the quarter with a 23.1 percent success rate.
The woes from deep continued for Ohio State in the second half, missing each of its first four attempts.
Ohio State freshman guard Duane Washington changed that for the short term, hitting his third of the day. After Maryland junior guard Anthony Cowan answered with one of his own, Wesson drilled one from the top of the key, decreasing the Buckeyes’ deficit to six.
However the two 3s did not ignite anything as Ohio State failed to score another basket until 2:17 left in the game when Jackson recorded a 3, his first of the game.
Ohio State made 3-of-13 from 3 in the second half, shooting 23.1 percent from deep for the entire game.
“I’m confident in C.J.’s shooting, I’m confident in all our shooting ability,” Washington said “In our heads, if it’s a good shot, we are going to take it and we are going to knock it down. Unfortunately, we missed a couple open looks tonight, but 10 times out of 10, if it’s an open shot, I’m going to swing it one more and my teammates are going to knock it down.”
Jackson led the Buckeyes with 15 points, making 1-of-6 from deep.
Maryland could not be stopped from deep, hitting seven of 10 from 3, while both freshman guards, Aaron Wiggins and Eric Ayala, were perfect on their four combined attempts in the opening half.
Senior guard C.J. Jackson said the Ohio State defense was just going through the motions against the Terrapins Friday.
“We weren’t really guarding with a purpose as to how we kind of preach and the coaches preach every day in practice. We were just kind of there,” Jackson said. “They were kind of in a rhythm. And when you give a good team like that a rhythm, they are going to make wide-open shots.”
Wiggins last 3 in the first half made a significant impact for the Terrapins. After Washington hit a 3 to bring the game within four, the Maryland guard hit his second of the night with three seconds left, securing a 45-38 lead heading into halftime.
But Ohio State saw something it hadn’t in the first half its past three games: Wesson.
Instead of recording two quick fouls in the first half like he did against the Hawkeyes, Wesson did not record a foul until 44 seconds left in the first half, recording four points, five rebounds and two assists in 15 minutes of work.
But the fouls returned, recording two fouls in the first three minutes of the second half. Wesson finished the game with 11 points and six rebounds.
With a seven-point deficit to overcome, Ohio State came out of the locker room with a vengeance, quickly amounting a 6-0 run with three layups from Wesson, freshman guard Luther Muhammad and senior guard C.J. Jackson.
But like the momentum Maryland came into the game with, that run switched benches as the Terrapins took an 11-point lead after a 10-0 run of their own.
In the second half, Ohio State recorded 23 points compared to the Terrapins 30, shooting 39 percent from the field in the 14-point loss.
Over the past four losses, Ohio State had scored over 62 points once and has allowed at least 70 points in each of the past two games.
This is not something Jackson is satisfied with. But when asked about how the team should go about facing hot offenses, the senior guard just shook his head.
“That’s the million dollar question,” Jackson said. “I’m not sure.”
Ohio State stays home to take on Purdue at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
Updated at 9:55 p.m. with quotes from head coach Chris Holtmann, senior guard C.J. Jackson and freshman guard Duane Washington.