(Photo courtesy cbssports.com. Game information courtesy OhioStateBuckeyes.com, ESPN.com)

Thad’s in a bit better mood. As we all are.

The Buckeyes (11-7, 1-4) beat Michigan State (12-7, 4-2) 72-67 Sunday afternoon. This was, for me, an entertaining game to watch since it featured two of my favorite coaches; Thad Matta and Tom Izzo. Both Ohio State and Michigan State are struggling this season, which made this game even more poignant. Immediately after the game, JC texted to me, and I’m paraphrasing, “We won!”.  I think the last time we were so excited was when Ohio State had a play from scrimmage inside the Red Zone against Clemson.

Ohio State weathered an early MSU shooting barrage ( 6-6 in the first 5 minutes of the game) then went toe to toe with the Spartans.. At that point, Ohio State was down only 15-10, and there was a sense if they could weather the early storm, they’d be okay.

The Buckeyes had five players score in double digits; JaQuan Lyle again led Ohio State (22 points), followed by Marc Loving (12), Jae’Sean Tate (12), Trevor Thompson (10) and Kam Williams (10). Trevor led OSU with 8 rebounds while Marc Loving added 7.

The Spartans had only one double-digit scorer; Miles Bridges (24).  Until the last 20 seconds pf play, that was almost enough. Bridges also led MSU in rebounding with 9 boards. Young Mr. Bridges played as a man on Sunday.

 

Thoughts and opinions…

  • Trevor Thompson is having a solid year on the floor for the Buckeyes. He’s averaging nearly a double-double (10.7 points, 9 rebounds) and 2 blocks per game. His effort and production this year has been the saving grace for this team.
  • Speaking of “on the floor” and “effort”,  Marc Loving had an exceptional effort against Michigan State. He had 7 rebounds, was a key 6-6 from the foul line and played one one the most high energy games I’ve seen from him in a while. He was contesting loose balls and rebounds. The only “demerit” was his 5 turnovers.
  • Loving is a bit enigmatic to me, particularly for someone who is such a good shooter (high level hand-eye coordination). It seems that sometimes he loses focus and other times shows poor “spacial awareness”. In his previous game. he committed turnovers (traveling and charging fouls) by lurching into his defender or through double teams. Against the Spartans, he looked like he was doing the Teaberry shuffle when he was beginning his drives to the basket. At this point in his career, he should know which is his pivot foot.
  • Despite Marc’s high number of turnovers, sometimes he was victimized by poor fundamentals by team mates. At just under eight minutes remaining in the game, Loving was called for travelling. Actually,  C.J. Jackson passed the ball to Loving on the right wing, but threw it at Marc’s ankles. So, yes, Loving was “credited” with the turnover, but Jackson made an inexcusably poor pass.
  • In terms of shot selection, there is no way that Jae’Sean Tate and Micah Potter should be taking 3-pt shots. Granted, Potter is making a decent number of them (42%) at this point, but with OSU’s offensive rebounding deficiencies, to have a 6’9″ player +20 ft from the basket is poor shot selection. Micah subs in/out with Trevor, so when Micah is away from the basket, not much happens in the paint. Jae’Sean shouldn’t shoot these because he he just a poor (18%) shooter.
  • Conversely, JaQuan Lyle had a good 3-pt shooting game. He was 5-7. He seemed to get into a rhythm with his shot when he had time to set his feet and gather himself prior to the shot. Crisp ball movement and good spacing gave him just enough time to size up his shots.
  • Free throw shooting was impressive OK (14-20, 70%). Loving (6-6) performed perfectly and Tate and Williams were each 3-4.
  • Touching on offensive rebounds, Ohio State grabbed 6 of their 28 field goals, or 21% of their misses. They had 5 in the first 5 minutes of the game. Their final OR was by Micah Potter at the 16:26 mark in the game. From that point that had 7 missed field goals without rebounding any of them.

 

This was a high energy, full effort game by the Buckeyes. It would nice nice to think they can do this every time they take the floor. They can’t coast on talent, they will need to roll up their sleeves for the rest of the season.

 

Up Next

The Buckeyes travel to Lincoln, Nebraska for a Wednesday game against the Cornhuskers (9-8, 3-2). Tip-off is scheduled for 9:00 pm EST. The game can be seen on BTN and/or you can listen to it on 97.1.