Ohio State Rallies for 62-59 Win Over Marist

Written November 23rd, 2013 by Charles

It may be blurry but its also beautiful; Ameryst Alston with the shot that led to the game winning 'and 1'.

It may be blurry but its also beautiful; Ameryst Alston with the shot that led to the game winning ‘and 1′.

The Ohio State women’s basketball team didn’t get much of a break after their win over Old Dominion last night in the first game of the Hall-Of-Fame Challenge as the Buckeyes faced the Marist Red Foxes in the second game of the challenge.  Fans of OSU women’s basketball probably remember Marist as the team that upset the Buckeyes in the opening round of the 2007 NCAA tournament and I at least was looking for revenge.

Ohio State opened the scoring with a Darryce Moore layup on the first possession but things slowed down for the Buckeyes from there and they found themselves in a 10-6 hole five minutes into the game.  A pair of layups by Raven Ferguson and then a layup by Ashley Adams gave the Buckeyes the lead back 12-10 but the Red Foxes responded with a 7 to 0 run to go up 17-12 with eight minutes remaining in the half.  The two teams went back and forth from there with Marist extending their lead to 30-20 with just under two minutes to go.  OSU put on a great performance in the final twenty seconds of the half though, getting an old fashioned three point play from Ashley Adams, forcing a turnover, and then closing the half with a Martina Ellerbe layup that cut the Marist lead to 30-25 as the two teams went into the locker rooms.  The key difference between the two teams in the first half was the outside shooting, Marist was on fire from beyond the arc and that gave them the lead even though they shot pretty much the same overall as Ohio State.

The two teams traded baskets to open the second half before OSU put on a 9 to 2 run to take a 38-37 lead just over six minutes into the second half.  That lead didn’t last long as Marist quickly hit back-to-back three pointers to retake the lead.  The two teams went back-and-forth for the next ten minutes with the Red Foxes answering with three pointers every time the Buckeyes would manage to put together a bit of a run.  With four minutes remaining, the Buckeyes found themselves down 57-49 and things weren’t looking good.  A three pointer by Maleeka Kynard changed things though, keying a run of 8 unanswered points to tie the game at 57 with just under two minutes to go.  The pattern of Marist always having an answered seemed to repeat as the Red Foxes immediately hit a layup to go back up by two and then OSU’s leading scorer Darryce Moore fouled out while fighting for a loose ball.  The Buckeyes refused to give in though and Ameryst Alston hit a jumper to tie the game and drew a foul with the ‘and one’ putting OSU up 60-59.  A pair of free throws by Amy Scullion would stretch the lead to three and intense defensive pressure by the Buckeyes on the last possession kept Marist from getting comfortable and finding a good shot and their last second three pointer was off the mark as Ohio State pulled off the comeback win, 62-59.

A key factor in Ohio State’s second half comeback was the performance of Darryce Moore.  After being limited to 2 points in the first half, largely due to foul trouble, Moore exploded in the second half, scoring 15 of her team high 17 points before fouling out with four minutes to go.  Moore played like she was on a mission, using her size and athleticism to wreak havoc inside on offense.  Moore also added 5 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal, and a block.  Ashley Adams added 8 points, 5 rebounds, and a pair of assists and it appears that Kevin McGuff is building a very nice high-low post game with Adams and Moore.

Despite being limited to only 8 points, Ameryst Alston came up huge for the Buckeyes with her three point play in the final minute that put OSU up for good.  Alston had struggled with turnover issues for much of the season but tonight she did an excellent job of taking care of the ball, recording 3 assists without turning the ball over.  After failing to hit a field goal last night, Cait Craft only managed 2 tonight but they were both huge three pointers that came at key points to keep OSU within striking distance.

Under Jim Foster it was rare for Ohio State to get much scoring production off of its bench.  Things appear to be different under McGuff and tonight was no exception as Martina Ellerbe and Maleeka Kynard each came off the bench to score 8 points.  Ellerbe also added 6 rebounds while Kynard added 4 steals and hit some key three pointers that helped OSU rally.

Ohio State found itself in a hole for most of this game due to the amazing three point shooting from Marist as the Red Foxes shot 43% (12 of 28) from behind the arc.  Marist is definitely a talented shooting team and the Buckeyes made it easier for them by often being late to close out on the shots, giving the Red Foxes many good looks.  OSU tried multiple defenses to try and slow down Marist’s outside game, we even saw some 1-3-1 and 1-2-2, but it wasn’t until the Buckeyes went with a man-to-man defense with extended pressure that they had consistent success on defense.  In the closing minutes the Buckeyes went into a full court press with great success, most importantly on the final possession.

Turnovers continue to be an issue for the Buckeyes as they turned the ball over 18 times today, many of those being unforced.  OSU did have a very solid performance on the boards, winning the rebounding battle 38 to 23 and limiting Marist to only 5 offense rebounds while pulling down 12 of their own.  Another big improvement came at the charity stripe where OSU knocked down all 10 of their shots, a big change from their struggles against Georgia and VCU.

This game certainly wasn’t pretty and Ohio State should have beaten Marist.  The game showed that the Buckeyes will be vulnerable to the long ball until they learn to close out quicker and turnovers continue to be an issue for this team.  That said, there is lots of good to take away from tonight’s game.  OSU trailed for most of the game and every time they managed to tie it up or take a lead, it seemed that Marist would just come right back down and nail a three pointer, or two.  This could have easily frustrated the Buckeyes and led to them forcing things on offense and while there were a few moments where it seemed that OSU was trying to match Marist on three pointers, for the most part they stuck to their offense and hung around.  In the end the Buckeyes tightened up their defense, got some stops, and came up the points they needed to come away with the win.  Tonight showed that this team is tough and they are fighters, things that are going to pay major dividends down the road.

The Buckeyes don’t have time to enjoy this win though as they return to action tomorrow at 3:30 when they face Bowling Green in the third day of the Hall of Fame Challenge.  Bowling Green has a 5-1 record on the season with a loss to Marist and a win over Old Dominion in the Challenge; the Falcons beat Michigan two weeks ago so they will be a tough matchup.

1 Comment

  1. KenNo Gravatar
    November 24th, 2013 at 11:56 am

    You’re right, Charles, this wasn’t pretty but it was a good win for the Buckeyes. Between Marist’s 1st half 3-point shooting and OSU’s turnovers, it was “uh-oh” time. Credit to this team for coming back with surges at the end of each half to pull this one out. Very encouraging.


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