That’ll leave a mark.
Shooting with a mindset that was relentlessly optimistic, Maryland sank 11 of 21 shots from three-point range and came away with a 100-65 win that could have been even more lopsided had the Terrapins not pulled their starters midway through the second half. It was the worst loss of Thad Matta’s career at Ohio State.
“Their defense was as good as I’ve seen all season and it really, really ignited some easy buckets for them,” Matta said. “We’d miss a shot and one of our guys goes and tries to steal it and they shoot a layup at the other end. That’s not what we do, that’s not thinking, that’s not playing to our system.”
The Buckeyes appeared to have turned a corner when they reeled off seven consecutive victories that spanned parts of December and January, but two blowout losses on the road against Indiana and Maryland in the span of a week have firmly applied the brakes to the Buckeyes’ NCAA Tournament hopes.
Matta said in his postgame press conference that his team appeared to be making the same mistakes that it had when it lost four games in a row earlier in the season.
“It’s funny because the things that we showed on tape and we broke down in practice is what happened today,” he said. “I don’t think Maryland had to call a real complex game because whatever they called seemed to be producing for them.”
Ohio State looked good offensively in the early minutes, matching the Terrapins shot for shot over the first eight minutes of the contest. But with Maryland holding a 19-17 advantage, the hosts finished the first half on a 29-13 run that allowed them to enter the half with a comfortable 18-point advantage.
It didn’t get any better for the Buckeyes from that point. Maryland started off the second half by swelling its lead to 30 less than four minutes after halftime and didn’t let off the gas pedal until a three-point play on a thunderous Jake Layman dunk made it 91-47 with 7:10 left to play.
“If we get down or if they go on a run, one big play is not going to bring you back,” Jae’Sean Tate said. “You’ve got to stay together, not panic. Like I said, it gets loud in these environments, but that should bring us closer. I think we’ve got to do a better job of that: just being closer and staying the course.”
The loss to the Terrapins was the second time the Buckeyes have surrendered 100 points in a game during Matta’s tenure and the first time in regulation, with the other coming in a 113-101 double-overtime loss to LSU on Jan. 15, 2005.
Keita Bates-Diop led Ohio State with 15 points on 4-of-8 shooting, while Tate had 12 points and Trevor Thompson finished with 10.
“It’s frustrating, but let this one sting and we’ve just got to get back to work, get ready for Purdue,” Tate said. “The season’s not over. Yeah, we lost by a lot, but a loss is a loss, you know? We’ve just got to try to get back to what we were doing to win those seven games in a row. We’ve just got to come out, when we come to these away games, we’ve just got to come out better.”