Maryland-Ohio St. Preview
Robert Carter and Rasheed Sulaimon have enjoyed plenty of success in their brief time at Maryland, but never more than they experienced two weeks ago against Ohio State.
The pair of transfers hope for a similar result from the eighth-ranked Terrapins' largest blowout victory of the Big Ten season when they travel to Columbus for a rematch against the Buckeyes on Sunday.
Carter and Sulaimon are playing their first seasons for Maryland since transferring from Georgia Tech and Duke, respectively, and they are part of a balanced attack that has the Terrapins (18-3, 7-2) in the thick of the conference race.
Maryland is the only Big Ten team with five players averaging double-digit points - Carter (13.4) and Sulaimon (10.6) along with Melo Trimble (14.3), Diamond Stone (13.0) and Jake Layman (10.7).
Carter and Sulaimon had 17 apiece in Thursday's 74-68 victory over No. 3 Iowa, providing Maryland relief after losses in two of its previous four games.
Still, it was a distant second to the duo's most combined points as they totaled 47 in a 100-65 win over Ohio State on Jan. 16. Carter made 10 of 13 shots for a career-high 25 points and Sulaimon finished 9 of 10 for a season-high 22. It was the Terrapins' first 100-point game since December 2012 and first against a conference opponent since their 2001-02 national championship season.
However, Maryland needed overtime to beat Northwestern 62-56 three days later and dropped its second straight road game with a 74-65 loss at then-No. 11 Michigan State last weekend - with Carter and Sulaimon combining for just 33 points between the two games.
Hence the sigh of relief after Thursday's win over the Hawkeyes - albeit following an ugly performance after the Terrapins shot 9 for 27 and 0 for 10 from 3-point range in the second half.
''It wasn't always pretty, but we played hard and we competed,'' coach Mark Turgeon said. ''Everybody that cares about Maryland basketball was in a panic, but we weren't. We didn't overreact. You could tell our guys were really ready to compete.''
Ohio State (14-8, 6-3) allows only 65.8 points per game, but the 100 it surrendered to Maryland earlier this month was its most in regulation since a 107-75 loss to Purdue on Feb. 7, 1998.
They followed with a 75-64 loss at then-No. 22 Purdue on Jan. 21, but have righted the ship since, holding Penn State and Illinois to 109 combined points in consecutive victories.
Ohio State shot just 39.1 percent in Thursday's 68-63 overtime win in Champaign, but held the Illini to 32.1.
"I feel like we grew up a lot (Thursday night)," said Trevor Thompson, who led the Buckeyes with 16 points off the bench. "Our past road games haven't gone as well, and in certain situations we would have folded. But in this situation we came together, and we just executed the game plan."
Now the Buckeyes return to Value City Arena, where they have won nine straight and all four of their conference matchups.
Sulaimon has averaged 19.5 points in two games against Ohio State, the first in 2012 as a freshman with Duke. Maryland is 10-1 this season when he scores in double figures.