If the Buckeyes are having a hard time finding a rhythm amid several long layoffs and schedule disruptions, you couldn’t tell by their performance against Maryland on Sunday.
Ohio State improved to 10-0 at home on the season with an impressive 82-67 win over the Terrapins, as the Buckeyes – who were coming off a loss to Purdue last weekend – have still not been defeated in back-to-back games all year. For Maryland, the loss was its third in a row and fifth in its past seven games.
|#16 OHIO STATE
The Buckeyes never looked back after a fast start right out of the gate, and Ohio State held a lead for all but 29 seconds of a blowout Big Ten victory in Columbus. Justin Ahrens and Zed Key both bounced back from recent struggles with 14-point performances while E.J. Liddell led the way for Ohio State once again with 24 points and 11 rebounds on a day where the scarlet and gray made 51 percent of their shots.
Down as many as 22 in the second half, Maryland made a late push to cut the Buckeye lead to 11, but Liddell and company countered to keep the Terps at bay and close out the victory. Liddell tallied his third double-double in the past four games and has now scored at least 20 points in each of the past three contests.
Ohio State opened the game hot and didn’t cool off much throughout the first half of play. Zed Key and Malaki Branham combined to score 12 straight points for Ohio State during a 17-4 run through the first six minutes. The Buckeyes took their first double-digit lead at the 14:13 mark, and eventually increased their edge to as many as 15 in the opening frame.
Liddell led all scorers with 11 points in the first half for the Buckeyes, who shot 61.5 percent from the floor, 45.5 percent from 3-point range and only turned the ball over one time through 20 minutes. Ohio State also had the edge in the paint, as it held a 16-10 lead in points in the paint at intermission.
Maryland, which shot just 32.3 percent in the first 20 minutes, cut the lead back down to single digits with 2:44 to play in the first half, but Ohio State scored six of the final eight points of the half to end the half with a 42-29 lead.
Third-year Terrapin forward Donta Scott scored 10 points early, but his teammates shot a collective 8-for-26 in the first half as they struggled to keep pace with the Buckeyes.
Ohio State scored nine of the first 12 points of the second half, and even though he missed the subsequent free throw, an and-one layup from Liddell gave the Buckeyes their largest lead of the game, 51-32. By the 14:58 mark, Ohio State went up 20 after Meechie Johnson knocked down a pair of free throws.
Scott stayed hot for Maryland in the second half, finishing with a game-high 25 points and hitting several 3-pointers to give the Terps some life on offense late, but the Buckeyes managed to maintain a sizable lead as the game entered its final six minutes.
As the Terps picked up steam late, Liddell scored six straight points in one stretch to keep Ohio State ahead, and Ahrens’ fourth 3-pointer of the game put Ohio State up 16 following a Maryland bucket with 3:11 to play.
It was all academic from there, as the Buckeyes improved to 7-3 in conference play with the win.
What’s next: Ohio State heads back on the road for a matchup with Rutgers at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
- Sophomore guard Gene Brown, who was averaging 7.7 points per game in his past three appearances for the Buckeyes, was unavailable for the Buckeyes. Brown was wearing a walking boot on his left foot during pregame warmups.
- Ohio State won both of its matchups against Maryland during the 2020-21 season, but had lost the previous three games to the Terrapins before that.
- Either Ohio State or Maryland has been ranked in the AP top 25 in each of the past seven meetings between the two programs.
- Meechie Johnson made his fourth start of the season for Ohio State as Justin Ahrens came off the bench for the second time this year.