College Basketball fans got a heavy dose of everything a great tournament game entails Sunday afternoon, as Aaron Craft hit a timely last second jumper from the wing to give Ohio State a 78-75 win over Iowa State.
It was everything that basketball fans were expecting. An Iowa State team that was dangerous from three point territory, solid on offensive rebounds and scoring in bunches. They were faced with solid defensive intensity, forced turnovers, and a willingness to take what the defense was giving up.
In the first half, there were 7 lead changes and 10 points where the game was tied. Iowa State out rebounded Ohio State 23-12. The Buckeyes forced 9 Cyclone turnovers.
And like every great tournament game, for everything expected — there was an equal surprise on the floor for each team.
Unfortunately the surprises for each team weren’t all positive.
Iowa State would play the whole second half without Chris Babb, their defensive stopper. Korie Lucious, despite having 19 Points on 5/7 shooting from three, turned the ball over 5 times. Despite trying to shut down the Buckeye offense by forcing shots from the outside in the 2-3 Zone, Ohio State nailed shots.
Yet Fred Hoiberg’s crew were able to frustrate a team that is very good at protecting the basketball.
The Buckeyes were forced into three straight turnovers nearly halfway through the second half. After having just two in the first half, Ohio State struggled to get any edge inside. With Melvin Ejim going to work, the Cyclones would cut the lead to one with 11:46 to play. After a beautiful dish from Ejim led to a Georges Niang dunk, Ejim would get the ball back off his own miss on the next possession and throw it down off another turnover.
A six point lead was cut to one with twelve minutes to play, but Aaron Craft found Deshaun Thomas in the corner after a kick out on a drive to the basketfor a huge three with a hand in his face to give Ohio State a 55-51 lead.
Then arguably the biggest surprise of the game took center stage.
The LaQuinton Ross show.
School: Iowa State University
Location: Ames, IA
School Type: Public, Land Grant
Student Population: 31,040 total, 25,553 undergrad
Stadium: Hilton Coliseum
Head Coach: Fred Hoiberg
Experience: 3rd year
In a lengthy regular season that results in a conference tournament followed by a national championship tournament, it’s hard to call a game on a Wednesday night against Minnesota a “must win” game. But that’s exactly what tonight’s battle at the Schottenstein Center with the Minnesota Golden Gophers was for our Ohio State Buckeyes basketball team. Coming off a horrible loss on Sunday at Wisconsin and with Michigan State looming this Sunday, the Buckeyes needed the Gophers to right the ship and did just that in a convincing 71-45 win.
With the win the Buckeyes improve to 19-7 on the year, 9-5 in the Big Ten.
Aaron Craft’s buzzer beating three ended what was a first half of missed opportunities for Ohio State. The Buckeye defense regained its lost mojo and forced Minnesota into 12 first half turnovers but could only convert the miscues into ten points. The Bucks lead 29-23 at the half, but you had the feeling they could have blown the game wide open at several different spots.
The second half turned out to be a different story. The Buckeyes continued to clamp down on defense, meanwhile shots began to fall and easy transition buckets found them up 41-31 at the 12:00 mark and they never looked back.
Deshaun Thomas led all scorers with 19. He was followed for Ohio State by Shannon Scott with 11 and Laquinton Ross with 10. Minnesota was led by Andre Hollins with 11 and Oto Osnieks with 10.
The Buckeyes have now won 6 straight over the Golden Gophers. Tonight’s 26 point win is the largest in the series with Minnesota since the Buckeyes abused the Gophers 94-63 on March 4th 1992. Read More
It’s February and more importantly it’s national signing day for college football players and programs around the country. Take a break from following the updates of who faxed their letter of intent to whom and let’s hit some big topics. Who’s ready? Let’s rumble!
The Athletic O
Late Monday afternoon it was revealed that the Ohio State Athletic Department has revamped the Ohio State athletic crest. As with any type of change, opinions flew around Twitter and the blogosphere quickly and in large quantities.
It seems as though the overwhelming consensus is that the newly redesigned Athletic O is an atrocity. Despite there really only being one major difference between the old and new (the words Ohio State are filled in with black rather than being white and grey) people have gone off the ledge and are expecting the return of the Lord at any moment. Read More
There is simply no amount of Listerine that can wash out the bad taste left in those returning players mouths having endured two losses to Kansas last season; one on December 10, 2011 (78-67) and one at the Final Four in New Orleans on March 31, 2012 (64-62). They will just have to take care of their home court where they have the 5th longest streak for wins against non-conference opponents sitting at 39. WVU was their last home loss in this regard in December of 2008 almost exactly four years ago. Tim Shoemaker did a great Tale of the Tape. Let’s take a look at this top ten battle.
