After some spotty play so far this season, exemplified by, at least in conference play, playing well against ranked teams and not so well against so-so team, Kevin McGuff took his team into the lions den tonight to square off against #14 Penn State.
Let’s get this on the table; not a whole lot went right tonight for the Buckeyes. In fact in terms of “skills” such as shooting and ball handling, almost nothing went right. It was just a horrific offensive performance. However, the Bucks did continue to play with effort and tenacity on defense, so even on nights where we can’t make a shot nor hang on to the ball, the team lays end-to-end effort and they should be recognized for that.
In the 66-42 loss, the Buckeyes were led by Ameryst Alston (12 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists) and Ashley Adams (8 points, 10 rebounds) while the Nittany Lions were led by Maggie Lucas(18 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists), Ariel Edwards (13 points, 10 rebounds) and Talia East (8 points, 9 rebounds).
The outcome shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise with the inconsistent play we’ve seen this year and the team’s tendency to lapse into off-shooting ( 29%) and off-ball handling nights (19 turnovers). This was a David vs Goliath matchup, without the slingshot.
Things got off to a brisk start with the teams tied at 8 points apiece after 5 minutes of play. OSU was OK offensively at this point shooting 44% ( 4-9) from the field, but 0-3 from 3-point range (just stop it, OK?).
At the 10:50 mark, keyed by a 3-pointer by Maggie Lucas, the Nittany Lions held 1 13-1o lead. Neither team was shooting well (low 30%’s), but PSU did have a bit of an advantage with whistled fouls; none to OSU’s 4. With Penn State being a good foul shooting team, this may come into play later in the half. With Cait Craft having 2 fouls at this point, the backcourt situation could have been better. However, over the next 30 seconds, PSU’s Maggie Lucas played some ‘big time’ ball with a rebound/assist followed by a steal/layup to move PSU’s lead to 17-10. At the under-8 timeout, PSU led 19-10, and although oncourt play was fairly even, the Buckeyes’ horrendous shooting of 29% (5-19) helped to dig their hole.
At the 5:37 mark, a layup by Ashley Adams stopped the bleeding, but 15 seconds late a jumper by Maggie Lucas reopened the wound. At the 4:18 mark another (3rd I think) steal and layup by PSU pushed the margin to 25-15. Although holding serve in the rebounding 15 to PSU’s 14, the Buckeyes were just getting hammered with turnovers, committing 11 to PSU’s 5 turnovers. Bad enough losing possessions via turnovers, but when they get converted into opponent layups, the game is really going sideways.
At the half, Ohio State was mercifully down only 29-21. Neither team shot well with PSU at 36% going 12-33 while OSU was 32% (8-25).Not exactly a shooting clinic by either team. Ohio State’s issues continued to be turnovers, committing 13 in het half; several of which led to Nittany Lion breakaway layups. Ameryst Alston led the Bucks with 7 points, but was only 2-9 from the field,and Amy Scullion backed her up with 5 points on perfect 2-2 shooting. As expected, PSU was led by Maggie Lucas’ 13 points (5-12) and Dara Taylor’s 6 points (3-6). This was what I’d feared, poor shooting and poor ball security, which fed the opponent’s offense. Although the Buckeyes continued their solid half-court defense, giving up baskets on turnover breakaways put OSU in the hole at the half.
In 2nd half action, 20 seconds into play and PSU steals the ball, gets a layup +1 and pushes their lead to 32-21. That didn’t take long; so much for starting the 2nd half with the ball. This was quickly followed by a missed OSu 3-pointer, natch, and the ensuing PSU long rebound breakaway layup. We’re 2 minutes into the 2nd half and PSU has outscored OSU 5-0. We need to turn this around emphatically, and now!
At the under-16 timeout, the Nittany Lions have outscored the Buckeyes 7-zip and hold a 15 point lead, 36-21. OSU has gone 0-7 from the field at this point. Finally, a 3-pointer by Raven Ferguson at the 13:59 mark was Ohio State’s first FG of the half. Of course, 30 seconds later, Raven turns the ball over which leads to a PSU basket. This is one snake-bit team tonight. They fight hard for brief successes, only to have something offset it.
At the under-12, Penn State had outscored Ohio State 11-4 in the half and held a 40-25 lead. Moving to the under-8 mark and PSU now leads 47-32, so at least the margin hasn’t grown any. Unfortunately, it hasn’t shrunk any, either. Aside from having 18 turnovers at this point (season high is 26, so don’t go away), OSU is shooting 28% from the filed and 20% from the perimeter. We are officially in “can’t hit the broad side of a barn” territory. And we miss two more FG attempts..
At the 3:00 minute mark, PSU holds a 56-39 lead, neither team is shooting well, PSU is hanging on to the ball a bit better than OSU, but the Lions are absolutely cleaning up on the boards, 46-33, which ended up a 49-34 margin.
Next game is Sunday, January 19th at home against Iowa. Tip-off is at 3:00PM EST and will be broadcast by BTN.