(Photo courtesy of The Action Network)
The first half of the Ohio State University and Houston NCAA Tournament Game in Tulsa was a back and forth – enough to keep us all glued to our seats. CJ Jackson added some unusual fire as he hit three of six three’s, scoring 11 points in the first half. Kaleb Wesson, the Buckeye’s star player, got into the concern level with fouls and was sat on two occasions – hitting for six as the half ended.
The problem for the Buckeyes and their uncharacteristic style of play was they had problems getting the ball on the inside to Kaleb and the bigger men. This brought them outside as Kaleb, as well, hit two of four on three’s. Houston in the paint was 20-2 in the scoring category – something quite difficult to overcome in the goal of a win.
Corey Davis, Jr. for the Cougars would finish up with 21 for the game. In the first he nailed down 11 of those 21. Galen Robinson, Jr. would add an impressive 13 for Houston as the final clock ticked down.
Musa Jallow who played well in the first came up silent in the second. All of his six points for the game came in the first. Keyshawn Woods added ten for the Buckeyes.
At one point, towards the final minutes of the game, the Buckeyes went scoreless in over four minutes. Opportunities existed for the Buckeyes to pull ahead. Even when the Cougars got strong and confident, hitting their shots, and moving the ball on the inside, the Buckeyes would find a hit from CJ Jackson to pull them within striking distance. But on each of these occasions, the lack of fire simply did not flourish. It’s as if the Buckeyes simply did not believe they could win.
The Buckeyes shot a miserable 38.8% from the field and an eye-closing-sigh-out-loud 68.8% from the Free throw. Houston wasn’t any better from the line – hitting 68%, but from the field they 45.6% – only a tad better than the Buckeyes – but good enough to now punch their ticket to Kansas City to meet up with the Wildcats of Kentucky. The final being Houston 74 and the Buckeyes 59.
I do wish I had better news here. But I don’t. The Buckeyes played well, in truth, but just not as well as we have seen them, particularly in the beginning of the season. It seemed as if 2019 was not meant for jubilant moments for the Buckeyes Men’s basketball – what happened?
Well, the season is now complete. The Buckeyes finish the year 20-15 and were 8th in the Big Ten.
Congratulations to the Houston Cougars who have not seen the Sweet 16 since the years of Olajuwon back in 1984.
So what do we do now ….