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

Thad pondering the lack of defense…

Ohio State  (17-14, 7-11) lost their regular season finale to  Indiana (17-14, 7-11)  96-92 Saturday afternoon on Senior Day at the VCA. This was an emotionally draining game for me. Ohio State began the game getting absolutely shredded on defense, falling behind by 18 points at one moment in the first half. They rallied in the 2nd half to actually take the lead by 1 point. Indiana reopened the lead to double digits at under 3 minutes remaining in the game. Ohio State responded to pull with 2 points by the last seconds of the game, then falling short.

There were a lot of points in the game where the Buckeyes could have made plays to win the game but couldn’t. Ohio State lost the game in the first half, but almost won it in the second half.

Indiana began the game making basket as soon as they hit the court. This was a lethal combination of, in the first half Indiana easily getting open shots and easily making them. In the first four minutes, OSU trailed 17-5. In that stretch, the Buckeyes were 1-6 from the field and 2-2 from foul line. Indiana was 7-8 from the field. Their missed FG  was immediately put-back for a basket. Not a good start.

The Buckeyes had five players score in double digits; Jae’Sean Tate (20 points), Trevor Thompson (19),  JaQuan Lyle (18), C.J. Jackson (18) and in his final regular season game, Marc Loving (11). Trevor led the team with 11 rebounds (6 offensive) for another double-double this season. Trevor’s 11 rebounds was also a game high.

The Hoosiers also had five double-digit scorers; Robert Johnson (26 points), James Blackmon, Jr (22), Josh Newkirk (18), Thomas Bryant (16) and Juwan Morgan (11). Blackmon also led Indiana with 8 rebounds.

Thoughts and opinions…

  • Both teams shot very well, as you’d expect with a combined 188 points. Their combined FG% was 64% and 3-PT% was 54%. That helps to explain why there were so many assists ( 33 total) and so few offensive rebounds (15 total).
  • JaQuan Lyle again provided the “6th man spark” in extended playing time. His 18 points in 25 minutes (.72 points/minute) was far and away the most efficient for Ohio State. It got to the point where Tom Crean intermittently  changed his defense to a box-and-one to try to slow down JaQuan.
  • Unfortunately, Indiana’s Robert Johnson (.72 ppm) and James Blackmon Jr (.76 ppm) matched/exceeded JaQuan’s efficiency.
  • I thought that Trevor had a good game; having a double-double will generate that feeling. He had an assist, 2 turnovers and 2 blocks. He’s had a very solid season for OSU, providing some front-line stability in the absence of Kieta Bates-Diop.
  • I had a text exchange with my old running mate (he’s not actually that old) Joe Dexter @BuckeyeRadio about Trevor. We decided that an additional year of shooting tutelage under Chris Jent will do him some good. There are plenty of 7′ players in the NBA that can rebound and play passable defense. Trevor needs to work on his mid-range shooting (it’s not good) to improve his skill set. He also needs to work on ball handling. Post feeds into Trevor can be an adventure. A chest pass into him is probably going to be OK; a bounce pass to him probably won’t. He seems to have trouble getting control of balls below waist high.
  • I’m a bit puzzled by Kam Williams’ play ending the season. Since his “breakout” game against Rutgers (23 points), he’s pretty much been a non-factor ever since. For a player who is a “shooter”, he really hasn’t been. In the six games (since Rutgers) Kam has been 11-40 from the field; in the last three games, 4-12. He’s not taking many shots, and he’s not making very many of what he does take. But then, since Kam is averaging 9.5 points per game, maybe the Rutgers game was an outlier for him, and this is who he is.
  • How did Micah and Andre do? In very limited time, they combined for 3 points (Andre), 3 rebounds a turnover and a block in 17 minutes of playing time. Not much court time, not much contribution.
  • Indiana entered the game as one of the worst ball handling teams – anywhere. They turn the ball over close to 20% of their possessions. They did not disappoint on Saturday; the Hoosiers committed 18 turnovers, compared to OSU’s 10.

Thus ends the regular season. It was a disappointment to the players, the coaches and to the fans. Those years will happen every now and then. Let’s see how the Buckeyes respond in the “second season” of post-season play.

Up Next

The Buckeyes await the seeding for the Big Ten tournament, based on games later today. In fact, we won’t know until after the Nebraska-Michigan game (tip-off 8:00 PM). They are no better than a #11 seed; they could be #12, they could be #13…