COLLEGE PARK — Maryland men’s basketball got back on the right track with an 80-73 win over No. 24 Ohio State on Sunday afternoon at the Xfinity Center.
From a game-changing scoring run to Maryland’s aggressiveness around the rim, here are three takeaways from the Terps’ 11th win this season.
Finally, a much-needed scoring run
The first six minutes of the second half changed the game. Trailing by five points to start the half, the Terps went on a commanding 14-0 run that gave them a nine-point lead with 15 minutes left.
During that stretch, Maryland reverted to the style of basketball it played when it won its first eight games of the season: Turning defense into offense.
Maryland’s first six points during that run came off turnovers, and they pushed the ball quickly down the court on offense. Graduate transfer guard Jahmir Young scored a layup after Ohio State forward Brice Sensabaugh was called for traveling. On the Buckeyes’ next possession, Bruce Thornton picked up an offensive foul that led to a basket by Maryland senior forward Donta Scott. Sensabaugh committed another turnover that resulted in a layup from graduate transfer guard Don Carey, and that was all the Terps needed to reclaim the lead at 40-39 just 3:03 into the second half.
Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said Maryland played tougher during the opening minutes of the second. He thought the Terps did a solid job switching up their defense and keeping the Buckeyes out of rhythm with their pressure.
“I thought we made an adjustment in the press,” Maryland coach Kevin Willard said. “We made [Ohio State] work to get the ball up, and I thought that was the biggest difference.”
Although the Buckeyes managed to cut the deficit to three later in the second, they never recovered from Maryland’s scoring outburst during the early stages of the half.
Maryland controls the paint
Maryland’s game plan against the Buckeyes was simple. With Ohio State forward Zed Key out with a shoulder injury, the Terps attacked the basket at will, and the Buckeyes could not stop them.
The Terps outscored Ohio State 34-22 in the paint, including 12 straight at one point to take a 14-point lead in the second half.
“This is the first time we’ve been bigger than the other team,” Willard said.
Willard thought Maryland did a good job not settling for 3-point shots — the Terps went 5-for-13 from outside. He also praised Maryland’s ability to get to the free throw line, where it went 27-for-33. Young went 13-for-15 from the charity stripe while drawing 10 fouls, which Willard thinks can be sustainable moving forward.
The Terps’ rebounding effort — they won the battle, 40-26 — was another sign of their aggressiveness around the rim. Young grabbed 11 rebounds, including five offensive boards, despite being the smallest player on the court at 6 feet, 1 inch.
A healthier Julian Reese makes an impact
Reese wasn’t perfect, but the sophomore forward’s performance was another step in the right direction since injuring his shoulder against UCLA last month.
The former St. Frances standout totaled 10 points, eight rebounds and three assists while shooting 4-for-10 from the floor. He had a couple of nice finishes around the rim, including a layup over Ohio State’s Eugene Brown III that gave Maryland a 14-point lead in the second half, though Reese picked up a technical foul for taunting Brown after the basket.
“I think Julian is getting back healthy,” Willard said of Reese, who missed 12 days of practice because of injury. “I think he’s understanding that he [has] to throw his body around in this league. I thought [against] Rutgers was the first time he looked healthy, and today he looked great.”
Maryland at Iowa
Sunday, 3:30 p.m.
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: 105.7 FM