Terps Fall to 6-5 With 61-55 Loss To Ohio Bobcats
#4 Braxton Dupree's 2 handed dunk 2:16 into the first half knots the Terrapins and Bobcats. Maryland fell to 6-5 when they lost to Ohio 61-55 at the Comcast Center in College Park MD on December 12, 2007. Christopher Blunck/DC Sports Box
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The Maryland Terrapins failed to secure a come-from-behind victory in the closing 50 seconds of play and fell to the Ohio Bobcats at the Comcast Center in College, Park MD.  Maryland's home loss to a non-conference team is only the 4th for veteran Head Coach Gary Williams and marks a slow 6-5 start for the young team.

On the first possession Maryland senior James Gist committed a turnover, offering a preview of the challenges Maryland would face in the first half.  As Maryland fell to 12-4 in the opening 4 minutes of play Ohio set up an aggressive defense that Maryland struggled to penetrate.  With just under 5 minutes to play in the first half Maryland scored only 14 points.

The Terps managed to stay competitive due to modest efforts on the defensive side of the timeline.  Bombale Osby came up with 2 blocks and 1 steal in 17 minutes of play, while James Gist stole the ball twice and Eric Hayes caused a steal.

Although Maryland's defensive efforts kept the score approachable, the Bobcats took advantage of every opportunity to break away.  Jerome Tillman was largely responsible for the damage, stealing the ball 3 times and scoring 9 points to push Ohio to a 34-23 lead at halftime. Leon Williams was a perfect 3-3 from field goal range and sunk 3 additional free throws to tie Tillman for the team lead spot in the first half.  Williams also led the Bobcats in rebounding the first half with 6 (2 of which were offensive).
James Gist led the way for the Terrapins in the first half with 8 points and 4 rebounds.  Sophomore forward Landon Milbourne followed suit with 5 points of his own and 3 boards in 10 minutes of play. Braxton Dupree played a brief 3 minutes but powered a 2 handed dunk early to give the Terrapins a bit of energy to capitalize on.

Maryland had a chance to cut Ohio's lead to 6 with 0:31 remaining in the first half when Eric Hayes attempted a 3 point shot.  His jumper bounced off the rim and into the hands of Justin Orr who dribbled it up the court and passed.  A jumper by Ohio's Kenneth Van Kempen as the final seconds elapsed pushed the Terps to an 11 point deficit heading into the locker rooms.

"I thought we were really sluggish with our offense," remarked Maryland Head Coach Gary Williams.  "We have to play better basketball.  That wasn't good basketball in the first half."  He also commented on Ohio's pressure saying "Ohio U played good defense."

Maryland emerged from the half determined to overtake the Bobcats and started out strong with a baseline dunk from Ladon Milbourne.  He then followed it up with a 3 point shot after an Ohio possession and the lead was cut to 8.  The Terps and Bobcats traded baskets in a sloppily played opening few minutes, but Ohio managed to stay more positive than Maryland. 

Down 17 points at 48-31 with 11:21 to go Maryland was at a low point in the game.  Sophomore guards Eric Hayes and Greivis Vasquez came together and hit 4 3-pointers to cut the margin to 10 with just over 7 minutes to play.  As Maryland closed to within 5 with 3:07 to go in the game, the Terrapin faithful sprang to life to breathe energy into the team.  Unfortunately a series of missed layups, turnovers, and fouls by Maryland quelled the noise and Maryland went scoreless for 2 critical minutes.

During those two minutes Ohio failed to score as well, with Bubba Walther, Leon Williams, and Michael Allen all missing jumpshots.  A tip-in by freshman Dino Gregory with 0:51 left to go brought the Terps to a 1 possession 3 point game, but Ohio managed to pull away off free throws by Jerome Tillman and Michael Allen.  The Terps surged in the end but were unable to finish off the comeback and fell 61-55.

"Ohio U was the more energetic team," said Coach Williams.  "You could tell by the rebound totals and beating us to the ball.  We allowed them to dictate the game.  We had a nice run at the end but we're not here to make nice runs.  We're here to win."

Maryland shot 11-24 from the field (45.8%) in the first half and 23-57 (40.4%) in the second half.  The Terps were also out-hustled in the rebound category 37-27 overall, but committed 4 fewer turnovers (15) than Ohio (19).  Maryland really struggled from beyond the arc in the first half, only converting 1 of 8 shots, but The Terps managed to pull it together in the second half by hitting 6 of 15 (40%).

The points in the paint were balanced at 18 per team in the first half, but Ohio edged out the Terps 18-12 in the second half to gain a 36-30 overall advantage.  The Terps were killed on 2nd chance points 14-2, and out-paced 16-12 in points off turnovers.

Maryland now has 10 days off for final exams and practice before nearby American University comes to campus on December 22nd.  The Eagles just came back from 7 points down with 3:41 left in their game against Jacksonville to win it 52-50.  The Patriot League team is now 6-4 overall in play and will battle Dayton before challenging the Terps on December 22nd at 4pm.