Created: 12/04/2013 9:06 PM
(AP) COLLEGE PARK, Md. - After facing top-ranked Connecticut and No. 8 Maryland in succession, Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff has a good idea what it’s going to take for his team to be a perennial winner.
"Well, first of all, I think we need to change our scheduling philosophy," McGuff said with a laugh after the Buckeyes fell to the Terrapins 67-55 Wednesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Ameryst Alston scored 18, and Cait Craft and Matina Ellerbe had 11 apiece for Ohio State, which lost to UConn by 21. The Buckeyes were outrebounded by Maryland 53-35, yielding 23 offensive rebounds, and gave up 34 points in the paint.
"Maryland is a terrific team. They’re talented and well coached and they play hard," McGuff said. "The difference was they got too many points in transition and too many points on offensive rebounds. We have to get better in those areas to have a chance to win a game like this on the road."
The Buckeyes never led, but they certainly made it interesting. After Maryland (8-1) opened up a 12-point lead with 8:29 remaining, Alston made two foul shots and a 3-pointer to spark an 11-2 run that got Ohio State in position to pull off an upset.
The Terrapins, however, scored 11 of the game’s final 13 points to doom the Buckeyes to their third loss in four games.
"I’m proud of how we played. I thought we dominated the glass and were able to show our depth kind of late in the game," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. "I’m proud of how we kept our poise down the stretch."
Maryland’s reserves outscored Ohio State’s bench 23-8.
McGuff is in his first season at Ohio State, but is well into an intensive rebuilding process designed to make the Buckeyes competitive with the nation’s finest teams.
"As we aspire to be like the Connecticuts and Marylands of the world, it’s a combination of what we’re doing with our culture and our style of play and our identity, and then also adding the right kids to the program," McGuff said. "I think we’ve taken some really positive steps in the last six months to have a program that competes with the best of the best.
"We’re coming, and hopefully we’re going to be there sooner than later."
Alyssa Thomas had 25 points and 12 rebounds for the Terrapins, who made their first four shots in the second half as part of an 11-2 run that made it 40-28. Thomas scored six points in the spree and Brene Moseley sank Maryland’s first 3-pointer of the game.
Ohio State closed to 56-53 with 2:58 left, but a 3-pointer by Lexie Brown, a layup by Moseley and two free throws by Thomas ended the suspense.
Maryland finished 7-0 as an ACC representative in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Terrapins move to the Big Ten next year.
Ohio State fell to 2-5 in the event, including 0-2 against the Terps.
The Terrapins built a 29-26 halftime lead despite missing 22 of 31 shots from the floor and committing eight turnovers.
Thomas had nine points, six rebounds and half of Maryland’s four assists. But the Terps couldn’t shake the pesky Buckeyes, who trailed 12-6 early before getting within a point on three different occasions.