The Terps’ 9-Game Win Streak Comes To A Screeching Halt
Zachary Wilson and Wayne Viener
With a potential top 5 ranking, Big Ten Conference title, and a first seed in the NCAA tournament on the line, the Maryland Terrapins headed into Columbus, Ohio to face off against the OSU Buckeyes. The Buckeyes, a top 25 ranked team according to the most recent AP Poll, were looking to stay ranked and reach a .500 record in Big Ten Play. They would surely be no pushover for the Terps at the sold out Value City arena.
It was a spotty first-half for Maryland, with stretches of good, followed by inept, offensive presence. Anthony Cowan was an assist machine, dealing five dishes out to five different players and contributing on 3 of UMD’s first 4 FGs (Cowan would finish the half with only 5 points, all from the FT line). Ohio State showed a great ability to shoot threes making 8 of their 16 shots from deep in the first half.
Both teams shot a similar field goal percentage in the first half (OSU shooting 44.8% to Maryland’s 41.7%), but, in similar fashion to the countless scoring droughts they’ve had throughout the year, Maryland would shoot 12.5% in the final 8 minutes to round out the half and trail by 7 to the Buckeyes.
The Buckeyes continued their run into the second half, upping their lead to 14 and taking their scoring run to 17-3. In a switch of momentum, the Terps would increase their shooting by 7% in the second half, and even bring the score within 4 on two separate scoring runs. Unfortunately, Maryland would also feel the strong repercussions of fouls, as leader Anthony Cowan would foul out of the game on a surprising technical foul call with 4 minutes remaining. While Aaron Wiggins and Eric Ayala picked up a lot of the offensive presence left behind by Cowan, they would not be able to close the gap without their leading point guard. Finishing the game with 5 double digit scorers and 23 points from the charity stripe, the Buckeyes took this one by the same lead they ended the first half with and pulled off their own upset of the season.
Maryland does not slip from the top of the Big Ten though. They remain in the driver’s seat atop the Big Ten by two games and hold the keys to keeping the #1 spot. UMD looks for a return to the win column on Wednesday the 26th, playing at the Minnesota Golden Gophers in their first matchup of the year.
Notable Statlines, The Good and The Not So Good:
Aaron Wiggins-With a career high 20 points, Wiggins was able to play a very strong role on the offensive end. He shot well from three, going 6-13 and showing he was willing to pick up the scoring after Cowan fouled out. Definitely a career game for Wiggins, but not enough to bring MD the win.
Eric Ayala-As the second of the guard duo trusted with offensive responsibilities following Cowan’s departure, Ayala had an above average game. With a season high 16 points, he hit some very crucial shots to give UMD a chance in this one. Proud of his effort and resilience today.
The Not So Good:
The referees – One of the worst officiated games in memory. B1G should be ashamed of itself. Brings back the term “Carolina Refs”.
Jalen Smith-While we knew the 9-game double double streak wouldn’t last forever (it stops as Smith was tied for the 5th most in the NCAA with 17). Smith finished with just 8 points and missed all 3 of his three point shot attempts. He was defended very well and was not at all able to draw his usual averages of fouls. Stix had only three foul shots (making two).
Maryland’s rebounding and Second Chance Points-The Terps were completely outclassed in these two categories. OSU outscored UMD in second chance points 14-5 and out rebounded the Terps 36 to 24. With the great length and athleticism of the Terrapins, it is hard to imagine these two stats ending in such a disparity that they did, and it is severely disappointing to see them lose on the boards.
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