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

The #14 ranked Buckeyes (12-2, 2-1) hosted #8 Michigan State (13-2, 2-0) on Saturday. It didn’t go well. Michigan State rode a second half shooting discrepancy to overcome Ohio State 86-77.  Ohio State held the lead at the half, 43-36, but the Spartans used 76% shooting in the second half to outscore the Buckeyes 50-34 to secure their win.

Ohio State somewhat indicated how the game would go by missing their first five FG attempts and through five minutes of play were 3-10 from the field (This was the front end of a bookend performance, stick with me). Fortunately, MSU didn’t shoot much better and “lost” 5 possessions due to turnovers.  Aside from the shooting, it was a very positive first half performance by the Buckeyes. They were 9-9 from the foul line, matched MSU with 19 rebounds and had committed only 1 turnover.

This was a very closely played first half, with neither team holding more than a two-possession margin. At the 2:45 mark, with the score tied 31-all, Kaleb Wesson had had enough nonsense. Through the balance of the half, he scored 8 points (3-3 shooting) and moved the Buckeyes into the half with a 43-36 lead.

In the second half, Michigan State kept chipping away at the lead to finally take the lead 51-50 five minutes into the half. Ohio State stayed step-for-step (basket-for-basket, actually) and finally grabbed the lead, 72-71 with 4:53 remaining in the game. The rest of the game was all Michigan State. They outscored OSU 17-5 in the last five minutes. During that stretch, Ohio State shot 2-12 from the field, 1-4 from the foul line and committed two turnovers. 

The Buckeyes had five players in double figures. They were Kaleb Wesson (25 points), Luther Mohammad (12) and Andre Wesson, C.J. Jackson and Duane Washington, Jr (10 points each).  Kaleb had 8 rebounds. C.J. led the Buckeyes with 5 assists. 

The Spartans were led by Cassius Winston (25), Nick Ward (21) and Matt McQuaid (12). Ward and Kenny Goins had 8 rebounds each. Winston had 5 assists. 

Ohio State shot 44% from the field (27-62), 29% (7-24) from 3-point range and 76% (16-21) from the foul line. 

Michigan State shot 54% from the field (25-46), 33% (6-18) from 3-point range and 81% (31-37) from the foul line. 

What Went Right

First half play was pretty good. They shot decently enough (44%) matched MSU in rebounds, were perfect (9-9) from the foul line and committed only 1 turnover. 

The use of Kyle Young in the offense. Kyle is an absolute beast on the baseline. He seems to be getting a rhythm with the guards in setting up the weak side lob/dunk, which is a fairly high percentage shot.

That’s really about it.

What Didn’t

Shooting: In their opening five minutes and closing five minutes, Ohio State was 5-22 from the field. They shot 43% from the game and didn’t look comfortable do it. They were getting open looks, but they weren’t going in. To me, they looked hurried in their ‘grab-and-shoot’ process. A lot of their missed shots seemed rushed.

Transition defense: Michigan State outscored Ohio State 13-1 in second half fast-break points. 

Second half rebounding: This may have contributed to the above statistic, but after playing MSU even on the boards in the first half, they were out-rebounded 18-7 in the second half.

Other…

  • This was a good learning experience for the younger players at Ohio State. They went up against a veteran team coached by one of the best coaches in the game. For most of the game they held their own.
  •  Ohio State was exposed for its lack of forecourt depth. The Brothers Wesson played 58 of a potential 80 minutes. Kyle Young 21 of 40. Jaedon LeDee was credited with 1 minute and Justin Ahrens (listed as a Forward, but really more of a guard) with 1 minute. Other than that, the Buckeyes went with a smaller lineup. In B1G play, although guard play is critical, ample front line talent is a requirement.
  • Getting back to young Mr. Young for a moment. His baseline and offensive rebounding efforts/results remind me a bit of Jae’Sean Tate. Similar to Tate, his outside game needs burnished; he’s not much of an outside nor “slashing” threat. He’s only a sophomore, so he can grow into rounding out his game. 
  • According to teamrankings.com, the Buckeyes are projected to finish the regular season 21-10 and 11-9 in B1G play. They rank Ohio State as the 22nd best team in the country and #6 in the B1G. Their chance to make the NCAA’s is 75%. 

 

Up Next

The Buckeyes play Rutgers University Wednesday, January 9th. The game is set to tip-off at 12:00 pm ET. You can watch the game on BTN or listen to it on 97.1 The Fan. Or both.

The Scarlet Knights (7-6, 0-3) are averaging 69 points per game while allowing 63 ppg.  They average 41 rebounds and 13 turnovers per game. For comparison, the Buckeyes are scoring 78 and allowing 62 points per game. Ohio State averages 37 rebounds and 12 turnovers per game.

Rutgers has two players that average double figures scoring per game. They are 6’7″ F Eugene Omoruyi (16.0) and 6’4″ G Geo Baker (13.9). Omoruyi also leads the team with 8.5 rebounds per game. Baker leads the team with 5.0 assists per game.