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Bad time for Ohio State to visit Maryland?

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

A tough stretch for Ohio State could get even tougher when No. 19 Maryland visits Value City Arena in Columbus on Friday.

The Buckeyes (12-4, 2-3 Big Ten) have lost three consecutive games for the first time under second-year coach Chris Holtmann and are having problems finding secondary help when sophomore center Kaleb Wesson gets in foul trouble -- which happened in a home loss to No. 6 Michigan State and road losses to Rutgers and No. 23 Iowa.

Holtmann played 10 players for at least 10 minutes in the 72-62 loss to the Hawkeyes on Saturday with little rhythm or success.

"We're all searching a little bit and trying to look for some life and energy from our guys," Holtmann told reporters following the game. "I've been trying to give some guys an opportunity to see how effective they can be. Obviously, it's a difficult environment for that to happen.

"We've obviously got a lot of work to do, a lot to work on."

It's a bad time to experiment with the Terrapins (15-3, 6-1) coming to town.

Like the Buckeyes, Maryland is a young team searching for an identity. The difference is that the Terps are winning. A 64-60 victory over Wisconsin on Monday was Maryland's sixth in a row, although it came the hard way.

The Terrapins squandered a 21-point lead with 17:47 to play and trailed 60-59 with less than a minute left before Anthony Cowan hit a 3-pointer to put the Terrapins ahead.

"We were up big, lost our composure a little bit but they tested us, and we just found a way to win," freshman forward Ricky Lindo said afterward.

Maryland coach Mark Turgeon is not surprised his youthful squad is inconsistent, noting he sometimes plays five freshmen at a time. The Terrapins looked out of it against Indiana on Jan. 11 when they were down by 14 early and 10 in the second half, yet still rallied for a 78-75 win.

The Terrapins are 5-1 when trailing at the halftime, including 4-0 in conference play.

"So, everybody is saying you have to start games better, but I would rather finish them better, right?" Turgeon said. "We are the fifth youngest team in Division-I basketball. This team is doing amazing things. It's not getting any easier. We have to go on the road, Ohio State, Michigan State the next two games."

The Buckeyes have two priorities to defeat Maryland: Keep Wesson in the game and take care of the ball.

Ohio Stats turned the ball over 34 times the past two games, including a season-high 21 vs. Iowa.

"Every game you're going to go through ups and downs, go through adversity," Ohio State freshman guard Luther Muhammad said. "And when you're going through that, you've got to stay together. You can't get distant from each other. You've got to encourage each other and stay as one, stay as a unit."

Wesson, who averages 16.2 points per game, scored only two points in just 23 minutes vs. the Hawkeyes.

--Field Level Media

Updated January 18, 2019

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