Hot Shooting by Ross Dooms Terrapins
By Rob Ogden
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said the game was over when Aaron Craft stripped Maryland guard Dez Wells and fed Sam Thompson for a lay-in as the first-half clock expired. But it was over long before that.
Less than a minute into the game, LaQuinton Ross took a pass from Craft and buried an open 3-pointer.
He drained another one on the Buckeyes' next possession, and another minutes later.
Little more than five minutes into the game, Ross had 12 points on 4-for-4 shooting.
Photo by Jim Davidson
When the junior from Jackson, Miss. is shooting the ball well, the Buckeyes are tough to beat, as they were Wednesday night.
Behind Ross' hot shooting, Ohio State (7-0) dropped Maryland (5-3) 76-60 as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
"I think he's slowed things down in his mind," coach Thad Matta said about Ross after the win. "Him playing well makes us a much better basketball team. He's another guy out there that can stretch the defense."
Ross had 17 points by the end of the half, and finished with a season-high 20. It could have been more, but it wasn't needed as the Buckeyes put the game well out of reach in the second half.
He finished 7-of-13 from the floor and 4-of-6 from 3, and added 6 rebounds to lead the team in the category for the second-consecutive game.
In those two games, Ross has 37 points and 14 rebounds. He had 31 points in the Buckeyes' previous five games combined, games in which he combined to shoot just 10-of-44 from the floor.
In a three-game stretch from Nov. 16 to Nov. 25, Ross had just seven points, and appeared to be in Matta's doghouse as he rode the bench for the majority of the second half in all three games.
Matta stressed the need to get Ross going. It seems they finally have.
"We had great confidence in LaQuinton and we still do," Craft said. "There's just days when the ball doesn't go in. He's starting to get a better feel and he's playing great basketball now."
Previously, Matta suggested that Ross, who wasn't made available for comment following the win, lacked the confidence to make shots.
Wednesday, he seemed to gain confidence with every shot that found the bottom of the net.
"The look on his face is a little bit different now," Matta said. "He's communicating better in practice. That's a sign of a great player and a kid who cares."
Ross is in a better state physically, as well, Matta said. Ross had been dealing with a multitude of nagging injuries in the opening weeks of the season, but is now healthy for the most part, Matta said.
It's certainly no coincidence that two of the Buckeyes' best nights shooting the ball came on Ross' two best shooting nights of the season.
Ohio State shot better than 50 percent from the floor for the second-consecutive game.
Thompson had 14 points while Lenzelle Smith Jr. and Aaron Craft added 12 and 10, respectively.
The Buckeyes turned 14 Maryland turnovers into 25 points, but were out-rebounded 44-30.
Amir Williams, who came into the game having recorded double figures in three-consecutive games, was limited to 5 points and 1 rebounded.
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