Everything Kevin Willard said after loss vs. Ohio State

Maryland dropped its third consecutive game on Saturday afternoon, falling to Ohio State 79-75 in double overtime on the road.

Bruce Thornton’s layup with 1:11 left in the final overtime proved to be the difference in Columbus despite a game-high 26 points from Jahmir Young. Donta Scott added 19 points while Julian Reese posted his 12th double-double of the season. The game started with a shakeup with Mady Traore and Jamie Kaiser Jr. replacing Jordan Geronimo and DeShawn Harris-Smith in the starting lineup, but the same problems plagued Kevin Willard and the Terps on the road.

Everything that head coach Kevin Willard saif following the Ohio State loss:

On the double overtime loss vs. Ohio State 

“I mean, it was great effort by those guys on the floor the last really 15 minutes of the game, almost 20 minutes, including overtime.  We had our chances. We missed, Donta [Scott] misses two free throws, [Julian Reese] missed his four free throws, [Jahmir Young] had a couple of shots at the end. Give them credit. They made some tough shots at the end and I thought we got to come up with a way to get stops. Northwestern did it to us. Now Ohio State did it, Rutgers did it to us. Sometimes we just let a little bit of our offense, slippage go back to the other end. But unbelievable effort. We’re a free throw here or a shot away here, it seems like it’s been the whole year.”

On the message to the team down the stretch

“I think you’re 100% right, Chris. Obviously, the amazing thing now with having video on the bench, I think is you could see real time — and the two offensive calls that they called against us are absolutely horrific, to be honest with you. You just can’t push a guy into an illegal screen. There’s a rule and they put it out there and then, the new charge rule, it’s almost impossible to get a charge really is being on the weak side. We lose those possessions and at the same time, if we just make our free throws, it really comes down to we missed our free throws. They made theirs. They made some big free throws.  And then [Bruce] Thornton’s three obviously was huge.”

On defending Ohio State G Bruce Thornton

“At the same time, I thought that we really only had two breakdowns on his pick and rolls. The big guy got the dunk and that was the first breakdown, that really hurt us. But the rest of it, he made some tough shots. I mean, we did what we wanted to do on them. We really wanted to make it tough on him, which we did. I mean, I know they ended up scoring 79 points…I thought we did. Again, our offensive woes, we had some shots that, we got some good looks and again, [Julian Reese] had a tough night inside. Some of the stuff that he usually makes and finishes, he just missed a couple easy ones and, that’s on the road and sometimes that happens.”

On how to maintain the locker room down the stretch

“These guys have been great. That’s what I just talked to them about. We’ve been practicing hard. We’ve been playing hard. We’re in every game. It’s not like they’re not playing hard. It’s just unfortunately, offensively we’ve struggled a little bit and it’s just hard to put so much pressure on your defense constantly. Eventually you’re going to have a breakdown and we had two turnovers that gave them four points and that was kind of what happened with Rutgers again. We’re having some bad timely turnovers that are really, really like just giving the other team life. I think we’re up five and obviously the offensive foul calls were critical, but again, these guys have a great attitude. That’s what we just talked about. We have some great opportunities. It’s the first time we’ll have back-to-back home games this year so we’ve got to take advantage of being at home, tough Iowa team coming in. Obviously we had a great game against them and then obviously an Illinois team that’s really good.”

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February 25, 2024