Ohio State came into the Big Ten Tournament looking to simply have fun, and they sure found it in a 71-50 drubbing of Nebraska. It didn’t look like it would go that way early, but excellent play to start the second half managed to put the game out of reach. DeShaun Thomas and Sam Thompson led all scorers with 19 points, while LaQuinton Ross saw double figures for only the fourth time in Big Ten play with 11. Nebraska had two players reach double digits with Brandon Ubel’s 16, and Shavon Shields’ 14.
As has appeared to be typical for them this year, the Bucks started the first 10 minutes struggling to find their game. It wasn’t until the mid-point of the first half that the Buckeye point guards began to find their scoring rhythm. Craft and Scott both scored 5 critical points a piece to give the Bucks a one point lead off a 10-0 run. Once they were able to claim the lead, they did not relinquish it again in the half. However, they also weren’t able to build much headway on it when Nebraska switched into a 2-3 zone. It was only in the last few seconds that an ill-advised Nebraska foul* put DeShaun Thomas on the line for three free throws that gave OSU a five point lead.
The Bucks came out of the gate in the second half firing on all cylinders. They completely shut down the Huskers for the opening four and a half minutes and blitzed out on an 11-0 run to start to put the game away. Before too long, the Buckeyes had opened a 24 point lead and began to play games with their lineup. That ended up helping the Huskers out, not surprisingly, as they were able to close the lead back to 16 before Matta brought the majority of his starters back into the game. That only lasted as long as it took to whittle the time down to the point where he felt comfortable enough to give Alex Rogers some time on the floor.
Despite the sloppy start, this kind of finish was exactly what the Buckeyes needed in the start of tournament play. Matta may want them to have a good time, but they still need to play quality Basketball – and there’s nothing stopping them from doing both. They demonstrated that with a vengence today.
The Buckeyes enter the Big Ten Tournament as the #2 seed, earning a first round bye. Their opponent for the second round are the 10th seeded Nebraska Cornhuskers, who notched an impressive 57-55 upset over the 7-seed Purdue Boilermakers yesterday.
Today’s game is scheduled for 6:30 PM EST on ESPN. The LiveBlog is scheduled to start 15 minutes before tip.
Four times the Buckeyes and Cornhuskers have played on the hardwood, and four times the Buckeyes have picked up a win. Tonight, the Buckeyes added a fifth with a 70-44 win in Columbus to start Big Ten play. As usual, DeShaun Thomas led all scorers with 22 points and 7 rebounds. He was closely followed today by Lenzelle Smith who picked up 17 points and 6 rebounds. Nebraska’s sharpshooter, Ray Gallegos, picked up 14 points on horrendous 4-17 shooting for the day. Also notable were Aaron Craft’s game high 8 assists, and Evan Ravenel and Amir Williams combining for 15 points and 9 rebounds.
Ohio State started out strong against Nebraska, blitzing out to a quick lead early by attacking the paint and strategically choosing their outside looks. Not surprisingly Nebraska countered by using a 3-2 zone to limit the inside passing lanes. The change effectively slowed the Buckeyes down for enough time for the Cornhuskers to close the score. However, Ohio State closed out the half on a 9-0 run to more than double Nebraska’s score going into the locker rooms.
The Cornhuskers switched back to man defense in the hopes of keeping the Bucks off-balance, but it only served to make the job easier. Ohio State raced out on a 10-0 run in the first three minutes of the half, effectively ending any chance of Nebraska seriously threatening down the stretch in this one.
This was a good warmup for the next couple games. The Buckeyes have a rough four games ahead of them, so it was good to see the team excited to play a conference game. The effort was promising, and if they can keep it up through the year good things are bound to happen. The next big step, of course, is figuring out the shooting, which hopefully comes sooner rather than later. Lenzelle Smith certainly demonstrated the skill is there tonight, if only he could be consistent about it.
It’s the first day of the conference basketball season, and the Buckeyes have the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Columbus for the start of play.
Joining us as usual are the other members of the Buckeye Blogger Network. Make sure to stop by their place and say, “hey”: Buckeye Ninja, Our Honor Defend, Men of the Scarlet and Gray, Buckeye Empire, The Buckeye Blog, Unscripted Ohio, and Fox Sports Ohio.
The Liveblog will tip around 5:45 PM eastern time. The game is scheduled for 6:00 PM eastern on the Big Ten Network.
Ken, formerly of Silver Bullets, joins our merry band of basketball writers! Make sure to give him a warm welcome.
It’s the start of the conference basketball season, and the Buckeyes get the newest member of the conference at home. Nebraska appears to be having an improved season under new head coach Tim Miles, but we’ll need to see how they do in Big Ten play before we can fairly evaluate their progress. Let’s get to it!
|School:||University of Nebraska – Lincoln|
|Division:||NCAA Division 1|
|Stadium:||Bob Devaney Sports Center|
|Head Coach:||Tim Miles|
Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never blah blah blah… it’s the second B1G/SEC tilt of the day, and should be airing right about the time that you find your keys in the bottom of the guacamole.
