It’s March, but the Maryland men’s basketball team isn’t dancing after its 73-62 loss at Ohio State on Wednesday night.
Just two days after jumping back into the Associated Press Top 25 poll at No. 21, the Terps lost to a Buckeyes squad that has the second-worst record in the Big Ten Conference.
Maryland entered Wednesday in second place in the Big Ten with an inside track for a top-four seed and a double-bye in the conference tournament next week. Now, the Terps, whose regular-season finale is Sunday against Penn State, are in a four-way tie for third, falling to fourth after tiebreakers.
The loss was one that hurt both Maryland’s seeding in the Big Ten Tournament as well as its resume ahead of the NCAA Tournament. But it was also a defeat that was all too familiar for a Terps team that has struggled away from Xfinity Center this season.
From Maryland’s road woes to Jahmir Young’s rough night, here are three takeaways from the Terps’ loss to Ohio State.
Jahmir Young uncharacteristically struggled
The first time Maryland (20-10, 11-8 Big Ten) took on Ohio State this season, Young played one of the best games of his college career.
The graduate transfer guard scored 30 points, tied for his career high, with 13 made free throws and 11 rebounds. Before Young, the last Terps guard to record a 30-point, 10-rebound performance was Greivis Vásquez in 2009.
Young didn’t have nearly the same success Wednesday against the Buckeyes, as the 6-foot-1 DeMatha product scored just nine points on 4 of 13 shooting while tallying just three boards and two assists. The rough game came three days after one of his sharpest outings, as Young scored 18 points on 7 of 13 shooting with four 3s in the Terps’ win Sunday over then-No. 21 Northwestern.
The loss was just his fourth time scoring fewer than 10 points this season, and only the second in a Big Ten matchup; Young entered Wednesday on a 15-game streak of scoring in double figures. The last time Young scored in single digits was when he managed just five points in Maryland’s 81-46 loss to Michigan on Jan. 1. Since his 30-point performance against Ohio State (13-17, 5-14) on Jan. 8, Young had been averaging 18.6 points per game.
His struggles Wednesday were exacerbated by his inability to get to the free-throw line, another anomalous aspect of the loss as Young, who is Maryland’s leading scorer at 15.9 points per contest, averages nearly five free throw attempts per game and makes 82.7% of them. But it’s his second straight outing without scoring a single point from the line, as he went 0-for-1 from the stripe against Northwestern.
Maryland still can’t solve its road problems
For the Terps, Wednesday’s loss was simply the way of the road.
Maryland, which boasts a 16-1 record at home, is now 4-9 away from Xfinity Center. It’s even worse in conference play, as the Terps are 1-8 as visitors against Big Ten foes.
Two of Maryland’s four wins away from home came in November in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament on a neutral court. The other road victories were against two of the worst Power Five teams in college basketball — Louisville (4-26) and Minnesota (7-20).
A factor that aided Ohio State, winners of two straight after enduring a nine-game losing streak, was its home crowd on the Buckeyes’ senior night. Maryland will have to deal with another hostile road atmosphere Sunday in its regular-season finale at Penn State.
The contest against the Nittany Lions will likely determine whether the Terps earn a top-four seed and a double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament or if they’ll finish lower and receive just one bye.
Julian Reese and Ian Martinez were bright spots
Of course, it wasn’t all bad for Maryland.
The play of Julian Reese down low and Ian Martinez off the bench kept the Terps within striking distance for the majority of the night. Maryland couldn’t find an extra gear in the second half to get within two possessions, but Reese and Martinez didn’t allow Ohio State to put the game out of reach.
With Young, Donta Scott and Hakim Hart totaling just 23 points, Reese continued his hot streak with 17 points and 12 rebounds — his seventh double-double this season. The 6-foot-9 St. Frances graduate shot 6 of 8 from the field and grabbed more offensive rebounds (five) than the rest of his teammates combined (three). Reese also blocked three shots for the fourth time in six games.
After struggling off the bench as a freshman last year, Reese has found his groove in 2023. The sophomore forward has scored 10 or more points in 13 of his last 15 outings, including nine straight.
Martinez, meanwhile, provided a much-needed spark off the bench in the second half. After the first media timeout, Ohio State extended its lead to a then-game-high 13 points. The junior guard then scored all eight of his points, including six from behind the arc, in a 2:30 span to cut the deficit to nine, but the rally dissipated and the Buckeyes retook control.
Despite playing limited minutes, Martinez is shooting 44.4% from the field and 40.7% from behind the arc. In the win over Northwestern, he scored nine points off the bench — all on 3-pointers.
No. 21 Maryland at Penn State
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