COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Almost half a foot worth of difference between Maryland and Ohio took to center court at the outset of Thursday's game.
When 6-foot-9 Doug Taylor took to the red 'M' at Xfinity Center for the opening tip, opposite him stood 7-foot-1 Terrapins center Michal Cekovsky.
With a severe height disadvantage, Ohio's gameplan was to shoot the 3 well, and get Maryland's big men in the air and in foul trouble. The Bobcats did neither.
Sean Obi: 6-foot-9 (Checked in with 7:15 left to go)
Justin Jackson: 6-foot-7
*Bold indicates starter*
The end result was a rebound differential of 20 and an even worse final score, as Ohio fell to Maryland 87-62.
“We’ve been really really fortunate being able to get away with playing small, that wasn’t as much of an option tonight for us," coach Saul Phillips said. "And if you’re going to play small, you better shoot the 3. And 5-of-20 ain’t gonna be good enough.”
The height differential between the Terrapins and the Bobcats was more than noticeable. The Terrapins played two players as tall — and two taller — than Taylor, who is Ohio's tallest player.
Despite the return of 6-foot-8 forward Jason Carter to the lineup, Ohio couldn't muster big rebounds or size on the glass when it needed it most.
“There shot-blockers inside were a problem, but staying patient, playing off two feet would’ve helped us a great deal," Phillips said.
In all, Ohio was out-rebounded 49-29 and struggled throughout the entire night to break Maryland's size and speed.
“The emphasis was to try and get in the paint, try to get those big guys in the air and maybe get them into foul trouble, get some good dump offs and some kick-outs," Mike Laster said. "We just didn’t execute that well.”
Ohio not only was out-rebounded mightily on the glass, it was out-scored 44-26 in the paint as well. Cekovsky scored 15 points as Maryland's second leading scorer.
Added onto the struggles with Maryland's big men, Ohio shot the ball poorly from deep.
The Bobcats finished just 5-of-20 from 3-point range, three of which were made by Laster. For a team that needed the 3-ball to fall with a post game struggling, the Bobcats got the opposite.
“When it gets sticky (the offense), that’s what happens," Laster said. "As long as we can keep playing our basketball, it’s going to be really hard for team’s to guard us."
In fact, both Laster and Phillips said the offense ran at a much slower pace than what they'd like to see it run at. Instead of reversing the flow, Ohio stayed stationary and missed opportunities to get the big Maryland defense moving.
"We shot the 3 horribly tonight," Phillips said. "Some open ones, some contested ones, but we just didn’t shoot the 3 very well.”
It didn't get easier for an Ohio team that fell down 2-0 in the first 24 seconds and never led. Maryland led for a staggering 39:36 of game time.
With Terrapins big men clamping down in the paint and the Bobcats shooters unable to get a 3-pointer to fall, the end result was a 25-point drubbing after it's biggest win since 2001 just six days earlier.
“I thought the ball was sticky at times tonight for us, I thought we over-dribbled at times," Phillips said. "I don’t ever question this group’s desire, but tonight I questioned their approach. We’ll work on it, get better.”