Losing by a lot or a little, it doesn’t matter to Maryland coach Kevin Willard.
It’s perhaps a healthy way to view the recent state of affairs for the Terrapins, once 8-0 and ranked No. 13, but now on the wrong end of margins of 27, 35 and 14 in their last three defeats.
At the other end of the spectrum is No. 24 Ohio State, which lost to No. 1 Purdue Thursday on a game-winning 3-pointer. Both of the Buckeyes’ last two losses (the other in overtime to North Carolina) have come after they had the lead in the closing seconds of regulation.
Ohio State (10-4, 2-1 Big Ten) travels to College Park on Sunday to take on Maryland (10-5, 1-3). The matchup pits teams smarting from recent losses that bear little resemblance.
“Losing by 40, the chicken sandwich didn’t taste as good afterwards. But if we had lost by two, it’s still an ‘L,'” Willard said Sunday at Michigan after the Terps suffered their most decisive loss in its nine seasons in the Big Ten, 81-46.
Maryland followed that up Thursday with a 64-50 loss at Rutgers as the Terps were done in by an 8:45 scoreless stretch of the first half.
The formidable defense of the Scarlet Knights forced the Terps to commit 20 turnovers. Maryland also suffered through a 4:11 span of the second half when Rutgers went on a 12-0 run.
Jahmir Young led Maryland with 13 points, all in the second half. Don Carey added 12 points, all on shots from beyond the arc. After the Terps missed their first 10 attempts from 3-point range, they went 8 of 12 from deep the rest of the way.
“I have the utmost confidence in these guys,” Willard said. “We’ll get it going offensively. I’m not so worried.”
On the same night in Columbus, Ohio State was done in by Fletcher Loyer who made a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left in Purdue’s 71-69 win.
It was the third straight year the Boilermakers beat the Buckeyes with a late 3. The previous two were delivered by Jaden Ivey in the final five seconds.
This time, Ohio State was up 69-68 and had the ball but Purdue forced a turnover from Justice Sueing with 26 seconds to go.
“Justice is in a new role,” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said. “We just have some growing pains.”
The Buckeyes led by as many as 12 points in the first half behind freshman Brice Sensabaugh (21 points) and Sueing (15 points). But losing Zed Key four minutes into the game with a shoulder injury was costly.
With the Buckeyes’ third leading scorer (12.4 points per game) and top rebounder (7.8 per game) sidelined, Purdue had an edge inside with 7-4 Zack Edey (16 points, 11 rebounds) who led the Boilermakers to a 37-27 edge on the boards.
“It’s really hard to win. You see it every night,” Holtmann said. “We’re all disappointed but we’ve got a really good Maryland team we’ve got to play on Sunday. It’s like we always talk about, we’ve got to grow from it and move forward.”
– Field Level Media