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

The currently ranked #21 Buckeyes (12-5, 2-4) defeated Nebraska (7-10, 2-4) 80-68 to stop a post-Christmas four game losing streak. Last season, Ohio State beat Nebraska in late January to snap a five game losing streak. I’d suggest they keep the Huskers on the schedule for as long as they can. 

Ohio State had a good offensive performance, a good defensive performance (as long as they were interested) and did it without guards Duane Washington, Jr. and Luther Mohammad. These gentlemen were suspended by Coach Holtmann for “failure to meet program standards and expectations”. It’s a game-to-game situation, maybe they’ll return to the lineup in some form for the Penn State game on Saturday. 

After a woeful offensive stretch of several games, the Buckeyes had a season high six players score in double figures. CJ Walker led the parade with 18 points. He was followed by Kaleb Wesson and D.J. Carton (13 each), Andre Wesson (11) and Kyle Young and E.J. Liddell (10 each). Kaleb pulled in a game high 14 rebounds. D.J. had 5 assists while Kaleb and CJ had 4 assists each. It wasn’t all roses; Kaleb and CJ also had 4 turnovers each.

Ohio State began the game with CJ Walker committing a turnover 9 seconds into the game by apparently forgetting that once in the forecourt, he can’t cross back into the backcourt. Jesus… After 5 consecutive misses, Andre Wesson had had enough of this nonsense and hit three consecutive 3-pointers in 49 seconds to give Ohio State a 9-4 lead. Five points by Justin Ahrens in the final 1:52 of the half staked Ohio State to a 38-25 lead.  

Ohio State markedly improved their shooting by hitting 54% of their FGs and 50% of their 3-pt shots. They were abetted by Nebraska shooting 31% from the field and 11% of 3s, numbers we can sympathize with.

Ohio State opened things up for a bit in the second half by pushing the lead to twenty points, 58-38 and the ten minute mark. A minute and a half later, the lead was 25 (68-43) before complacency set in.  Nebraska started to heat up in the half (55% from field, 62% from 3-pt) to The Buckeyes lead was gradually whittle to 12 points as the game ended, 80-68.

The Cornhuskers had four players in double figures. Thorir Thorbjarnarson led with 15 points on 5-8 shooting from 3-point range. Yvan Ouedraogo, Cam Mack and Jervay Green each had 10 points. Thorir led Nebraska with 6 rebounds and Cam had 6 assists. 

Ohio State shot 54% (30-55) from the field, 45% (10-22) from 3-point range and 67% (10-15) from the foul line. 

Nebraska shot 42% from the field (28-66), 41% (9-22) from 3-point range and 60% (3-5) from the foul line.  

This is the second consecutive game where Ohio State shot ~31% from the field. OSU’s 80% free throw shooting is quite good, but the 10 attempts are quite low.

Box Scores

If you’re curious, here’s the box score.

 

What Worked

Several things worked out well Tuesday night:

  • Clearly, the Brothers Wesson worked out quite well. Kaleb’s 13 points and 14 rebounds were his 7th double-double of the season. Andre’s 11 points and 3 rebounds were a nice complement. Andre’s “instant offense” in the early minutes of the game ignited the team.
  • The extended playing time of role players definitely worked well. D.J. Carton got his 2nd start of the season, logged in 14 more minutes than his average and had a good game. Justin Ahrens had a productive 13 minutes (up from his 10 minutes average).
  • Their offense had a much better flow to it. Ohio State made good entry passes, kept players in motion to get open and made their shots.

 

What Didn’t

In my recap of the Maryland game, I wrote:

Guard play, particularly Luther Mohammad, CJ Walker and Duane Washington, Jr was horrible. 

  • Guard play improved somewhat against Nebraska, probably for a couple reasons, but notably because Luther and Duane didn’t dress for the game. CJ, meanwhile continues to baffle me. Two for his four turnovers were inexplicable. Nine seconds into the game it didn’t occur to him where he was on the floor which resulted in a backcourt violation. Then with < 2 minutes to play, while dribbling out the clock, he dribbles it off his foot out of bounds. For a red-shirt junior, his basketball awareness is disappointing. Maybe my friend JC can get CJ a sit-down with Walk “Clyde” Frazier, or possibly Bob Cousy to learn the finer points of point guard play.
  • Their “big lead, don’t give a shit defense” is disappointing. They failed to close out on shooters, failed to anticipate and move to cut off driving lanes and failed to block out on their defensive boards. These mental lapses may have been okay Tuesday, but from here on out, nope.

General

Andre Wesson has developed as a person that you really want on your team. He’s tough, aggressive and has significantly improved his offense to the point there is little reason, aside form fouls or injuries, to take him out for extended periods.

The more I see of E.J. Liddell, the more I enjoy this young man. His overall game is developing nicely. He play’s bigger than his height (6’6″) and he plays quicker than his height. 

Up Next

The Buckeyes head to University Park, PA for a rematch against the Nittany Lions. (12-4, 3, 2-3). When the teams played on December 7th in Columbus, Ohio State throttled Penn State, 106-74. We’ll see… The game is scheduled for Saturday, January 18th with tip-off at 12:00 pm ET. You can watch the game on ESPNU or listen to it on TuneIn. Or both.