The Buckeyes at Value City Arena shook a 20-point deficit and handled TTUN with an important early season victory – 71-62. They had slid behind 43-23 with slightly more than a minute remaining in the first half, when they mounted an energetic, and admirable comeback primarily focused on a grand defensive performance that limited TTUN to score 19 points over the remaining 21 (+) minutes of the game.
The Buckeyes now 7-3, 2-0 lit it up with a 26-3 run between the end of the first half and the beginning of the second. The bursts came from Keita Bates-Diop, who, with it all said and done ended the game with 18 points and nine rebounds. The Buckeyes closed out the game on a 15-2 run as C.J. Jackson added 17 points to the final tally. Jae’Sean Tate contributed 14 points. It would be Tate’s big dunk at the end of the first half that completely shifted the momentum of the game as TTUN squirmed to keep its concentration after noteworthy start.
TTUN is now 7-3, and 1-1 in the Big Ten. They will go back to the blackboard and wonder what happened in this one. And the answer may not be easily found. The Buckeyes are a better team than many perceive. They have a bit of that Jekyll and Hyde syndrome that is possessive of the football team – but they are better than so many in the press, and even among the opposition, is giving them. Moritz Wagner led the Wolverines with 14 points. The player I like among the dreaded Wolverines is Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman who in 37 minutes had 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 3assists. On the initial look that doesn’t appear so overwhelming. But this kid is good and has a presence on the court that takes aim from opposing players. He manages to take the primed focus from their attention. Outside of that TTUN has now blown leads in the second half to LSU and, now, the Buckeyes. But enough of them – Who Cares!
The Buckeyes seemingly was having trouble closing out games as they showed in the Butler and Clemson games. But, perhaps, a sacred path has been discovered. Because in the last two games the Buckeyes have not only charmed me – but has clearly shown vast improvement fueled by determination. That characteristic is a major hurdle in athleticism. It is a possession needed to – yes – close the deal out. They are doing it right now.
Next up is the Tribe of William and Mary who is currently 5-2 having lost big to High Point, 100-66, and UCF in a thriller 75-64. Their leading scorer Sophomore 6’10” Forward, from Syracuse, delivers with an average of 19.3 points per game; while their leading re-bounder, 6’7” Sophomore G-F out of Glen Ellyn, IL, snags 9.6 per game. It all sounds good ….. right? But we are Buckeye Strong – and the Buckeyes are looking real good right now.