Based on a strong 2nd half performance yesterday against Northwestern, Ohio State’s Friday opponent was #1 seed Penn State. The Nittany Lions had no trouble with the ‘bye’ to move into the 2nd round.
That “thud” you heard was Penn State’s Big Ten Tournament coming to a convincing end as Ohio State avenged two regular season losses by upsetting the Lions 99-82. The Buckeyes built upon yesterday’s 2nd half 51 point blitz of Northwestern with a season high half score of 58 points half against the Nittany Lions to have a 58-34 lead at the half.
Ohio State ended the game shooting 62% from the field (36-58) and a blistering 55% from the perimeter (10-18) and 71% (15-21) from the foul line. They grabbed 37 rebounds, 8 offensive. But then, if you’r shooting over 62%, you wouldn’t have too many opportunities. Penn State shot 37% (26-71) from the field, 20% (3-15) from the perimeter and 77% (27-35) from the foul line.
Ohio State was led by five players in double figures: Ameryst Alston (31 pts, 9 ast), Cait Craft (24 pts, 6 ast), Raven Ferguson (15 pts, 7 reb), Darryce Moore (11 pts, 6 reb) and Ashley Adams (11 pts, 5 reb). I want to pay special mention to Ashley Adams. Due to foul trouble by Darryce Moore, Ashley was rotated in at Center for the last eight minutes of the game. In those eight minutes, Ashley had 11 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks and an assist. This was coming up big in a big game for Ashley. Well done.
Penn State was led by Ariel Edwards (29 pts, 10 rebs), Maggie Lucas (21 pts, 6 rebs) and Dara Taylor (14 pts, 5 rebs, 8 ast).
The Buckeyes got off to a hot start, and at the 13:11 mark led 22-18, paced by Ameryst Alston’s 9 points and Cait Craft’s 6 points. By “hot start”, I mean 8-10 from the field, and 6-7 from 3-point range. Maggies Lucas was keeping PSU close with her 8 points. Ten minutes later, The Buckeyes were up 28-18 thanks to treys by Craft and Alston.
At the under-8 timeout, OSU held a 37-27 lead. The Buckeyes had a 4 minutes stretch midpoint in the half where they outscored PSU 16-4 to take a 32-20 lead. At the under-6 timeout, OSU had increased its lead to 43-28. It appeared the Thursday’s 2nd half blitz of Northwestern (51 point) may be eclipsed. At the 2:17 mark, the Buckeyes hit the 51 point level. PSU took a time-out with 2:11 to play in the half, with Ohio State leading 51-30. A three-pointer by Alston with :04 remaining gave Ohio State a 58-34 lead at the half.
In the half, Ohio State shot 72% (23-32) and 71% (10-14) from 3-point range. They only had 6 turnovers, and with that type of shooting, you’d expect OSU to have a lot of assists, which they did with 15. Penn State didn’t shoot poorly at 47% (14-30), but if your opponent is shooting over 70%, it’s hard to keep up.
The Buckeyes had three players in double figures at the half; Ameryst Alston with 23 points, Cait Craft with 16 points and Darryce Moore with 10 points.
For the 1st half, Ameryst Alston had 6 assists and Cait Craft had 5, so they shared and played well, especially together. Four of Alston’s assists were to Craft, and three of Crafts assists were to Alston.
In 2nd half play, through the first five minutes the two teams were engaged in trading baskets, which from OSU’s point of view was fine since it was sitting on a 24 point halftime lead, and maintained their lead 69-45 at the 14:49 mark. At the under-12 timeout, OSU was maintaining its lead, 75-50. At the under-8 timeout, PSU was making a bit of a run, but OSU still held a 75-58 lead. At the under-4 timeout, the Buckeyes were maintaining their lead, 85-67. At a 3:39 OSU timeout, a 3-pt by Lucas moved PSU to within 13, 85-72. This was a nice run by Penn State, but Ohio State had the lead and was working to get the clock in their favor as well. At the 2-minute mark, OSU held a 92-78 lead. With :17 remaining, Martina Ellerbe took Ohio State’s last shot of the game, a missed 3-pointer. Too bad it missed, if it would have gone in, leading 99-82, the Buckeyes would have hit the Century Mark.
The Buckeyes are now at .500 for the season, and play the winner of this afternoon’s Iowa-Purdue game. The game tips off tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 PM EST and will be televised on BTN