This game had major implications for Maryland (21-3, 9-4 in Big Ten), who entered the game on a two game losing streak. Ohio State (15-11, 5-8) looked to pick up their third conference road win.
It was a game that Maryland led from start to finish, building a 16 point lead, 40-24, with three minutes remaining in the first half. The Terrapins led the Buckeyes 45-31 at halftime. Ohio State would get as close as 77-72 on a Marc Loving three pointer with 2:47 left, but guard Anthony Cowan would put the game away with five points in the final minute for a 86-77 Maryland victory.
What We Learned
1. Maryland has staying power
The noise you heard was everyone jumping off the Maryland bandwagon after the Terrapins played their first ranked team all season, #23 Purdue, at home and lost 73-72. They then followed that up with a loss at Penn State. Maryland got the win they needed today to get back on track against Ohio State. The Terrapins are now 21-4 overall and 9-3 in conference, tied with Purdue for second in the Big Ten Conference.
Maryland was led by a pair of freshmen guards, Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter. Cowan led the Terrapins with 19 points, and Huerter scored 18. Junior Jalen Brantley chipped in with 11 points off the bench, giving Maryland four players in double figures.
It was critical for Maryland to get this win, as they prepare for two difficult road games at Northwestern and then at #7 Wisconsin. Part of being a dangerous March team is displaying the ability to beat the teams you are supposed to beat. With the exception of Penn State last game, Maryland has done that all year.
2. Melo Trimble is actually underrated
Melo Trimble has played like an All-American and is as valuable to his team as any player in the entire country. Trimble has been a facilitator all season long, building his young teammates’ confidence. This game was another perfect example, as he only had a modest 10 points with four assists.
Trimble’s ability to take over the game is the key to Maryland’s success. As the primary ball handler, Trimble continued to set up Cowan and Huerter through passes and drawing double-teams. He keeps the pressure off the freshmen, and enabled Maryland to get a key conference win even when second leading scorer, Justin Jackson, had only three points.
As we head towards the end of Big Ten season, Trimble may need to score more to create low pressure opportunities for his younger teammates. The freshman Jackson has been outstanding, but his point production varies and he has developed a tendency for foul trouble. When he is hot like he was at Minnesota and at Ohio State (five of five and four of seven from three point range respectively), the Terrapins are a top ten team in the country.
3. Nobody wants to play Ohio State
Despite the 5-8 Big Ten Conference record, the Buckeyes present major defensive challenges. Senior Marc Loving scored 24 points and was four of eight from three point range. Leading scorer junior Dea’Sean Tate scored 20 points with five rebounds and three assists. Both are versatile and dynamic scorers.
Junior seven foot center Trevor Thompson had another double-double (11 points and 10 rebounds), but has struggled with foul trouble all season long. When sophomore guard C.J. Jackson is making an impact like he did tonight (13 points, four rebounds, three assists), the Buckeyes can beat anyone in the Big Ten.
The ranked Terrapins will look to stay on Wisconsin’s heels in the Big Ten Regular Season race, with a tough road game on Wednesday night at Northwestern. The Buckeyes get to renew their rivalry with Michigan State on Tuesday at East Lansing, Michigan.