The The #24 Ohio State Buckeyes (21-6. 8-6) host the Minnesota Golden Gophers (17-10, 6-8) this Saturday evening. The Buckeyes are out to avenge a 63-53 loss to the Gophers on January 19th. More importantly, the Buckeyes are in the midst of a five game stretch prior to the regular season finale against Michigan State. Currently, the Buckeyes sit in 5th place in the conference, one game behind Wisconsin. Ohio State wants to overtake them to get into the top four to earn a 1st round bye in the B1G Tourney.
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The Buckeyes entered tonight’s game against Northwestern looking to extend their winning streak (to two games!) and build some momentum prior to a regular season ending match against Michigan State. That they did, by moving to 21-6, 8-6 on the season with a 76-60 win over Northwestern. Since the Michigan loss, Ohio State is 2-0 in their 5-game stretch prior to hosting MSU to end the regular season. In a game that got chippy at around the 5 minute point, marked by player ejections (Cerina and LaQuinton Ross), the Buckeyes held their composure and overwhelmed the Wildcats in the 2nd half 39-27, after outscoring them in the 1st half 37-33.
Ohio State was led by four players in double figures; Amir Williams (16 pts), Sam Thompson (11), Aaron Craft (14) and Lenzelle Smith (14). Smith managed a double-double by pulling in 10 rebounds. In his first action of the season, Andrew Goldstein went scoreless. Darn it.
The Buckeyes shot 46% (23-50) and better yet, 44% (7-16) from the perimeter. The difference-maker was OSU’s foul shooting, as they outscored Northwestern 23-9 from the free throw line.
Northwestern was led by Drew Crawford (22 pts) and Tre Demps (14 pts). The Wildcats also shot 46% (23-50) from the field.
This week we lost a musical legend and great Ohioan… so, this morning’s soundtrack should help you get through the middle of your workweek.
Stingy defense and a 20-6 spurt in the second half allowed the Ohio
State Buckeyes to overcome an ugly first half and beat host Illinois 48-39 on Saturday.
A sellout crowd of 17,200 fans, many of whom were dressed like empty seats at game’s end, watched as Aaron Craft scored 14 points to lead the OSU effort. LaQuinton Ross added 9 and Marc Loving 8 as OSU improved to 20-6 overall and 7-6 in the B1G.
The spurt in the second half included eight straight points that helped OSU turn a 23-20 halftime deficit into a 36-29 lead midway through as the Buckeyes, who played for long stretches without the foul-plagued Craft, won at Illinois for the first time since 2011.
Loving was a spark in the second half, scoring all of his points, as was Ross, who hit a couple of early baskets to help erase the lead. The defense held Illinois to just 16 second-half points.
OSU was up 12 late in the game and heading for a blowout, but a lucky banked-in 3-point shot and some shaky free-throw shooting helped Illinois (14-12, 3-10) cut it to five with under a minute left. But Shannon Scott and Craft each nailed a pair of free throws to settle down OSU and ice the victory. Read More
#22 Ohio State (19-5. 6-5) hosted #15 Michigan (17-6, 9-2) this evening in their only regular season meeting. Despite a horrendous January, OSU entered this game three games behind MSU/UM in the standings, and with 7 games to play, a legitimate chance to win the regular season championship. This has been some season..
In a classic example of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, the Buckeyes started out on fire, let Michigan back into the game before half, then watched Michigan put on a rebounding clinic, to fall to the Wolverines 70-60. This drops OSU to 19-6, 6-6 and pretty much takes them out of any possibility for the regular season championship. This was a game where Michigan overcame a 1st half 10-point deficit by exerting their will over the Buckeyes. Defensively, OSU was unable to block anyone out on the defensive boards. Offensively, despite early success with looking inside to score, had periods of settling for, and missing, perimeter shots.
This was as disappointing loss as I’ve seen lately, and in the past month and a half, I’ve seen several. The team got away, offensively, from what had been working, didn’t block out on the defensive boards, and generally let Michigan have their way.
The Boilermakers visited the Buckeyes this evening in Columbus for the return match of their two game series. Despite a slow start, and a bit of back and forth play, the game was all Ohio State as the Buckeyes secured the 67-49 victory. Surprisingly, LaQuinton Ross led the Buckeyes in scoring with 17 points, closely followed by Lenzelle Smith Jr. with 16. For the Boilermakers, Kendall Stephens put together 12 points off the bench, while AJ Hammons and Rapheal Davis both earned 11 a piece. The win gave the Buckeyes their third straight in Big Ten play.
