Defense carries No. 12 Maryland to upset win over No. 11 Ohio State

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Defense carries No. 12 Maryland to upset win over No. 11 Ohio State

COLLEGE PARK –  There are two consistent themes throughout the course of the Maryland Terrapins regular season: Slow starts and emphatic second half scoring bursts.

Rinse and repeat for the Terps when they faced No. 11 Ohio State on a snowy Tuesday in College Park.

After facing a sizable opening-minutes deficit, No. 12 Maryland came roaring back. They took control riding their red-hot 3-point shooting. Capped off with another stellar second half, the Terps finished for a statement-making 67-55 win.

This slow start could be blamed on the first snow of the winter. Fans were late, including famous Terps alum Scott Van Pelt who just made it to his seat before the opening tip. But it also had Maryland crawling out of the gate. By the end of the opening half the Terps had accumulated 11 fouls and only eight made baskets from the field. Fortunately for them, their 3-point game melted the snow to carry Maryland in the first half. By shooting 7-for-11 from deep in the opening stanza, the Terps led 28-22 at the break.

Maryland (13-2, 3-1) rode that advantage as Anthony Cowan Jr. (20 points) carefully navigated the Terps to their first victory over a ranked opponent of the season. 

But again, it was the underrated defense that carried the torch for the Red, Black and Gold. Ohio State had barely more points than they did shots in the first half (22 to 20). The Buckeyes (11-4, 1-3) were held to a 29% clip in the first 20 minutes.

The 11th defense in the country, according to KenPom, gave the Ohio State fits. A simple, but physical man-on-man defense had the Buckeyes off their marks when finding their shots. The Terps were unrelenting, not doing anything fancy but keeping Ohio State off-balance. Their shooting acumen did not improve much in the second half as they finished with 31% shooting mark, 19% from deep.

Finally all their hard work defensive paid off with an explosive put-back slam from Aaron Wiggins (seven points) after a miss from Eric Ayala. 

The biggest damage against Ohio State though was what Jalen Smith and Donta Scott did against junior Kaleb Wesson. In the early going it was evident that the gameplan was to get the 6’9” center into foul trouble. The post duo was successful. Wesson was one short of maximum allotment for the game but managed 15 points and nine rebounds in 31 minutes.

Maryland’s start was another painfully slow display, as has been replicated all season.  After six possessions, the Terps had zero points to show for it and an 8-0 hole to climb out of once again.

Just like their last contest against Indiana, it was Smith from long range that opened the scoring for Maryland.  His first basket was a wide open 3-pointer from the right wing, the first of 11 points on the night for the sophomore.

The win marks Maryland’s second Quadrant 1 victory on the season and first at home. All season the Terps had rode through a relatively easy nonconference schedule. Their biggest tests to this point had resulted in their only two losses on the season. With it they had two slow starts they were unable to overcome.

Beating Ohio State changes their narrative on their season. They fell behind, exploded back and this time won against their best opponent of the year.

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UVA's Tomas Woldenstae's game-winner stuns Tar Heels in Chapel Hill

UVA's Tomas Woldenstae's game-winner stuns Tar Heels in Chapel Hill

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Tomas Woldetensae scored 18 points and made the go-ahead 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds left to lift Virginia past North Carolina 64-62 on Saturday night.

Mamadi Diakite added 15 points for the Cavaliers (17-7, 9-5 Atlantic Coast Conference), who won for the fifth time in six games.

Woldetensae's winning shot came after North Carolina's Christian Keeling made three free throws to give the Tar Heels a 62-61 lead with 10.3 seconds left. Keeling had been fouled by Woldetensae while attempting a 3-point shot.

Casey Morsell and Kihei Clark each scored 10 points for Virginia. The Cavaliers won back-to-back games against North Carolina in Chapel Hill for the first time in program history.

Garrison Brooks scored 20 points to lead North Carolina (10-15, 3-11), which lost its fifth consecutive game.

Cole Anthony added 17 points for the Tar Heels, but his half-court heave at the buzzer wasn't close. Keeling scored 11 points.

North Carolina lost despite shooting 50% from the floor against the Cavaliers, who entered the game with the nation's top scoring defense and field-goal percentage defense.


Virginia: The Cavaliers have returned to their winning ways just in time. Virginia's NCAA Tournament chances were fading a month ago during a three-game losing streak, but the Cavaliers have gone 6-2 while grinding out five wins by five points or fewer since then.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels remained winless in February, starting off their second month in a row with five consecutive defeats. They are one loss away from clinching their first losing record for a regular season since 2001-02.


Virginia: The Cavaliers host Boston College on Wednesday night, looking to avenge the Eagles' 60-53 win in the teams' first meeting on Jan. 7.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels play Monday night at Notre Dame, which they defeated 76-65 on Nov. 6 in each team's season opener.


P.J. Horne's career night carries Virginia Tech past Pittsburgh

P.J. Horne's career night carries Virginia Tech past Pittsburgh

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- P.J. Horne scored a career-high 18 points to lift Virginia Tech to a 67-57 victory over Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Horne hit 6 of 9 from the floor, including a career-high four 3-pointers for the Hokies (15-10, 6-8 Atlantic Coast Conference), who snapped a five-game losing streak. Jalen Cone added 12 points and four 3-pointers for Virginia Tech, which hit 12 3-pointers in the game.

Au'Diese Toney and Justin Champignie scored 12 points each to lead the Panthers (15-11, 6-9), who lost for the fifth time in the past seven games.

Horne, who came into the game averaging 7.1 points per game, made 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions in the final 3:30 to help the Hokies hold off the Panthers. Virginia Tech led by as many as 19 in the second half before Pittsburgh cut the lead to 59-53 on a layup by Abdoul Karim Coulibaly with 3:21 remaining.

Horne, though, hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 3:06 to go to push the Tech lead to 62-53, and after another Coulibaly layup with 2:51 remaining, Horne connected again, hitting a 3-pointer from the same spot to give the Hokies a 65-55 lead. Pittsburgh got no closer.

Xavier Johnson finished with 11 points for Pittsburgh, which shot just 35% (21 of 60) in losing its fifth straight road game.


Pittsburgh: Securing an NCAA Tournament berth is probably a bit much to ask of this young squad, but an NIT bid is certainly an attainable goal. However, the Panthers need to find a cure for their first-half woes, particularly on the road. Pittsburgh entered the game shooting 32.4% in the first half of its previous five road games (four losses) and continued the trend Saturday, shooting 26.9% in the first half in falling to the Hokies.

Virginia Tech: A week off certainly did wonders for the Hokies, who desperately needed a win after dropping five straight games. Like the Panthers, the Hokies probably aren't going to make the NCAA field unless they can make some noise in a brutal upcoming stretch. Tech plays Miami on Wednesday, then takes on Duke (road), Virginia (home) and Louisville (road).