The History: This is one of the oldest games in the country, and was formerly the “Tangerine Bowl”. Because of it’s location, African American players were not allowed to participate, causing Hillsdale to decline their team’s offer to the game in 1955, and Buffalo choosing to do the same in 1958. In 1966, Morgan State (a historically black college) won the game and finished their season undefeated.
The “gifts that you can’t sell at all” for the student athletes in this game include yet another Fossil Watch and a $420 shopping trip to a local Best Buy. 420. Seriously. While this is awesome in and of itself… if I was participating, I’d really want something a bit more connected with the game’s sponsor, like, say “cash” or medieval weaponry.
Ohio State is 1-3 in this game, with their only win coming against BYU in 1985. The last B1G team to win this game was… wait for it… TTUN, giving Urban Meyer his only loss in Llllloyd Carr’s final game. Alec Baldwin was not involved in any way.
Georgia Scouting Report – At the beginning of the season, the Bulldogs’ head coach found himself on a short list of coaches that might be replaced in January. A brilliant campaign that led to a three way tie in the SEC East and a berth in the SEC Championship Game has certainly stopped those whispers. The Dawgs’ best win was the “upset” of Florida in the Swamp, where they held the Gators to nine points; their most heartbreaking loss was against Alabama in the SECCG- a game that was decided by really poor clock management at the end of the contest. Georgia’s offense is led by the aerial attack of Aaron Murray and Tavarres King, while Todd Gurley’s 1260 yards on the ground help balance the Bulldogs’ game plan. However, it’s linebacker Jarvis Jones who gets the headlines most often, his numbers are among the tops in the nation and certainly better than a certain Heisman candidate.
Buckeye Connection- The Buckeyes are 1-o against Georgia, although any chance for a more current assessment went by the wayside when the proposed series against the Bulldogs was cancelled to set up the B1G/PAC challenge… which was then cancelled. If it helps, Urban Meyer owns Mark Richt. Read More
Contain. Martinez was held to 40 yards on 18 carries. He also ended up throwing 25 times. That’s a good sign, if not for Burkhead’s 119 yards on 14 carries.
Defensive line dominance. Pretty strong statement for the D-Line on Saturday. John Simon was particularly disruptive.
Be smart. The penalties and turnovers were kept to a minimum for the most part. I still think a few of the penalties qualify as “silly” though.
Carpe Diem. Moment seized.
Feed Carlos. Feeding Carlos only got us 140 yards and 4 touchdowns. What were you thinking, unleashing a monster like that on the world?
Shut down the run, again. Not so much. 119 yards for Burkhead that was only stopped because he lost the ability to make a cut due to an injured knee.
Force Martinez into bad decisions. I think Bradley Roby alone forced Martinez into bad decisions. 2 picks for Roby, three total for the defense, and you can say this was definitely done.
Attack the middle of the defense. They started to hit this a bit by tossing to the tight-ends, but the passing game was almost entirely a secondary aspect of the offense this weekend. Use it when you need to, stick it in your back pocket when you don’t!
Less read option runs from Miller. How about more read options, all of which are correctly delivered?
It wasn’t always pretty, but it was certainly fun and exciting.
The Buckeyes and Cornhuskers fought a Shootout in the ‘Shoe to the tune of 14 total touchdowns in the game for a final score of 63-38. Braxton Miller finished the game with 7-14 completions for 127 yards and a touchdown, and added 185 yards on 16 carries for a touchdown. Taylor Martinez couldn’t keep up on the ground with 17 carries for 46 yards, but made up for it through the air on 15-24 completions for 214 yards and a touchdown, but also three picks. Carlos Hyde was a force in this one scoring 4 touchdowns and picking up 138 yards. The 63 points were the most scored by the Buckeyes since a 72-0 victory over Pittsburgh on September 21st 1996.
I’m impressed with the play of the offense tonight. They put in touchdowns on five straight drives, and it could have even been six or seven if not for the unfortunate Carlos Hyde fumble late in the third quarter. That is a testament of what this team can really do on offense. They’re figuring it out slowly but surely. It would be really nice if they could do it starting in the first quarter too, but it’s certainly better late than never. Simply put, these guys are making progress in picking up the system, and they’re making it work.
Despite what many will say about the defense, I want to give props to the unit for doing a fairly solid job all game long. As I’ll mention below, the big plays are still a concern, but the defense on the whole did a good job against a talented offensive team. If not for the offense struggling in the first quarter, Nebraska may never have made it to 30 points in this game. There’s still a long way to go, but I see this defense making progress slowly but surely – and don’t forget, you don’t get to 6-0 without at least some kind of defense.
That’s right, the Buckeyes are now undefeated halfway through the season. I doubt that many of us honestly believed the Buckeyes could find themselves in this position at this point in the season. There’s still a long way to go, but the players on this team have the heart to go the distance. One way or another, it’s going to be a fun ride through the last six games of the season.