- Associated Press - Thursday, January 29, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State coach Thad Matta has been wondering about his team’s toughness.

Not anymore.

Marc Loving matched his career high with 19 points and D’Angelo Russell added 18 points and 14 rebounds to lead Ohio State to an 80-56 victory over No. 16 Maryland on Thursday night.

Dez Wells had 12 points and Jake Layman 10 for Maryland, which had won four of its last five games.

The Buckeyes (17-5, 6-3 Big Ten), at times a timid bunch on the boards this season, dominated the Terrapins (18-4, 6-3 Big Ten) with a 19-rebound advantage and on defense.

“We played tougher,” Matta said. “We were quick to the ball. For the most part, guys did what they were supposed to. We rebounded the ball well, we rebounded out of our area. We did a good job of the rotations defensively and walled guys up.”

The doubts now belong to the Terrapins.

“I guess we weren’t tough enough,” swingman Evan Smotrycz said. “It’s as simple as that.”

Coach Mark Turgeon added, “I don’t know if I’ve ever had a team get outrebounded like that. I’ll have to look. I doubt it.”

Jae’Sean Tate, starting his third game in a row, added 16 points and eight rebounds for the Buckeyes, who have won their last three games — including the last two over ranked opponents at home.

Loving was benched last week after a sorry defensive effort. He responded by hitting all five of his 3-pointers as the Buckeyes went 10 of 17 behind the arc.

“My role didn’t change,” he said of not starting. “It was a good night. I was able to knock some shots down.”

Russell, the nation’s leading freshman scorer, flirted with a triple-double. He also had six assists and two steals, and didn’t commit a turnover in 34 minutes.

He had an easy explanation for his rebounding.

“The ball bounces to me a lot,” he said. “That’s something that I decided to take upon myself, to rebound better as a 6-foot-5 guard. I’ve got to do something down there.”

Ahead by eight points at halftime thanks to a 12-0 run, the Buckeyes took control early in the second half.

Up 41-32 just 3 minutes in, the Buckeyes went on a rapid-fire 7-0 run. Later, Loving hit consecutive 3s to push the lead to 54-38 with under 14 minutes left, and Maryland never again threatened.


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