In a game being marketed by Ohio State as “Throwback Thursday,” Andrew Dakich clearly got the memo.
With 10 career Big Ten points to his name entering the season, the graduate transfer and former Michigan walk-on scored 11 during a first-half surge that propelled the Buckeyes to a 91-69 win against Maryland at Value City Arena.
The last time Dakich had scored that many points? Try five seasons ago, in a sectional game for Zionsville, Indiana.
“High school,” Dakich said. “Senior year. (Tonight) we attacked, and they just found me."
Speaking of the Terrapins, he said: "They probably over-helped on me because I’m not a high-volume shooter.
"Just to knock those down was a great feeling, giving them a boost and getting that 12-point lead going into the second half.”
Four days removed from a season-defining win against No. 1 Michigan State, the Buckeyes (14-4, 5-0) came out a little flat and trailed shorthanded Maryland (14-5, 3-3) by seven points with 10:16 to play in the first half when coach Chris Holtmann called a timeout.
“What I can say publicly is, we’ve got to play harder,” Holtmann said of his message. “We’ve got to act like we care a little bit on the defensive end. We had some really poor missed assignments, and we really lacked some attention to detail. It wasn’t all young guys; it was a combination of old and younger guys.”
After he lit into his players, the result was a 9-2 run that tied the score at 22 and prompted Maryland’s Mark Turgeon to call a timeout with 7:55 remaining in a futile attempt to stem the Buckeyes' momentum.
Ohio State scored the next six points, allowed a pair of Darryl Morsell free throws, and then scored nine straight to push the lead to 37-24.
It added up to a 24-4 run during which Maryland missed eight of nine shots and the Buckeyes scored on seven straight possessions.
“Sometimes out there you may not think you have another gear, but what coach sees on the sideline" is different, senior Jae’Sean Tate said. “I think that’s all we needed was a kick in the butt to get us going.”
Dakich was the star. During the run, he poured in all 11 points, including three three-pointers. With each basket, the volume inside the arena rose, and Dakich pounded his chest toward his family members in the stands.
“In practice, he’s one of the best shooters, but in the game, he plays his role usually, and today they sagged off him a little bit, and he made the shots he usually makes,” said junior Keita Bates-Diop, who had a game-high 26 points. “I’m not really surprised that he made those shots or he did what he did.”
Ohio State hit 17 three-pointers, its most since making 18 against LSU in a double-overtime game on Jan. 15, 2005, and the Buckeyes had 25 assists on 32 field goals.
Facing a week ahead with three road games in seven days, the Buckeyes have won five straight and nine of their past 10 while extending their best start in conference play since an 11-game winning streak to open the 2010-11 season.