Maryland basketball gets back on track with 80-73 win over No. 24 Ohio State

After suffering back to back non-competitive road losses to Michigan and Rutgers, virtually zero remnants of the Maryland basketball team that started 8-0, was nationally ranked, and had its sights set on a Final Four run remained. What this team needed was to get home and figure out a way to get back on track in the Big Ten.

Both of which happened on Sunday, as Maryland leaned on an energized Xfinity Center to complete a second half surge and pull away late from No. 24 Ohio State by a score of 80-73. Each Maryland starter finished in double digits, led by a 30-point performance from Jahmir Young.

Young – who shot 8-18 from the field and 13-15 from the free throw line – has made it clear with his play that he is the leader of this team. By matching his career high in points and chipping in 11 rebounds, five of which were of the offensive variety, he essentially willed Maryland (11-5, 2-3 Big Ten) to a much-needed victory.

While Young has the ability to play like a true point guard and create plays for others, his best role on Maryland may force him to be more of a scorer, as shown in Sunday’s game. His craftiness and strength is something that allows him to draw fouls and attack the basket. Maryland relied on him down the stretch to make the right play, as he sealed the team’s second Big Ten win with a pair of late free throws.

Maryland got off to a fast start -something that has not been seen in the games in which they have struggled – to control the initial stages of the game. The Terps hit nine of their first 13 shots from the field, including three from three-point range, and looked like the team that began the season scoring at such a high clip. Despite this, the Terps fell back on some of the habits they have developed as of late, and managed to let Ohio State back into the game by only connecting on one of their final 15 shots of the first half. This extended slump lasted over the final 11 minutes and gave the Buckeyes a 39-34 halftime lead.

Out of the break, Maryland used its full court press to force consecutive turnovers and scored the first 14 points of the second half. Three of the turnovers were forced by Don Carey, who impacted the game tremendously on both ends of the floor. The ability to score on the offensive end allows head coach Kevin Willard to implement the full court press, which caused problems for the Ohio State guards throughout the game. Whether turnovers were caused or not, the relentless press forced the Buckeyes to chew up valuable time on the shot clock and were unable to get into their intended offensive sets, which led to bad shots and possessions.

Ohio State was without junior center Zed Key due to a shoulder injury he suffered in the 71-69 loss to No. 1 Purdue on Thursday. This forced Buckeyes head coach Chris Holtmann to start freshman Felix Okpara in his place, who immediately dealt with foul trouble down low guarding Maryland big man Julian Reese.

Reese, who finished with 10 points on 4-10 shooting with eight rebounds, was able to capitalize on mismatches caused by the Ohio State foul trouble and was active throughout the game.

After scoring a basket to increase the Maryland lead to 60-46, Reese picked up a technical foul and was subbed out. This was followed by an immediate 9-0 Ohio State run and looked eerily reminiscent to the spiral that occurred against Rutgers after Reese committed a flagrant foul.

The Buckeyes run was led by Brice Sensabaugh, who finished with 22 points and eventually fouled out late, and Justice Sueing who added 21 of his own. These two were basically the entire offense for Ohio State and allowed them to claw back into the game.

While this Ohio State run looked like one that Maryland fans had seen before, the Terps were able to weather the storm and come up with big plays down the stretch to finish off the win. Maryland leaned on its starters, as they scored 74 of the team’s 80 points in the victory. If they want to find continued success in the Big Ten, it will take a balanced offensive effort.

Maryland has a week off before traveling to Iowa next Sunday, before they embark on a difficult stretch to end January.

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