Ohio State Takes Fight Out Of Irish, 64-61

Written December 21st, 2013 by Ken

Ohio State (11-0) and Notre Dame (8-3) squared off this evening in the Gotham Classic played in, well, NYC. The preview to the game is here; the recap is below.

Ohio State overcame a cold 2nd half of shooting (10 – 29 ) 34% to pull out a last second thriller against the Irish of Notre Dame

After a slow start of bad shots and trading turnovers, Ohio State took a 5-4 lead to 11-4 powered by two Shannon Scott 3-pointers at the 13:49 mark. However, ND’s Garrick Sherman hit two Ft’s and a FG to pull ND within 1, 13-12 at the 11 minute mark. A Crafty reverse layup at 8:26 moved OSU ahead 17-12. It was a really nice move, actually; Aaron beat his man baseline on the right side, then went under and up for the basket.  An errant Marc Loving outlet pass was intercepted and converted to a ND basket at just under 7:30 in the half.

So far, this was a game of one-and-dones as neither team looked particularly interested in offensive rebounding (ND – 4, OSU – 1).  But then you actually have to have someone in rebounding position in the paint, which the Buckeyes had no interest in at the time. Regardless, at the under-8 timeout, OSU was up 17-14. At the 6:31 mark, a nice spin move by LQR gave OSU two more, but it was quickly answered by a basket by Jerian Grant. Ohio State seemed determined to work Amir Williams on the inside. On several occasions, Ohio State penetration into the paint would result in the ball handler (Smith, LQR, Scott)  dishing off to Amir for an easy basket. This aggressiveness to work the interior and provide Amir with easy scoring opportunities is a welcome sight.

Driving layup +1 by Aaron Craft at 4:42 moved lead to 24-18. Smith inside feed to Sam, no basket but drew foul at under 4 minutes with OSU leading 24-20. 2 ft and basket by sam at 3: 28-20, answered by Jerian Grant again. At just over a minute, OSU swung the ball around nicely against ND’s 2-3 zone and LQR nailed a three-pointer from “his” spot on the left wing. A Thompson sky-dunk on a put-back had OSu at 33-26, the halftime score.

For the half, OSU shot well from the field (50%, 13-26) and so-so from 3-point range (33% , 3-9). Meanwhile, Notre Dame shot 35% (11-31) from the field and zip (0-6) from the perimeter.

Two quick buckets by ND (Atkins, Grant) were then answered by an Amir Thunder-dunk. A 3rd ND field goal moved them to within two points; the Irish tied the game with a pair of free throws at the 18:00 mark. This is the start to the half that Notre Dame needed and Ohio State didn’t want.

At the 16:17 mark, a driving layup by Aaron Craft gave the Buckeyes the lead again, 37-35. I think that Craft hit a moment, where he’d had it with this nonsense, it was time to get serious. Pat Connaughton had other ideas, as his 3-pointer from the corner gave the Irish the lead, 38-37 with just under 16:00 to play.

A driving Scott layup a minute later put OSU back in the lead. This was followed by a beautiful scoop move off a drive by LQR to get Ohio State to 1 41-38 lead. This was short-lived since a Demetrius Jackson 3-ptr tied the game at 41 each.  Two Ft’s by Aaron Craft gave OSU the 43-41 lead, at 13:47, then things went quiet for a couple of minutes. A Tom Knight free throw pulled the Irish t within one, then OSU turned the ball over on the ensuing possession. Not a good answer by the Buckeyes.

A basket by Connaughton at 11:05 put ND up 44-43, but still nothing from the Buckeyes. A Connaughton dunk at 9:42 put ND up 46-43. At this point, the Buckeyes had gone scoreless for 5 minutes. LQR made one/clanked one, so the drought was somewhat broken. Well, not really, we still hadn’t scored a FG since the 14:28 mark; a span of close to 7 minutes . A Jerian Grant FG at 8:32 extended the lead to 48-44. A layup by Garrick  ‘Grizzly’ Sherman gave ND a 50-44 lead with 7:00 minutes to play. At the under-6 timeout, OSU trailed 44-52 and hadn’t made a FG in what seemed like forever.

Finally! Back-to back baskets by Amir Williams and LaQuinton Ross pulled the Buckeyes to within 4, 48-52 with 4:23 remaining.  With 2:02 remaining, OSU still trailed 50-55 and Notre Dame had the ball. Not a good situation to be in. A 3-pointer by Jerian Grant gave the Irish an 8 point lead at 1:45. Consecutive baskets by LQr and ‘Zelle (finally) pulled OSU to with 4 points, 54-58 with 44 seconds to go. Two FT’s by Shannon Scott narrowed the gap to 2 points, however Demetrius Jackson hit his FTs to move margin back to 4 points. ‘Zelle, fouled in the act (3-ptr) made them all to narrow the deficit to  1 point with :32 left in the game. A Smith basket with:16 remaining put OSU ahead 61-60.  An Irish turnover with less than 10 seconds gave OSU the ball, and Zelle was immediately fouled on the inbound play. Two FTs later and OSU was up 63-60. Aaron Craft closed out the scoring with a free throw, and the Buckeyes remained undefeated at 12-0 with a 64-61 win.

Ohio State was led by LaQuinton Ross (16 points, 11 rebounds), Amir Williams (13, 5), Shannon Scott (10, 3), Aaron Craft (10,3) and Lenzelle Smith (9,4). I mention Smith, because he had been held scoreless until 44 seconds remained in the game, then went off and scored all his points in that span. Simply amazing.. I’ll have more thoughts on this in next day or two.

Notre Dame was led by Jerian Grant (18 points), Garrick Sherman (14,6 reb), Pat Connaughton (13, 8) and Eric Atkins (10, 2).

Ohio State’s next game, is Friday, December 27th when they host University of Louisiana-Monroe at 7:00 PM EST. Television coverage will be via BTN. Please join us approximately 30 minutes before tip-off for LiveChat coverage.

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