(Photo courtesy cleveland.com. Game information courtesy OhioStateBuckeyes.com)
The Buckeyes (10-4, 0-1) opened conference play with a tough loss to host Illinois 75-70 on New Year’s Day. An inauspicious start to conference play and to 2017.
Off we go for the post-mortem…
- Ohio State’s first half was somewhere between sluggish and passive. The Buckeyes shot poorly from the floor (13-35, 37%) and not at all from the free throw line (0-0, 0%).
- The above stat further explains why OSU trailed at half, 40-29. They had only 4 offensive rebounds on 22 missed field goals. They were outscored in “2nd chance points”, 6-2. Jae’Sean Tate had no offensive rebounds in the 1st half. In fact, Jae’Sean had no offensive rebounds (9 total) for the game.You read that right.
- Continuing the thought, this was not the kind of game Thad needed from Jae’Sean. He is not a good jump shooter, nor free throw shooter for that matter. Consequently his strength is his tenacity on the offensive boards and creating put-back opportunities for himself and additional possessions for the Buckeyes.
- The Buckeyes let the game get away from them about midway through the first half. Over a 6 minute span, the game went from a tie (19-19) to a 15 point Illinois lead (36-21). Illinois ended the half with an 11 point lead.
- The Buckeyes kept chipping away at the Illini lead and eventually took the lead 58-57 with 8:34 remaining in the game. They had managed to climb out of their first half hole, but a lot of energy was expended doing so.
- Ohio State trailed by 2 points (67-69) with less than 1:30 remaining, but missed 3 of their next four field goal attempts. Illinois counted with FG and 4-6 free throws over the same stretch to pull away for the final 5 point margin.
However, on the bright side:
- JaQuan Lyle had an absolutely stellar night. His 26 points came on 10-18 shooting for an efficient night. JaQuan also contributed 5 rebounds, 3 assists and had 3 steals. That’s one impressive box score.
- Marc Loving had a nice game; 10 points (4-10) along with 5 rebounds (and a team leading 3 off rebounds) and 3 assists. Nothing overwhelming, but a nice all around effort by Loving..
- It seems the Buckeyes responded to what had to have been a riot act reading by Thad at halftime. They shot better (47%) from the field, snagged 6 of their 16 missed field goals (huge improvement) and went to the free throw line 11 times, making 9.
- Maybe Thad needs to cut to the chase and chew the team out before the game, since they seemed to respond to halftime ‘constructive criticism’.
It’s too bad the Buckeyes had such a ‘flat’ first half and suffered on the scoreboard, accordingly. Their second half was all around much better play. Ohio State needs better offensive starts. Just ask the football team…
The Buckeyes host #20 Purdue (12-3, 1-1) on Thursday evening. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm EST. The game can be seen on ESPN and/or you can listen to it on 97.1.