|School:||University of Kansas (KU)|
|Founded:Motto||1865; I shall see this great sight, why the bush does not burn (Exodus 3:3)|
|School Type:||Public, Flagship, Space Grant|
|Stadium:||Allen Fieldhouse “The Phog” named for the father of coaching Dr. Forrest C. “Phog” Allen|
|Built:||March 1, 1955|
|Head Coach:||Bill Self, Oklahoma State, 10th season|
|Experience & Accomplishments||Self was named 2012 Naismith College Coach of the Year, The Sporting News National Coach of the Year in 2000, 2009 and 2012, the Associated Press National Coach of the Year in 2009. He was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year in 2006, 2009, 2011, and 2012. 13 NCAA Tourneys, 1 NCAA Champion, ! Final Four, 6 Conference Tourney Champions, Produced 16 NBA draft picks|
|Program History||The Jayhawks began play in 1898 and have an all-time record of 2079-807 (.720). In 2008, ESPN ranked Kansas second on a list of the most prestigious programs of the modern college basketball era, behind only Duke. Kansas has the longest current streak of consecutive NCAA tournament appearances (23), holds the longest current streak of winning seasons (29), has the most winning seasons in Division I history (93), the most non-losing seasons (.500 or better) in NCAA history (96), the most conference championships in Division I history (55), the most First Team All Americans in Division I history (20), the most First Team All American Selections in Division I history (28), is second in Division I all time winning percentage (.720), and is second in Division I all time wins (2,079)|
The Buckeyes take on 4-4 Winthrop University from the Big South conference in their next match-up and are on a roll since losing to Duke. The Eagles are on a little roll themselves having dispatched the other “Ohio” team as our least favorite buffoon from up north likes to say. The Eagles beat the Bobcats 50-49 with a late push and two final second free throws from their star player. Let’s take a look at the school from Rock Hill, SC.
|Location:||Rock Hill, South Carolina|
|Founded:||1886 – Veritas cum liberate “Truth with Liberty”|
|Head Coach:||Pat Kelsey(Xavier 98) First Season as a head coach|
|Experience & Accomplishments||Before stepping away from basketball following the 2010-11 season, Kelsey was the associate head coach at his alma mater Xavier U. where he spent two seasons. Prior to that he cut his teeth coaching under the late and great Skip Prosser at Wake Forrest and then Dino Gaudio.|
|Program History||The University’s most well-known athletic team is the Men’s basketball team which has earned a berth in nine NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournaments since 1999. Additionally, they have won the Big South Conference Championship in 1988, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010. 6 of the 8 Men’s Basketball team’s championships and national rankings came during Gregg Marshall’s tenure as head coach. Marshall left Winthrop to become the head coach at Wichita State University.|
Many Buckeye basketball fans may just want to fast forward two weeks from Saturday.
Ohio State will host Kansas, the team that beat OSU not once, but twice last season and knocked the Buckeyes out of the NCAA tournament in the Final Four.
But, in fact, OSU can’t afford to fast forward, because between now and then it has four games it must use as a way to improve before the date with the Jayhawks.
Over the next two weeks, Ohio State has games against Long Beach State, Savannah State, UNC Ashville and Winthrop. Four games OSU should win easily, but it needs to get better before Dec. 22.
The Buckeyes were somewhat exposed in their 73-68 loss to Duke. That game made me think of three questions I would like to see answered in the next two weeks before the Kansas game.
1. Who will step up on this year’s team to put the ball in the basket outside of Deshaun Thomas?
Answer: Against Duke, Ohio State Deshaun Thomas was the only player who could consistently score. This may be the case all season, but in order for the Buckeyes to make a deep run this year, somebody else is going to need to score. For me, that guy has to be LaQuinton Ross. In Ohio State’s last game against Northern Kentucky, Ross led the Buckeyes with 22 points. Over these next four games I’d like to see him average around 15 per game, get his confidence up and then see how he performs against Kansas.
2. Will Ohio State have a consistent threat from behind the arc? Read More
Northern Kentucky visited Value City Arena for the first day of December and left without breaking 40 points, falling to the Buckeyes 70-43. Ohio State used their size advantage and made life difficult for the Norse on the defensive end, even while they struggled with their cold scoring all day long. LaQuinton Ross had a career day on the stat sheet scoring 22 points and collecting 8 rebounds. He was joined in double digits by DeShaun Thomas, who picked up 14 despite scoring only 4 in the first half. Northern Kentucky’s Jalen Billups was the only Norse to break double digits, scoring 11 points for the game.
The game started out slowly for the Buckeyes as they struggled to handle the fast paced, but smaller, Norse. It took the first 10 minutes of the game before the Buckeyes finally started to build a lead. By the end of the half, OSU had outpaced NKU on the shoulders of a 13 point first half from Ross. Surprisingly, the Buckeye’s starters were only able to drop 19 points in the entire half, and were outscored by Northern Kentucky’s top players, who put in 22 points.
The second half played out much differently. The Buckeyes played with much higher energy on both ends of the court and did a much better job of feeding the hot hands. Thomas finally opened up his scoring, and the Buckeyes finally started to work hard on the glass – particularly Thomas and Evan Ravenel who ended up with 8 and 7 rebounds for the day respectively. By the end, Amedeo Della Valle and Trey McDonald got to excite the crowd, particularly when Della Valle drained a wide open three pointer, giving the fans a great feeling about the future of the program.
There wasn’t a lot to take away from this game as a whole. Northern Kentucky was way overmatched, though hats off for the heart they showed all game long. The Buckeyes started out not taking them seriously, as they have in other games this season, and so it took some time for the team to finally gain some traction and build a big lead. That said, there are still a few things we can learn today.