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

Ohio State (12-8, 2-5) lost a winnable game to Northwestern (16-4, 5-2), 74-72 on Sunday afternoon.

In the first half, Ohio State scrambled to as much as a 6 point lead, 23-17 at the 8:18 point. The Buckeyes went scoreless over the next 3 minutes (0-2 FG, 0-1 FT, 3 turnovers) while the Wildcats went on a 10 point run (4-6 FG, 2-3 FT, 1 turnover). A JaQuan Lyle 3-pt shot pulled OSU within 5 points at the half, 31-36.

In the second half, Ohio State briefly (for 21 seconds) held a 55-54 lead at the 5:22 mark. A put-back by Micah Potter off a Jae’Sean Tate missed free throw at the buzzer accounted for the final score of 74-72.

The Buckeyes had four players score in double figures;   Jae’Sean Tate (14 points), JaQuan Lyle (13),  Trevor Thompson (11) and Kam Williams (10). Trevor Thompson accomplished another double-double by leading the team with 15 rebounds (7 offensive).

It occurred to me as I was writing this section that Ohio State having 4 players scoring double digits (5 players for the season) doesn’t actually mean too much. Well, it does mean that the Buckeyes do not have a “go-to” scorer on the team.

The Wildcats had three players in double figures: Scottie Lindsey (21 points), Bryan McIntosh (17) and Vic Law (10). (Note: In his preview,  JC felt the Wildcats may be experiencing some “Cubs magic” this season.).

Thoughts and opinions…

  • Coming off one of his better games against Nebraska, Marc Loving had one of his poorer games (5 points, 25% shooting, 5 rebounds, 2 turnovers). Loving had as many field goals (2) as he did turnovers. Not a good ratio.
  • As long as I’m on the subject, this type of performance is really new for Loving this season, at least in conference play. In 7 conference game to date, he has had as many/more turnovers than field goals in 5 games. His “body count”; 22 field goals, 21 turnovers, an average of three each per game.
  • Getting back to this “balanced” scoring meme. Jae’Sean leads the team by averaging 14.1 points per game. That is good for T-369th in the country in per game average.
  • Three point shooting continues to be horrendous for Ohio State; they were 8-22, about the same as they were against Nebraska. They shot close enough to their average of 34%, which ranks them 12th in the Big Ten in this category.
  • Free throw shooting was horrendous; 12-23 for the game. Aside from JaQuan Lyle (5-7) and C.J. Jackson (2-2), it was a bad game. In the 2nd half, Ohio State was 12-22 from the line. In the final 9 minutes of play, beginning with the score tied at 52 all, Ohio State was 3-8 from the foul line.
  • In contrast, with the game on the line (Northwestern up 63-62 with 1:41 to play, the Wildcats were 11-12 from the line. In fact, their last 11 points were free throws. Ohio State could not get a “free” possession because Northwestern converted (almost) all their free throws.
  • The transition game and ball security hurt Ohio State. Ohio State turned the ball over more than Northwestern, 13 times versus 8 times. The Wildcats scored points off turnovers compared to for the Buckeyes. In this game, not only did the turnovers reduce the number of offensive possessions for Ohio State, they led to easy scores for their opponent.

This was a frustrating game to lose for Ohio State. They extended their “effort” play with solid defense and rebounding, I thought, but came up woefully short at the foul line and in ball handling. Good effort, bad fundamentals.

Up Next

The Buckeyes host the Minnesota Golden Gophers  (15-5, 3-4) Wednesday evening at VCA. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm EST. These teams previously played at The Barn with Minnesota securing a 78-68 win. The game can be seen on BTN and/or you can listen to it on 97.1.