COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND — For a team that found itself in the top 15 of the national rankings this time one month ago, the Maryland Terrapins have been on the wrong end of enough embarrassing score lines that made them more reminiscent of a conference doormat than a possible surprise contender in the Big Ten. But after receiving its latest licking earlier this week, the Terrapins turned it around just in time to claim a victory it is going to need to turn its up-and-down season back toward an upward trajectory.
All it took, at least for today, was for the smallest guy on the floor to come up big…and play much bigger than his frame.
Guard Jahmir Young, standing 6-foot-1, scored a career-high 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as Maryland used an 18-2 run early in the second half on its way to an 80-73 victory over No. 24 Ohio State inside the XFINITY Center on Sunday afternoon. All five starters scored in double figures as the Terrapins snapped a two-game losing streak.
Despite two conference wins against a ranked Illinois team to begin conference play and a slim three-point defeat to then-No. 7 Tennessee in Brooklyn on December 11, the Terrapins have found themselves looking overmatched in several games in the past 30 days, including an 87-60 home loss to UCLA in which the Bruins built a 30-point lead before the halftime buzzer sounded. Going into today’s game, the Terrapins were coming off 35-point loss at Michigan on New Year’s Day and a 14-point defeat at Rutgers in which the Scarlet Knights maintained a double-digit lead for the final 12:27 of the contest.
A 1-3 conference record was staring the Terrapins in the face, and the players stared into what would soon become a grueling preparation before another conference showdown.
“We practiced for almost two-and-a-half hours. I mean, we got after it yesterday,” first-year Maryland head coach Kevin Willard said. “I had no doubt that we were going to score the basketball. It was just good to be home.
Home cooking was a key, and Young’s cooking from all parts of the court plus the Terrapins’ full-court press to start the second half lit the fuse for a comeback. After trailing 39-34 at halftime, the Terrapins scored the first 14 points of the second to take the lead for good. Young bookended the run with baskets, with his layup with 14:56 remaining giving Maryland a 48-39 lead. Donta Scott and Don Carey each made two field goals during the run, one from inside the arc and one from three.
Maryland also forced Ohio State turnovers on each of the Buckeyes’ first four possessions in the second half.
We had to regroup. We went into the locker room down five,” said Young, who also scored 30 points in a game last year when playing for Charlotte. “We didn’t have a lot of deflections going into the second half, so coming out we just had to make sure to make an emphasis on that — trying to get deflections, trying to speed them up and turn them over.”
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Sunday afternoon’s game, with all photos taken by DC-area photographer Yusuf Abdullah. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 18 pictures in total.