(Image and game information courtesy ohiostatebuckeyes.com, ESPN.com, other image courtesy erichatheway.com, stats courtesy of teamrankings.com)
The #8 Buckeyes (22-6, 13-2) went into University Park Thursday to avenge a last-second loss to Penn State (19-9, 9-7). They would have settled for a hail-Mary loss. Instead, they were routed 79-56. This was a perfect storm of Penn State playing aggressive, focused ball while the Buckeyes were passive and indifferent. The 21 first half points were the fewest scored by the Buckeyes in the first half this season.
This game seemed to be pretty much over abut two minutes into the game. That was the point where Kaleb Wesson, after staking OSU to a 4-2 left the game with an injury to his ankle(s). It seemed that the wind was out of OSU’s sails and they went passive/slow/indifferent to PSU’s aggressive/quick/focused play. In the four and a half minutes after Kaleb’s injury, the score went from 4-2 (Ohio State) to 14-4 (Penn State).
In the first ten minutes of the game, Penn State outscored Ohio State 22-10. In the ten minutes leading to the half, Penn State outscored Ohio State 23-11. This was capped by a length-of-floor inbounds pass that PSU converted into a layup-and-one with 1 second remaining on the clock. Penn State went into the half with a 45-21 lead, a 24 point margin.
In the 2nd half, Penn State upped the margin to 30 points (54-24) at the 17:49 mark before Ohio State pulled to within 16 points (58-42) with 10:37 remaining. In the first ten minutes of the second half, Ohio State outscored Penn State 21-13, but the final ten minutes belonged to the Nittany Lions, 21-14.
The Buckeyes were led by C.J. Jackson (13 points) and Kieta Bates-Diop (10). Kaleb Wesson (7) and Jae’Sean Tate (6) also chipped in somewhat. Micah Potter had a ‘double six-pack’ with 6 points and a team leading 6 rebounds.
The Nittany Lions were led by Tony Carr (30), Shep Garner (13), Josh Reaves (12) and Mike Watkins (11). Watkins also recorded a double-double with a game high 10 rebounds.
Ohio State shot 39% from the field (21-54), 13% (2-15) from 3-point range and 78% from the foul line (12-17).
Penn State shot 48% from the field (25-59), 45% from 3-point range (9-20) and 67% (18-27) from the foul line.
What Went Right
Shooting in general, 3-pt shooting in particular: Due to some tenacious PSU defense, Ohio State’s offense looked out of sync all night. When the tone of the game was being set in the first half, Ohio State was dismal with their shooting. I think 8-29 from the field and 0-7 from 3-pt range makes my point.
Composure: The Ohio State offense was pushed out of sync by a pretty aggressive, quick Penn State defense. The guards (Jackson, Dakich)made bad passes and OSU looked like it couldn’t figure out what to do on offense. On multiple possessions, Ohio State ran deep into the shot clock, despite being behind most of the game, before shooting. The Buckeyes even had a shot clock violation.
That’s all I have for now.
- The team seemed to be struggling with integrating Kam Williams back into the lineup. In 16 minutes, his play was marginal: 2 points (1-4), 2 rebounds and an assist. On a night where offense was scarce, the team needed to look more for Kam and he needed to be looking to pull the trigger more often.
- Penn State’s aggressive play intimidated Ohio State. Part of that was PSU’s 7 blocked shots. There were at least 1-2 other OSU shots that were “hurried” (missed) due to anticipation of being blocked.
- According to teamrankings.com, the Buckeyes are now projected to finish the regular season 24-7 and 15-3 in B1G play. They rank Ohio State as the 20th best team and give them a 100% chance to make the NCAA’s. Good news, all. Based their Power Rankings, Ohio State has a 36% chance to beat Michigan on Sunday…
- Although the game was an eye-sore, Ohio State is still tied with Michigan State for 1st place in the Big Ten. The Spartans close out with games @ Northwestern, vs Illinois and @ Wisconsin. Ohio State closes out @ Michigan, vs Rutgers and @ Indiana. Despite soundly being outplayed, it’s only one game. Maybe this is the jolt the Buckeyes need to close out the regular season and enter post-season play.
The Buckeyes travel to Ann Arbor for a Sunday afternoon game versus the Wolverines. If you recall, Ohio State won the previous meeting (December 4th) 71-62. Tip-off is scheduled for 1:00 pm ET. The game can be seen on CBS and/or you can listen to it on 97.1.
The Wolverines are averaging 74 points per game while allowing 64 ppg. They average 33 rebounds and 9 turnovers per game. For comparison, the Buckeyes are scoring 76 and allowing 66. Ohio State averages 37 rebounds and 12 turnovers per game.
Michigan has five players that average double figures scoring per game. They are Moritz Wagner (14.6), Charles Matthews (13.8) and Mohammed-Ali Abdur-Rahkman (11.7). Wagner leads the team with 7.3 rebounds per game.
Ohio State has four players averaging double figures; Kieta Bates-Diop (19.6), C.J. Jackson (12.5), Jae’Sean Tate (12.4) and Kaleb Wesson (11.0). KBD leads the Buckeyes with 8.8 rebounds per game and C.J. with 4.1 assists per game.