COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State went to a smaller lineup the past three games but is playing bigger.
Facing a taller Maryland team, the Buckeyes outrebounded the 16th-ranked Terrapins by wide margin and rode another all-around sterling performance from freshman guard D’Angelo Russell to an 80-56 win Thursday.
Russell finished with 18 points, 14 rebounds and six assists. In the past three games, all wins, he is averaging 24.3 points, nine rebounds and 7.3 assists.
“Russell is a pretty special player, especially when he’s making shots over hands,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said.
Coupled with an 82-70 win over No. 22 Indiana on Sunday, the Buckeyes (17-5, 6-3 Big Ten) have consecutive victories over ranked teams. It is the first time an unranked Ohio State squad pulled off that feat since beating Purdue and Wisconsin in 2010.
“That was probably the most consistent we’ve played over 40 minutes,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said.
While Russell had a big game, the Buckeyes were led by reserve sophomore guard Marc Loving’s 19 points. Loving shot 5-for-5 from 3-point range. Freshman forward Jae’Sean Tate added 16 points and eight rebounds, including five on the offensive end.
Ohio State posted a 51-32 rebounding advantage.
“We weren’t very tough tonight,” Turgeon said. “They were tougher than we were. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a team that got outrebounded like that.”
Senior guard Dez Wells had 12 points and junior guard Jake Layman 10 for Maryland, who trailed 34-26 at halftime.
The Terrapins (18-4, 6-3) shot 18-for-59, 30.5 percent, from the floor for the game.
“We just didn’t have it tonight,” Turgeon said. “I hope it’s an aberration.”
Russell, who is 6-foot-5, said he felt he wasn’t contributing his share to the rebounding chores until recently.
“It’s something that I did take upon myself to rebound better,” he said.
So did the rest of the team. Ohio State was averaging 30.6 rebounds per Big Ten game compared to 33.6 for is opponents before playing Maryland.
“Early in the season, we really struggled rebounding,” Tate said. “That’s been a key point of practice.”
Tate helped the Buckeyes increase an eight-point halftime lead to 48-32 within the first four minutes of the second half. He scored seven of Ohio State’s first eight points to spark the run.
Maryland was down 60-47 when Russell, with the shot clock down to five seconds, banked a 3-pointer from the top of the key for a 63-47 margin with just over seven minutes left.
The game was supposed to duel between Russell and freshman guard Melo Trimble, the Terrapins’ leading scorer at 16.3 points per game. Trimble missed all eight of his shots from the floor and wound up with three points.
Russell did it all in the first half. He had 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Loving was 3-for-3 from beyond the arc as part of his 11 points in 16 minutes.
Loving was replaced in the starting lineup by Tate the past three games but doesn’t mind the switch because he was on the floor for 31 minutes against Maryland.
“My motivation didn’t change because my role on the team didn’t change,” Loving said. “It was a good night. I was able to knock down some shots.”
Wells had nine points at the break for the Terrapins, who made nine of 27 shots from the field (33.3 percent) in the first half and were behind by as any as 13 before closing the deficit at the break.
Maryland was frigid from the floor but stayed in the game because Ohio State was not much better at the onset of a sloppy first half.
The Terrapins missed their first seven shots from the floor, but the Buckeyes were only 3-for-13 and led 7-3 after seven minutes. A dunk by freshman forward Michal Cekovsky off a pass from freshman guard Dion Wiley gave Maryland its first bucket with 12:29 to go.
After Wells made a 3-pointer to pull Maryland within 16-15, the Buckeyes went on a 12-0 run beginning with a Loving jumper with 6:36 left. Ohio State senior forward Anthony Lee soon followed with a free throw to make it 19-15.
Then Russell took
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