They’ve been ranked as high as No. 3 in the country and have felt the pains of being unranked and unimpressive.
But now the Ohio State Buckeyes have a signature win and some momentum heading into the Big Ten Tournament.
Michigan State’s Gary Harris missed a jumper as time expired and OSU came from behind to beat the Spartans 69-67 at Value City Arena on Sunday.
Ohio State said goodbye to seniors Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr., and had a chance to say hello to the No. 4 seed and a much-coveted bye in the upcoming B1g money-maker, uh, tournament, but Wisconsin ruined that idea by choking against Nebraska Sunday night.
So Ohio State gets the No. 5 seed and a matchup against Purdue on Thursday. The winner gets Nebraska, which likely earned an at-large NCAA Tournament bid. That winner gets top-seeded Michigan.
LaQuinton Ross scored 22 points and had five rebounds while Craft had 12 points, 7 assists and became the conference’s all-time steals leader to help OSU overcome a pathetic 19-of-31 effort at the free throw line, which almost cost OSU in the final seconds.
Adreian Payne led all scorers with 23 points while Harris had 12 and Denzel Valentine 11.
The Buckeyes improve to 23-8 and 10-8 in the B1G. MSU, the No. 1 seed in the tourney, is also 22-8 and is 15-4 in the B1G.
It was one of those games where it felt like Sparty should have been blowing away the Buckeyes at times, but could only manage a 7-point lead as the game’s biggest spread.
More than once OSU was down at least five points but didn’t let that deter them from winning on Senior Day.
OSU trailed 38-36 at the half but began the second half with a 6-0 run, which ultimately sparked the Buckeyes to a 44-39 lead with about 17:30 left. Michigan State quickly answered and took a 49-44 lead with 16:56 left on a pair of Harris 3-pointers, a Payne dunk off a Harris assist and a Travis Trice dunk.
That led to an OSU timeout with 15:16 left.
Harris hit a pair of free throws to increase the lead to 51-44 and a cap a 12-0 run.
Craft hit a pair of free throws to end the run and make it 51-46 with about 14 minutes left.
Harris then hit a long catch-and-shoot bucket to increase the lead back to seven with about 13 minutes left.
But OSU wasn’t done despite having no real go-to scorer.
Amir Williams made one of two from the line and a Ross 3-pointer cut it to 53-50 after the under-12 timeout. Trice missed a shot, the Buckeyes rebounded and after a foul at the other end and Shannon Scott hit a pair of free throws to cut it to one.
That caused Coach Tom Izzo to bring his starters back in the game as he was resting Branden Dawson, Valentine and Keith Appling.
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.
Here’s their Profile
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.