At times, the Ohio State Buckeyes played some of their best basketball of the year. Other times, their spotty defensive efforts kept them in an uphill climb.
Ultimately, it was that defensive performance that did them in as they fell to Maryland, 77-71, on Tuesday night in Columbus.
The first half was a back and forth affair, with the two teams trading leads several times.
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Maryland closed the opening 20 minutes on a 7-0 run, sending them into the locker room with a 42-36 lead.
The Terrapins wasted no time in building on that lead, pushing it to 10 points just over a minute into the second half.
While the Ohio State offense continued to score the basketball, stops on defense were hard to come by over the opening nine minutes of the final period.
Thad Matta went to his best defensive lineup, with C.J. Jackson seeing exclusive minutes at the point, and Andre Wesson continuing to see an increase in his playing time.
The effort began to show on the defensive end and on the scoreboard.
Trevor Thompson’s layup with 11:16 brought the lead down to six, and a Jae’Sean Tate steal led to a Jackson three pointer, capping a 7-0 run that cut the Maryland lead to just three.
The final seven minutes were highly contested, with the Buckeyes drawing to within a single point several times.
But the stops just didn’t come frequently enough, thanks in large part to Melo Trimble.
Trimble, Maryland’s star point guard, was held in check for the majority of the game, but finally broke out in the final two minutes. He scored the final seven points for the Terps, including a three ball with two minutes left that increased their lead to four.
He finished with 13 points.
Both teams shot the ball extremely well on the night. Maryland hit 49 percent of their shots, while Ohio State connected on 48 percent.
Maryland’s Justin Jackson led all scorers with 22, while also adding 12 rebounds in a monster effort.
Tate and Marc Loving led the way for Ohio State, dropping 20 and 18 respectively.