The Maryland Terrapins had a chance on Wednesday night to make a statement to the college basketball world. Playing at 5th-ranked Ohio State and in front of a national television audience, the Terps did make a loud statement: They’re not good enough to hang with the elite teams in the country.
You could see the disappointment and frustration on the face of head coach Mark Turgeon as his team was getting worked by the Buckeyes on both ends of the floor. After 40 minutes, the schooling ended with Ohio State winning comfortably, 76-60. With Wednesday night’s loss, the Terps have now dropped 13-straight road games to ranked opponents.
As usual, turnovers helped do Maryland in. The Terrapin guards can be careless with the ball when there is no pressure. You had a feeling this could be a long night for them as they faced a Buckeyes backcourt–led by Aaron Craft–that plays on-the-ball defense as well as any team in the USA.
Maryland miscues helped Ohio State get 18 first-half points off turnovers as they built a 43-26 halftime advantage. Dez Wells and Roddy Peters were overmatched in a game in which they needed to be strong with the ball.
With Seth Allen still out with an injury, Turgeon has been trying to find the right fit at point guard. It may be time to abandon the Wells experiment and let Peters handle the job fulltime. He is only a freshman, but he’s going to have to learn sooner or later. Why not now? It certainly cannot get any worse. That change would also allow Wells to move back to shooting guard where he is most comfortable and effective. Wells did finish with 19 points on Wednesday, unfortunately, he did his damage after the game as decided.
Make no mistake, Wells and Peters were not the only players who struggled. Sophomore forward Jake Layman–Maryland’s leading scorer–was held to only two points as he had a brutal game shooting the ball (1 for 9). If Layman wants to ascend to star-status, he needs to step up against the stronger teams. Center Shaq Cleare continues to disappoint as he finished with more fouls (four) than he did points and rebounds combined ( two points, zero boards). Swingman Nick Faust always manages to mystify. Expected to be a defensive stopper, Faust allowed Ohio State’s LaQuinton Ross to get free for open looks that led to four 3-pointers that helped give the Buckeyes a lead they never lost. A poor shooter, Faust continues to hoist up 3’s even though he is only shooting .188 from beyond the arc.
Maryland not only stunk with the ball, they were terrible on defense too. The Buckeyes seemed at ease as they shot 52.1% from the floor which included a 44.4% clip from deep.
On a positive note, I do want to tip my cap to forwards Evan Smotrycz and Charles Mitchell who played well in defeat.
Up next for Maryland is George Washington at the Verizon Center this coming Sunday. The Colonials, coached by former Terps assistant Mike Lonergan, are 7-1 and own a win over 20th-ranked Creighton. A losable game, for sure.
Unless Maryland starts taking better care of the ball, playing better defense and bringing effort the entire game, all of their games will be losable.
It’s time to step up.