COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State went 36 days without a win but secured its second consecutive win on Senior Night with a 73-62 win against Maryland.
Ohio State controlled the game from tip and led for 18 of the first 20 minutes and all of the second half.
Led by its seniors, Ohio State got up 10 early in the first half, forcing Maryland to call a timeout and Ohio State had the lead ever since. It allowed Maryland to climb back in it and stay close as its offense fell stagnant, but it didn’t matter moving forward — that was the tone for the rest of the game.
Ohio State’s freshmen got involved and while Maryland was always in the game, it never went on a run. When Maryland came within 10 points and had opportunities to make a run, Ohio State had answers.
Ohio State had six players scoring in double figures with Justice Sueing’s 16, Ice Likekele’s 11, Felix Okpara’s 12, Brice Sensabaugh’s 12, Sean McNeil’s 10, and Bruce Thornton’s 10 points.
Okpara had a double-double for the Buckeyes and showed up all over the court with 12 points, 12 rebounds, three blocked shots, and a dunk. He was a piece of the puzzle that Maryland couldn’t figure out.
Maryland won the first meeting between the two teams and found a way to out-rebound Ohio State 40-26, and that was the difference. Maryland also came out of the second half on a 14-0 run to blow open a lead in the Terps’ win.
A mirror image of what transpired in College Park — Ohio State went on a 10-0 run to start the second half and got to its largest lead of the game, 42-35, at 16:52 to play. A four point possession by Sensabaugh put the Buckeyes up 13, 46-33.
Maryland wasn’t playing great, but it was hanging around. But the Terrapins needed more than Ian Martinez to get going offensively and desperately needed stops.
Even when Ohio State wasn’t hitting shots, it was getting to the free throw line, and it was making them. Ohio State was a perfect 20-for-20 from the free throw line.
Ohio State was forcing its game offensively despite holding a 64-52 lead with 4:34 to play. Ohio State led 67-60 with 1:34 remaining in the game, following a 8-0 run by Maryland.
Sueing hit two free throws to make it a nine point lead with under a minute to play. From that point on, there was desperation by Maryland to get points and the Buckeyes were fouled.
With being sent to the line, Ohio State took a 6-0 run. The Buckeyes were looking for a stop and got one on a missed 3 by Donald Carey. Sensabaugh was fouled and made both from the line. Looking for points once again, Maryland’s Jahmir Young missed a jumper. Sueing was fouled and made both attempts. Maryland had one more chance but fouled Scott who made two. With its last possession, Sueing ran down the clock as Buckeye fans at The Schott gave the team and the seniors a standing ovation.
Maryland’s Young had 30 points and 11 rebounds in the first meeting between these teams on Jan. 8. Sueing and Likekele each had over 20 points in the first matchup in College Park, but no other Buckeye had over eight points in that game.
On Wednesday night, Young had nine points, shooting 4-for-13 and 1-for-3 from behind the arc. Julian Reese led the Terps and had a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
It was a physical game and both teams had players in foul trouble late in the game. Likekele fouled out and finished with 11 points.
Maryland continues to struggle winning on the road in the Big Ten. It had just one Big Ten road win before Wednesday night and now has seven out of its eight Big Ten losses coming on the road.
Up next, the Buckeyes will face Michigan State in East Lansing on Sunday at Noon. Ohio State is locked into the No. 13 seed in the Big Ten Tournament next week in Chicago and will play the first game on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Photo via Ohio State Hoops.