(Photo courtesy Columbus Dispatch. Game information courtesy Ohio State Athletics web site and ESPN.com) 

The Buckeyes (8-2) rebounded from a disappointing loss to FAU on Tuesday evening to gut out a satisfying win over the University of Connecticut (4-5), 64-60.

If you caught JC’s game preview, you’ll notice he ‘went with his feeling‘ and picked Ohio State to win 69-64. With the final score a 64-60 win, the prognostication is close enough. I’m sure I’ll be contacting JC in the near future to get his…thoughts… on upcoming games.

Back to Saturday’s game…

Overview

The Buckeyes were powered by Trevor Thompson’s impressive double-double (17 points, 17 rebounds), JaQuan Lyle (16 points, 3 assists, 4 rebounds, 4 steals) and Jae’sean Tate (13 points, 3 rebounds).

The Huskies were also led by three players in double figures; guards Jalen Adams (19 points), Rodney Purvis (10) and forward Vance Jackson (12).

The Buckeyes improved substantially on closing out a game. In the overtime loss against FAU, in the last two minutes of overtime, Ohio State; missed a FG, committed a foul and turned the ball over three times. That’s… terrible. In contrast, in the final two minutes against UConn, they missed a FG, but were 8-10 from the foul line to outscore the Huskies 8-6 and seal the win.

 

First Half

Despite missing their first three shots, the Buckeyes lead the Huskies 12-6 through the first five minutes of play, with the scoring spread out among JaQuan Lyle, Marc Loving, Jae’sean Tate and Kam Williams..

During the middle 10 minutes of the half, the Huskies battled back to tie the game at 21 all, the 3rd tie of the half.

The final five minutes of the half ended in a flurry with UConn making  3-pointers on consecutive possessions to close out the half with a 34-32 lead.

At this point, the Huskies were shooting the eyes out of the basket, hitting 54% (13-24) from the field and 44% (4-9) from 3-pt range. One factor that kept the game that close was UConn’s 10 turnovers. Almost 30% of their possessions resulted in no shots taken.

In contrast, the Buckeyes were shooting a poor 37% (11-30) from the field and 17% (2-12) from 3-pt range. To compound the misery, OSU’s offensive rebounding was very passive. Of 19 missed FG’s the Buckeyes grabbed only 4 offensive rebounds. No starter (Tate, Loving, Potter, Lyle, Williams) could be bothered to get an offensive rebound in the half.

Second Half

Despite UConn scoring the first 4 point of the half, OSU edged back to pull to within 4 points, 38-42 after 5 minutes of play, led by Jae’Sean Tate’s 6 points over this stretch.

Over he middle 10 minutes of the half, a JaQuan Lyle layup capped a rally that put OSU in the lead, 51-50.

Trevor Thompson sank two FT’s going into the 2-minute mark to give the Buckeyes a 56-54 lead. At this point, Ohio State went on an 8-10 FT binge to seal the win.

For this half, the Huskies cooled significantly, hitting only 35% (11-31) from the field and 23% (3-13) from 3-pt range. They cut down on their turnovers (6) but with poor shooting, could not take advantage of their better ball handling.

The Buckeyes managed to shoot even worse in this half than they did the first 20 minutes. The hit 30% (7-23) from the field and 0% (0-6) from 3-pt range. They did grab 8 offensive rebounds of 16 misses, so that aspect improved considerably. Thad must have had a word with them at the half.

Ohio State’s more aggressive play payed other dividends, as well. UConn was whistled for 16 personal fouls, and fortunately, the Buckeyes absolutely killed it from the foul line. They shot 82% (18-22) from the free throw line. Yes, 18 of their 32 points in the 2nd half came from the free throw line.

Wrap Up

The Buckeyes overcame poor shooting (18-53, 34%) to win this game. They relied on competent free throw shooting (76%) and strong offensive rebounding (14 2nd chance points to UConn’s 11). This “controlled” aggressiveness led to a huge advantage in points scored from foul shooting; OSU scored 24 points vs 5 for UConn. Although the game could have been lost at the 3-point line, it was won at the free throw line.

They also took advantage of turnovers, committing only 7 while forcing  16. The Buckeyes scored 17 points off turnovers, while the Huskies only scored 6.

 

Next Up

The Buckeyes travel to Las Vegas to play undefeated (as of this moment) #2 UCLA Bruins. You can watch the game on CBS and/or listen to it on 97.1.