|No. 24 Maryland happy to home vs. Ohio State|
No. 24 Maryland returns home Saturday to face Ohio State. It's about time.
It is only the second home game this month for the Terrapins, who are coming off a 66-65 victory at No. 21 Iowa.
"It was kind of a gauntlet for us that we just went through -- four out of five on the road," coach Mark Turgeon said after the defeat of the Hawkeyes.
Maryland (20-7, 11-5 Big Ten) has played six of its past nine games outside of College Park, a stretch that began on Jan. 18 -- the first time the Terps faced the Buckeyes.
That night, junior guard Anthony Cowan Jr. had 20 points and six assists in a 75-61 victory. He's coming off arguably his best game since then, delivering 17 points, eight assists and just one turnover as Maryland earned its first road victory over a ranked team since January 2008.
"Eight assists, one turnover, that's terrific," Turgeon said. "I think Anthony's a heck of a player, and he gets scrutinized so much because he's our only upperclassmen who's really playing."
While Maryland is well on track to secure an NCAA Tournament berth, Ohio State has some work to do, even after dispatching Northwestern 63-49 on Wednesday. The Buckeyes (17-9, 7-8) are 5-8 since Dec. 29 and had lost consecutive games before handling the first of their two games against Northwestern.
Kaleb Wesson is coming off a 22-point, eight-rebound showing. He also had four assists, one shy of his season high.
"I thought Kaleb was really good the whole night on both ends," Buckeyes coach Chris Holtmann said afterward.
"I thought Kaleb was assertive. We've worked with him from the beginning of the year about passing out of double teams. When you have another 6-9, 6-10 long guy coming at you, it can be really difficult. His decision-making needs to be a little quicker. It was tonight."
It needs to be again against Maryland, a formidable defensive team. The Terps also shot a robust 11 of 17 (64.7 percent) from 3-point range in the teams' first encounter, not an easy feat against Ohio State's stingy defense.
The Buckeyes have allowed only two other foes to shoot better than 40 percent from beyond the arc this year: Syracuse and Purdue.
"We're probably where we are right now because of our team defense," Holtmann said.
"That's kept us in games and given us a chance this season. You look at our defensive numbers from beginning to end, and we've certainly had some moments we've not been great. A team like Maryland who's got scoring all over the place is a real problem in terms of figuring out how to guard. But our defense has been pretty consistent."
Maryland, which plays three out of its final four regular-season games at home, will attempt to remain perfect in Big Ten home games after improving to 5-5 in road and neutral-site conference games Tuesday.
"I love our schedule," Turgeon said. "It's made us tougher. It's made us better."
--Field Level Media