Freshman duo helps Maryland take down Ohio State, 86-77
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(AP) Losing streaks don’t come often for Maryland, so the 21st-ranked Terrapins entered their game against Ohio State with an unyielding sense of purpose.
“I knew they were dialed in and ready to play well – and we did,” coach Mark Turgeon said after Maryland led from start to finish in an 86-77 win Saturday.
Anthony Cowan scored 19 points and fellow freshman Kevin Huerter added 18 for the Terrapins, who had lost back-to-back games for only the second time since January 2015.
After defeating Ohio State on Jan. 31, Maryland lost to Purdue and Penn State to fall from first to third in the conference standings.
“I feel like we learned from both of those games,” guard Jaylen Brantley said. “We know we lost to a great Purdue team a few weeks ago, and we couldn’t let it happen again.”
The difference in this one?
“Energy and preparation,” Turgeon said. “We acted and looked like a team throughout the whole game.”
The victory enabled Maryland (21-4, 9-3 Big Ten) to avoid its first three-game skid since 2012.
“It was definitely a big game. We had to come back and re-focus,” Cowan said. “Hopefully this gets us back to our winning ways.”
Marc Loving led the Buckeyes (15-11, 5-8) with 24 points and Jae-Sean Tate had 20. It was only the 10th time in 13 seasons under coach Thad Matta that Ohio State has been swept in the regular season by a Big Ten foe.
The short-handed Buckeyes were without guard JaQuan Lyle (leg injury) and did not get a point from the three reserves.
“We were undermanned and in foul trouble the whole game. It really made it challenging,” Matta said. “With what we had today, we did everything that we could.”
The loss hindered the Buckeyes’ bid to earn a 12th straight 10-win season in the Big Ten. Ohio State must go 5-0 the rest of the way.
The Buckeyes trailed by 16 in the first half and 70-58 with 8 minutes left before cutting the gap to 77-72. Then, with the shot clock about to expire, Huerter launched a lengthy 3-pointer from the top of the key that found the bottom of the net for an 8-point cushion with 2:08 to go.
Cowan clinched it with another long shot with 41 seconds remaining.
“I told (Huerter), `Your last 3 there was an over and back.’ He was so far back when he hit it,” Matta said with a forced grin. “Those guys stepped up. We wanted to make Cowan make shots and sure enough he did, three for four from 3.”
The Buckeyes closed to 56-50 with 13 minutes left on a 3-pointer by C.J. Jackson. It was 54-47 before Brantley and Cowan drained 3-pointers during a surge that upped the lead to 66-54.
Ohio State rallied once more, but couldn’t complete the comeback.
“I give Maryland credit,” Matta said. “They did the things they needed to do to beat us when they needed to do them.”
Maryland shot 55 percent, made seven 3-pointers and committed only four turnovers in taking a 45-31 halftime lead.
Minutes after the school honored former coach Lefty Driesell with a banner-raising ceremony, the Terrapins kept the feel-good spirit going by keeping the Buckeyes scoreless for the opening 4 1/2 minutes.
After Ohio State closed to 16-13, Brantley scored five points in an 11-2 spurt. Not long after that, two straight dunks by Michal Cekovsky made it 40-24.
Ohio State: It comes as no surprise that the Buckeyes’ first two-game winning streak since December came to an abrupt end at the hands of a Top 25 team desperate for a victory.
Maryland: Though the Terrapins appear poised to drop out of the national rankings, this decisive win should help restore the confidence that accompanied the school-record 20-2 start.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes’ reserves totaled one shot, no assists, six rebounds and six fouls in 36 minutes.
Maryland: With Brantley leading the way, Maryland’s bench had 33 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes are at Michigan State on Tuesday night, looking for a season sweep after defeating the Spartans 72-67 last month.
Maryland: The Terrapins begin a two-game trip with a matchup at Northwestern on Wednesday night.