Things started from a defensive perspective. Both teams demonstrated good movement against the offensive motion, and forced a number of turnovers early. The first points weren’t even scored until two minutes had elapsed, and Purdue was able to net the first three buckets of the game. The Bucks simply struggled to find good shots on the offensive end, and weren’t able to score until the fifth minute of the game on a Sam Thompson ally-oop.
The momentum changed in a hurry following the first TV timeout. The Buckeyes went on an 8 point unanswered tear to put together a 10-0 run and claim their first lead of the game. It was only ended by a Kendall Stevens three pointer after four minutes had ellapsed. Things had changed as the Buckeyes settled down in their attack, focused on getting the ball low against Purdue’s man defense. OSU also worked harder on the boards and began to balance the rebounding numbers.
With both teams locked into the game, they settled down into a steady back and forth battle. For the most part, it seemed that when one team was locked in defensively, so was the opponent. If one them started to pick up on the offensive end, it was reciprocated on the other end. That said, there wasn’t much in the way of offense through the first twelve minutes. The Boilermakers shot 5-20, while the Bucks hit only 7-18 by the third TV timeout.
The Buckeyes rolled into cold, snowy Iowa City to avenge the January 12th loss to Iowa, 84-74. A win would get them to .500 in conference play and hoist them into a tie with Northwestern, and maybe Wisconsin, for 4th place. Well, the Buckeyes played a solid game and won 76-69, moving their record to 18-5, 5-5, and giving them consecutive road wins.
Ohio State was led by five players in double figure;sAaron Craft (17), LaQuinton Ross (13), Amir Williams (12), Lenzelle Smith, Jr. (12), Shannon Scott (11) and Sam Thompson (9). Ross also pulled in 6 rebounds while Craft had 6 assists and 6 steals. Iowas was led by Gabriel Olaseni (14 points, 6 rebs) and Mike Gesell ( 11 points, 5 reb).
Iowa’s defense, as expected was a blend of an aggressive man-to-man, extending the perimeter, then switching back to zone. The Buckeyes shot 51% (25-49) from the floor, including 44% from 3-point range (7-16), so whatever Iowa tried, it didn’t work that well.
The 1st half ended with Iowa holding a 33-31 lead, in a half with a couple runs by each team and some helter-skelter play at the end of the half. Iowa was 42% from the field (42%) and an astounding 1-11 from 3-point range. They were led by Olasebe off the bench with 8 points in 4-4 shooting, and he pulled in 4 rebounds. The Buckeyes were led by Aaron Craft’s 14 points; 5-5 from the field (2-2 from 3-pt range) and 2 F’T's. He also craftily had 4 steals.
OSU had a 9 point run spanning the 7 minute-5 minute marks, to take the lead 26-17. However, the tables turned rather quickly, as Iowa outscored Ohio State 16-5 over the last 5 minutes of the half.
Evidently, Thad told his troops to mentally break he 2nd half into four segments, one for each television timeout. Consider these segments as battles, and the object is to “win” each battle. In the 2nd half, play was back and forth, and at the under-16 timeout, Ohio State held a 39-38 lead. Lenzelle Smith had 5 of OSU’s 8 points in the half.
Proceeding to the under 12 mark, OSU’s lead was 47-43. At the 10:30 mark, or so, Ohio State was in a bit of a “situation” with their frontcourt; Williams, McDonald and Thompson all had three fouls. At the 9:32 mark, Trey picked up his 4th foul. A flagrant foul on Gabriel Olaseni on Amir Williams at the 8:50 mark led to two Williams’ free throws and a FG to move OSU’s lead to 54-47. Moving ahead to the 4:09 mark, OSU still led 58-54, so things had stalled a bit for both teams.. Thad took a timeout with 2:17 remaining, and Ohio State with the lead 63-57. In the last minute of play, there was some trading of OSU free throws and the occasional Iowa field goal to bring the final score to 76-69.
Ohio State’s next game is against Purdue in Columbus. The game is Saturday at 6:00 PM EST. Television coverage will be via BTN, check your local listings. Live Chat will be at The Buckeye Battle Cry, approximately 30 minutes before tip-off. Please join us.