(Photo courtesy cbssports.com. Game information courtesy OhioStateBuckeyes.com, ESPN.com)
I previously used this photo in recapping the loss to Nebraska. I was hoping not to need it again…
Ohio State (17-15) walked through the motions against Rutgers (15-17), losing 66-57 Wednesday evening in a game that could, at best, be described as disheartening. At least for Ohio State. Rutgers simply wanted to play this game, and win, more than Ohio State did. The Buckeyes were out-hustled, out-rebounded, out-everythinged against the Scarlet Knights. The lack of interest and effort shown by this team was, if not embarrassing, certainly troubling. Per Jae’Sean Tate, post-game:
“The way we played, as a unit we didn’t care enough, so hats off to Rutgers for outplaying us,” said junior forward Jae’Sean Tate, perhaps the lone exception with 18 points. “(Those) offensive rebounds, that’s unacceptable. They wanted to win. They worked for it. They outworked us, they punked us, so hats off to Rutgers.”
In my recap of the previous meeting between these teams, I felt that:”.. Thad can led them to the water, but the team has to learn to drink it themselves.”. That held true on Wednesday, too. And, after all, these are all Thad’s horses.
In JC’s preview he stated, in part:
…these Buckeyes have been here and there all year. They are truly unpredictable. And, I will repeat this, the loss of Keita Bates-Diop was the demise of the season. Their soul was gone, and they hadn’t any idea where to turn.
I think that is a succinct summary of this season. I’m not sure if KBD’s loss was the reason for the season, but JC’s last sentence pretty much describes what we’ve seen on the court.
The Buckeyes had two players score in double figures; Jae’Sean Tate (18 points) and C.J. Jackson (12). Trevor Thompson led the team with 11 rebounds, 2 offensive.
The Scarlet Knights had two players in double figures; Nigel Johnson (21 points) and Deshawn Freeman (10). C.J. Gettys and Mike Williams led Rutgers with 9 rebounds each.
Thoughts and opinions…
- The Buckeyes were dominated, embarrassingly so, by Rutgers in rebounding. The Scarlet Knights had 47 rebounds to the Buckeyes 31. Rutgers had 19 offensive rebounds to OSU’s 7. Consequently, Rutgers outscored OSU 22-6 in ‘2nd chance points’. I can’t point to any one factor that says’ “lack of focus/effort” than rebounding.
- As a likely subset of ‘2nd chance points’ Wednesday was the fact that Rutgers also outscored OSU 30-18 in the ‘points in the paint’. This was due to OSU “losing” offensive players to block out, particularly on the weak side. It got so bad in the 2nd half that 97.1’s analyst Ron Stokes (jokingly, I assume) suggested that Rutgers was intentionally missing shots so they could get the tip-in.
- Rutgers shot a poor 37% (23-62). That should have been bad enough to lose the game. However, their rebounding aggressiveness (see above two bullet points) enabled them to have 17 more FG attempts than Ohio State. The Buckeyes (40%) weren’t shooting too well either, as a result, Rutgers had 5 more FGs than Ohio State.
- The Buckeyes left their 1st half shooting touch (54%) in the locker room at the break. They could have used it in the final 20 minutes. In the 2nd half, OSU had 5 FGs on 21 attempts. That’s not a typo – five players had one field goal each in the second half. Ohio State had their last field goal of the game with 5:43 remaining. From that point to the end-of-game, OSU had 4 missed FG attempts, 3 turnovers and 7-10 from foul line.
- Speaking of ‘poor shooting’, Ohio State was absolutely inept from the free throw line. They shot 54% (15-28) for the game, and if I recall correctly, didn’t break the 50% threshold until Kam Williams made three consecutive FTs with less than a minute to play.
- The combined play of Kam Williams, Marc Loving and JaQuan Lyle left something to be desired on Wednesday. The three combined for 16 points on 4-18 field goal shooting and 6-9 Ft shooting. I’m sure they were just as disappointed as I was.
- I want to end this on a somewhat positive note: Jae’Sean Tate did leave it all out there against Rutgers: his 18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks provided a line score that any player should be proud to have accomplished. Well done, Jae’Sean, and thank you!
In closing, we here from senior Marc Loving:
“It’s obviously a tough pill to swallow (if it’s over), but if you left it all out there you really don’t regret anything,” Loving said.
Asked if he did just that, Loving said, “I don’t have any regrets.”
I had to read that quote a couple of times. The lack of self-awareness on Loving’s part is staggering. In 37 minutes, Loving had 5 points (2-5), 1 rebound, 2 assists and 2 turnovers. If that performance makes him think that he “left it all out there”, his definition of effort falls far short of mine.
Who the hell knows? Per Adam Jardy of the dispatch.com , Thad (as of Wednesday evening) would not commit to accepting an NIT invitation, if offered. Frankly, I see no need to extend the season. There is nothing to be gained by post season practice with this team.