The 4th seeded Buckeyes faced the 5th seeded Nebraska Cornhuskers this afternoon, with the winner playing top-seeded Michigan. The Buckeyes look to win the season rubber match against the Huskers, and tournament play is a good time to get the tie-breaker. And break the tie they did, as the Buckeyes stormed back from an 18 point deficit to win, 71-67.
What a barnburner. Ohio State opened an early lead, got thoroughly outplayed in the middle portion of the game, and took the lead for goo with less than a minute to play. Whew!
The Buckeyes overcame initially poor free throw shooting, to end up 17-28 (61%) from the line. From the field, they shot 45% (25-55) and grabbed 43 rebounds, 14 of them offensive rebounds. Ohio State did not do well protecting the ball, committing 15 turnovers. Nebraska shot 37% (22-60) from the field and an impressive 85% (17-20) from the foul line. Nebraska pulled in 33 rebounds. The Huskers turned it over 11 times.
Ohio State was led by LaQuinton Ross’ 26 points and 13 rebounds and Amedeo Della Valle’s 12 points, 6 rebounds and endless energy & hustle. Nebraska was led by Terran Pettway’s 20 points and Walter Pitchford’s 15 points.
In a games of scoring runs, Nebraska closed the 1st half and opened the 2nd with a 11-0 run to move their lead to 34-28. They then proceeded to extend their lead at the 16:44 mark from 36-30 to 48-30 at the 13:40 mark. Ohio State put full court pressure on Nebraska and Amedeo Della Valle provided the energy as the Buckeyes kept chipping away until they re-took the lead 64-63 on an LQR free throw with :59 to play.
At the half, Nebraska used a late run to take the lead 31-28; in the last 1:15 of the half, the Huskers scored 6 straight points. Ohio State shot an impressive 50% (12-24) from the field, which was dampened a bit by poor perimeter shooting of 13% (1-8). Ohio State helped itself with early, aggressive rebounding (3 by Amir Williams) but sloppy ball handling, 9 turnovers, limited their offensive opportunities. Nebraska, after starting the game 2-12, shot 37% (12-32), and 39% (5-13) from the perimeter. Nebraska helped themselves by committing only three turnovers.
At the under-12 timeout, OSU held an 11-7 lead, which was aided by poor Nebraska shooting (2-12) but hindered by poor ball handling, by committing 6 turnovers. At the 8:02 timeout, the Buckeyes, helped by 2 beautiful Scott=>Williams feeds, led 20-14. At the 2:09 mark, OSU led 27-25. In the last three minutes, the Huskers drilled three treys, one by Pitchford and two by Gallegos.
In the 2nd half, Nebraska picked up where they left off At the under-12 mark, they led Ohio State 48-35. To this point in the half, Nebraska had outscored OSU 17-9. Then OSU turned up the heat and began to make some shots.
Ohio State’s next game is tomorrow afternoon in the semi-final against Michigan. Tip -off is scheduled for 1:40 PM EST and will be televised on CBS, check local listings. LiveChat will be here, approximately 30 minutes before tip-off. Check local listings.