(Image courtesy thelantern.com, game information courtesy ohiostatebuckeyes.com, ESPN.com, stats courtesy of teamrankings.com)

Ohio State (7-1, 1-0) jumped out early and gradually pulled away for a 79-59 win  over the Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-2, 0-1).  At the 15:31 mark, the game was tied 5-5. For the balance of the first half, Ohio State, due primarily to Minnesota’s shooting ineptitude, took a 39-28 lead to the locker room. Due to foul issues, both teams had ‘star’ players MIA. In 12 minutes of play, Minnesota’s Jordan Murphy had 3 points and 3 rebounds. Ohio State’s Kaleb Wesson, in 5 minutes of play, had 1 point and 1 rebound. Thankfully, Ohio State’s Andre Wesson and Musa Jallow combined for 22 points and 3 rebounds. 

Since he was well rested, Kaleb Wesson had a very productive second half. He scored 14 points (5-8 FG, 4-6 ft) to lead Ohio State’s pull-away win. Both teams played and performed about the same in each half, fortunately with Ohio State holding the scoring advantage in both periods. 

The Buckeyes had six players in double figures. They were Andre Wesson (16 points), Kaleb Wesson (15), C.J. Jackson (11), Musa Jallow (11), Kyle Young (10) and Duane Washington, Jr. (10).  Kyle pulled in a team high 8 rebounds and C.J., had a team high 4 assists.

When six of eight players who saw more than 10 minutes of game time score in double digits, I think “balanced scoring” comes to mind.

The Golden Gophers were led by Amir Coffee (19) and Dupree McBrayer (13). Jordan Murphy and Daniel Oturu pulled down 7 rebounds each. Isiah Washington led Minnesota with 3 assists. 

Ohio State shot 47% from the field (28-60), 41% (7-17) from 3-point range and 80% from the foul line (16-20). 

Minnesota shot 39% from the field (20-50),  0% (that’s not a typo) from 3-point range (0-13) and 59% (19-32) from the foul line. Let’s just say this wasn’t one of Minnesota’s better shooting performances.

What Went Right

Ohio State turned in yet another very solid defensive performance. Granted, Minnesota was stone cold, particularly from long range, but there were plenty of instances where OSU defenders hand hands/bodies in the way of Gopher shooters.

Ohio State rebounded very well. Their 42 rebounds were 5-6 above their season average Their 13 offensive rebounds were 3-4 above their average, as well.

Free throw shooting improved a good bit against Minnesota. After five games of shooting in the mid-70% or less, Ohio State hit 80%. At their free throw shooting rate, this improvement is only a couple points per game – but there may be games where a point here or there may get the win for Ohio State.

What Didn’t

Not much to complain about. Minnesota outscored Ohio State 17-10 in fast break points. There needs to be more awareness of a sudden possession change, whether it be turnover or long rebound, and to beat feet to get back into what would pass for defensive positions.

Still some work to be done.

Other…

  • Things get a bit challenging for Coach Holtmann and his team over the next TBD period of time. Luther Mohammad incurred a separated shoulder during the Syracuse game. He is out for an indefinite period of time. His 28 minutes, 9 points and 3 rebounds are going to have to be made up by someones. Keyshawn Woods, Musa Jallow and Duane Washington Jr will see increased playing time.
  • Ohio State’s rebounding improved understandably, from the previous game. Against Syracuse, OSU had a season low 31 rebounds. Against Minnesota they had a season high 42 rebounds.
  •  Keyshawn Woods, starting for Luther Mohammad, didn’t light up the scoreboard. He was 0-5 from the field and was held scoreless. However, he did have 2 assists, a steal and 5 rebounds, KW did find ways to contribute.
  • According to teamrankings.com the Buckeyes are projected to finish the regular season 22-9 and 12-8 in B1G play. They rank Ohio State as the 16th best team in the country and #6 in the B1G. Their chance to make the NCAA’s is 77%. 

 

Up Next

The Buckeyes travel to Chicago to play the University of Illinois Wednesday evening. The game is set to tip-off at 7:00 pm ET. You can watch the game on BTN or listen to it on 97.1 The Fan. Or both.

The Fighting Illini (2-6, 0-1) are averaging 77 points per game while allowing 77 ppg.  They average 33 rebounds and 14 turnovers per game. For comparison, the Buckeyes are scoring 78 and allowing 60 points per game. Ohio State averages 37 rebounds and 12 turnovers per game.

Illinois has four players that average double figures scoring per game. They are Trent Frazier (14.7), Ayo Dosunmu (13.1), Aaron Jordan (11.1) and Giorgi Bezhanishvili (10.0). Bezhanishvili, Dosunmu and Jordan  average 4.9, 4.9 and 4.8 rebounds, respectively. Dosunmu leads Illinois with 3.4 assists per game.

A couple things of note. Illinois’ losses have come against Georgetown, Gonzaga, Xavier, Iowa State, Notre Dame and Nebraska, so they have not shied away from scheduling good teams this season. Of Giorgi Bezhanishvili’s 39 rebounds this season, 22 are at the offensive end. He’s not afraid of hitting the glass to extend possessions. Kaleb or Kyle are going to have to put their body on him.