If anyone doubted the fact that the Michigan/Ohio State rivalry is back, this afternoon’s display of strategic basketball on both sides of the floor shows the real story in the Wolverines rise back to prominence in the Big Ten Conference.
A look at the scoreboard after this one doesn’t quite put it into context. After running into the best overall effort from Ohio State starters, the Wolverines hit the road with arguably their best performance in the last 8 years against their out of state Rivals. Despite a lackluster second half, and as much as we hate to say it — this team remains as one of the top to be reckoned with in this conference and in March.
Even after falling 64-49 in Columbus.
You can site the incoming talent, but in reality it’s the coaching of John Beilein. After taking an early 5-0 lead, Ohio State began to find their rhythm. Deshaun Thomas nailed a three to get the Buckeyes on the board with 18 minutes to go in the first. Lenzelle Smith followed with a beautiful layup and dish off to Jared Sullinger for the emphatic dunk in the low post.
Down two, Beilein made the adjustment to a 2-3 defense. Early it was effective, as Ohio State’s offense was unable to penetrate through and to the hoop. Despite giving up some tough baskets early, the Wolverines were able to set the pace through their defense in the first half.
Of course, that didn’t deter the best rebounding guard in the nation.
All it took was an 11-0 run early in the first quarter for the Ohio State Buckeyes, as they rolled into the half with a sixteen point lead — bringing home their second victory of the season against Nebraska by a final of 79-45.
Despite Jared Sullinger missing a major chunk of the first half, the Buckeyes were able to pull away in a very quiet domination early and late in the first. Aaron Craft hit a three point jumper with 15:31 on the clock to tie the ballgame at eight. After the assist from Jared Sullinger, the big man would then distribute the basketball off to Lenzelle Smith for an easy layup. Deshaun Thomas would then nail five of his ten first half points on a layup and three pointer back to back making it 15-7 with 12 minutes to go in the first.
After William Buford drained a big three pointer with a hand in his face, with three minutes remaining in the half, The Buckeyes would go to the line six times down the stretch. With six seconds left, Aaron Craft drove the near sideline, pinballed through three defenders, and found an open Evan Ravenel in the low post, who kissed the glass to head into the second.
It was more of the same for the #7 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes early Saturday afternoon, in their 76-47 victory against Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye arena.
The Buckeyes had five turnovers in the first ten minutes, sunk deep into foul trouble, and watched their senior leader go 0-10 from the field in the first half. Thanks to the play of Jared Sullinger early, Ohio State was able to keep afloat early. His 15 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals in the first half that kept the Buckeyes in the game.
But it was the athletic ability of Shannon Scott, Sam Thompson and J.D. Weatherspoon that got the lethargic Buckeyes over the top and holding the lead for good midway in the first.
Shannon Scott, who played plenty of minutes in the first — got things started with wide open look from the elbow. After a three pointer from Jared Sullinger, Scott found a wide open J.D. Weatherspoon in the low post from the elbow for an emphatic dunk to start a 7-0 run. Weatherspoon would then grab a huge boxed out rebound on the opposite side of the court with 5:35 remaining on the clock in the first. Quickly up the court, the sophomore connected with Sam Thompson mid-air for the crowd silencing alley-oop jam to make it 22-13.
The scoreboard might not of shown it, but the Northwestern Wildcats dug themselves a hole early in the Big Ten opener at Value City Arena.
Despite keeping it a close ballgame through the first ten minutes of the half, It was Ohio State gaining 5 offensive rebounds in the first five minutes, getting to the line and battling possession for possession with great ball movement and isolation in the low post to separate themselves in the 87-54 victory at home.
Aaron Craft got the Buckeyes comfortable early with timely defense. After a steal early that led to a free throw, Craft forced numerous amount of turnovers that got his team comfortable in their set offense.
Jared Sullinger would get hot off the block early, from the far low post hitting nothing but net. He would beat the zone consistently not only on the block, but in open space and on the glass.
His third three pointer of the season, a look from the top of the key with 13:19 remaining in the first half, gave Ohio State the lead they would never lose. His rebounds on the offensive glass and defensive intensity was the difference in controlling the tempo of the ballgame. He would finish with 17 points and 14 boards on the night.
After the first four minutes, Ohio State would go on a 25-5 run, setting up big shot after big shot with perimeter looks from the corner and off the wing. The Wildcats forced Buckeye shooters to beat the 1-3-1 with either pressure to the basket or wide open looks.
Late and midway through the first, Ohio State let it rain from the perimeter, and it was Northwestern’s defense that was left high and dry. Jordan Sibert hit three from long range off the bench in the first half to find his rhythm offensively for the first time all season.
William Buford would shoot the lights out of the the Schott in the second half of the first. The lone Buckeye senior shot ⅚ from the field, including ¾ from three point range. He would end the first half with 13 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. It was his dagger off the clock killing screen at the top of the key with ticks on the clock that gave Ohio State a 41-26 lead heading into the second. He would finish a career high 28 points and 9 rebounds.
The upstart Atlantic Sun program got a true look at what it means to be a part of elite division 1 basketball. Thanks to a stingy full court man to man defense, taking advantage of unforced turnovers, and timely shooting by Torrey Craig — The Spartans put together a 16-5 run halfway through the first half.
From that point, it was sloppy basketball on both sides, filled with fouls, turnovers and a buckeye squad that looked more lethargic than St. Nick’s reindeer after a trip around the world on Christmas day.
