When ESPN selected tonight’s game between Ohio State and Penn State to be one of their Monday night games before the season started, people may have questioned why they would have chosen a matchup between the preseason conference favorite Nittany Lions and a Buckeye squad that was not picked to finish in the top four of the Big Ten. Now that decision looks like a brilliant one as tonight’s game featured a showdown between the two teams atop the conference standings and the top two offensive teams in the Big Ten.
The game opened as expected with both teams trading baskets while playing at a high tempo. Penn State features a talented group of guards but took a page out of Minnesota’s playbook by attacking inside. With the game tied at 9 the inside attack started paying dividends as not only where the Nittany Lions making baskets, they were drawing fouls, igniting a 9 to 0 run to give Penn State an 18-9 lead six and half minutes into the game. The Buckeyes finally got their offense going but they couldn’t stop the Penn State attack for more than a possession or two at a time. OSU got the Penn State lead down to five at one point and to four at another point but both times the Nittany Lions came roaring back to quickly extend the lead. After the Buckeyes pulled to within four, 28-24, with seven minutes remaining, Penn State promptly went on 13 to 2 run to extend their lead to 41-26 with just under two to go. That margin survived the rest of the half and Penn State went into the locker room with a 45-30 lead.