Maryland freshman forward Justin Jackson recorded his second consecutive double-double, star junior guard Melo Trimble scored five crucial points late and the Maryland men's basketball team defeated Ohio State, 77-71, for its fifth consecutive road win in Big Ten play Jan. 31.
The Terps pushed their overall record to 20-2, which is the best start in program history through 22 games. They also improved to 8-1 in the conference and remain in a tie for first place in the Big Ten with Wisconsin, which won at Illinois Jan. 31 to keep pace with Maryland.
The Terps controlled much of the game at Ohio State, carrying a 42-36 lead into halftime and building on their lead during the early stages of the second half. A Trimble bucket with 13:04 remaining in regulation pushed Maryland's lead, 58-48, but the Buckeyes responded with a 15-6 run to make it a one-point game with a tick more than seven minutes to play.
The two teams battled back and forth before two free throws from Ohio State sophomore guard C.J. Jackson made it 70-69 in favor of Maryland with 2:35 remaining. The Terps, though, bounced back on their next possession. Trimble had missed his first five 3-point attempts on the night and even hit the side of the backboard on a corner three, but he came up big late -- this time with a side of good fortune.
Trimble drove toward the hoop from the top of the key and lost control of the ball, but it found sophomore forward Ivan Bender near the hoop, and Bender tipped the ball to freshman guard Anthony Cowan in the corner. Cowan drove toward the paint, then found an open Trimble at the top of the key for a 3-pointer, which Trimble drained with 2:04 remaining.
A basket from senior forward Marc Loving on Ohio State's next possession cut Maryland's lead, 73-71. But Trimble came up big once more after the two sides traded empty possessions. Trimble drove the lane, fought off defenders and rattled the ball home for a 75-71 lead with 34 seconds remaining. The Terps would close it out from there.
The story, though, was Jackson once again. Jackson led the Terps to a win at Minnesota Jan. 28 with a 28-point, 10-rebound performance that included a 5-for-5 shooting display from 3-point range. Jackson dialed up a similar stat line against the Buckeyes: 22 points, 12 boards, 4-of-7 from three.
Jackson started off hot from beyond the arc to begin the season, had cooled off in recent weeks but has heated up again. Jackson made his first three 3-pointers at Ohio State -- eight in a row dating back to Minnesota. His streak ended near the end of the first half. And it doesn't hurt to have passers like Trimble around.
More notes on Maryland's victory:
- The best sequence of the game for the Terps was a big help to securing the win. Maryland was ahead, 68-67, with a little more than three minutes remaining when senior forward Damonte Dodd denied the Buckeyes' Jackson at the rim with a huge rejection late in the shot clock. The Terps' Jackson cleaned up the block and found a streaking Kevin Huerter down the court for a breakaway dunk.
Josh Stirn of Inside Maryland Sports tweeted
, Maryland scored 101 points between the second half of its win at Minnesota Jan. 28 and first half of its win at Ohio State Jan. 31; Stirn also points out the Terps haven't been ones for mid-range jumpers. Instead, Maryland has opted for 3-pointers and shots near the hoop -- two of the most efficient places on the court to score, along with the free-throw line. When Cowan, Trimble, Huerter and Jackson are on the floor together, the Terps' spacing, ball movement and shot selection is typically very good.
- Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon briefly tried junior forward Michal Cekovsky and Bender together in the first half -- one of the few times Turgeon has gone big this year. Cekovsky played five minutes in his third game back from a left ankle injury, as the team continues to build him back up. He did, however, flash his unique athleticism, which the Terps have missed.
- Junior guard Jared Nickens hit two 3-pointers Jan. 31. The New Jersey native couldn't buy a bucket during nonconference play, but he's been the shooter off the bench the Terps have needed during Big Ten play -- especially with sophomore guard Dion Wiley's back problems festering. Nickens is 12-for-17 from beyond the arc during conference play.