The only difference was at Value Center Arena this holiday season is that Ohio State doesn’t have a big man weighing it’s
sleigh game down.
If there was anyone in Buckeye Nation still questioning whether the Ohio State Buckeyes could compete with the top teams in the nation, tonight was a true testament to what Ohio State basketball is about when it’s clicking all cylinders. In tonight’s 85-63 win it became apparent that there is nobody as dynamic as the Ohio State Buckeyes when they are on their A game.
Whether it was scoring in the post, hitting the outside shot, or running the floor, The Buckeyes had it Tuesday night against the Duke Blue Devils. After starting the game on a 11-0 run, The Blue Devils fought back with a 13-2 tear of their own. It looked like we had one of the most competitive games of the season between these two teams.
Early in the first half though,tonight’s hosting team put on a clinic for NBA superstars Dwayne Wade and LeBron James in attendance. If anything could be learned in Columbus on Tuesday night, it was that the NBA’s elite were being taught a lesson from this electrifying college basketball program heading into the holiday season.
The key to winning ballgames isn’t taking your talent to South Beach. All you got to do is put together a team effort on defense, score in the transition, and grind out any type of opposing run with timely defense and control of the basketball.
And then of course it doesn’t hurt when you have a Tank with a heat seeking missile, a senior sharpshooting dagger, and a battering ram in the post.
If you were caught sleeping just before tip after watching 19 hours of basketball, then there is no doubt that the start tonight’s Ohio State/Florida match-up either put you in a tizzy or woke you right off the edge of your seat.
It was what you expected at the beggining of a game between two top ten teams in the country early in the season. A quick pace on both sides, with a sloppy handle on the basketball, and barely any defense.
Early in the game, that was to the benefit of the Florida Gators, who took an 11-6 lead five minutes in. The floor opened up on the perimeter, and the Buckeye offense struggled against a 2-3 zone targeted at double teaming Jared Sullinger.
That’s when the guards took over and made this a whole different ballgame.
Aaron Craft and William Buford hit back to back threes inside with just a bit more than 11 minutes remaining to reel in the Buckeye offense.
And after forcing 7 early turnovers, momentum changed with the score at 17-16 Gators. Despite gaining momentum, the Gators continued to set the pace in the backcourt and use their slashing guards to open up the perimeter. If you were to watch the game without a scoreboard, you would of thought that Florida was dominating the basketball game.
But Thad Matta’s squad used the charity stripe to their advantage, getting there often to keep it a one possession ballgame. The Gators were in the bonus with more than 5 minutes remaining in the half.
Buckeye fans might want to check their heart beat after that thrilling performance in what is arguably the best all around game of the season from this Ohio State team. The offense was able to put some things together to keep it a ballgame. The defense was better than ever, keeping Russell Wilson at bay and the running attack to 89 yards on the day. There aren’t many wins that will feel better than this. Redemption is so bitter sweet.
Here is a breakdown of tonight’s 33-29 win over those stinkin’ Badgers.
Wisconsin got a crack on offense first and got things rolling in the passing game. No, this team doesn’t just offer the same old knock your teeth out rushing attack between the tackles on offense.
After a beautiful play-action pass on the first play of the game from Russell Wilson to Jared Abbederis for a gain of 18 yards, the Buckeye defense settled in and got the ball back on after collapsing the pocket and forcing Wilson to run on third down.
The Buckeyes would take over, but after a Boom Herron misdirection to the middle of the field for ten yards and a big play-action pass attempt from Braxton Miller to a streaking Corey Brown was incomplete down the sidelines, the Scarlet Assasins would give the ball back to Wisconsin for their second drive of the ballgame.
That’s when we saw our first look of this dynamic Wisconsin offense coming together. After two solid passes out in the flat to fullback Bradie Ewing, the former NC State quarterback found Montee Ball open in the middle of the field. The running back scored his NCAA leading 20th touchdown from 22 yards out. The Badgers would march 69 yards in just a bit more than 3 minutes, giving them the lead 7-0.
The Buckeyes would respond by getting freshman quarterback Braxton Miller in the running game. After getting the first down on a beautiful designed run in the middle of the field on third down and long, the running game would struggle on the delayed draw. Boom Herron was dropped for loss twice leading to third down and 12. Miller would connect on a pass to Philly Brown past the first down marker — streaking to the right sideline and drag his feet down before going out of bounds. On the ensuing third down, Jake Stoneburner would lose handle of the football before maintaining control.
After the punt, the Buckeyes would hold Wisconsin to three and out on a beautiful formed tackle from CJ Barnett on third and one, keeping Montee Ball in his shoes and down at the line of scrimmage.
Heading into the second, it looked like the Ohio State offense had some momentum and the Buckeye defense was a bit more physical than the Badgers. After two straight first downs, to start the quarter, The buckeyes would pin the Badgers deep in their own territory. Another 3rd and out gave the Buckeyes the football with 8:41 seconds remaining in the half.
Finally, after a sustained rushing attack, including Braxton Miller’s legs saving the drive on third and ten from the 42. His 14 yard run would put the Buckeyes in Field Goal position. After an 8 yard pass to Jordan Hall got to the Badger 22, Drew Basil put up a 39 field goal that clanked off the post and in to make it 7-3 with 2:55 remaining in the half.