The Buckeyes traveled to West Lafayette, IN to wrap up 2013 and kick off the B1G Conference play. Mackey Arena provides a great college basketball venue, and both teams responded, with Ohio State coming out with a 78-69 win.
Several players had excellent performances today. Ohio State had LaQuinton Ross’ career high 25 points and 12 rebounds, Lenzelle Smith Jr’s 14 points and Aaron Craft’s 10 assists. Craft did this with no turnovers. That’s right, no turnovers. For Purdue, the Johnsons, Ronnie (16 pts) and Teron (13 points) had great games, but center AJ Hammons was outstanding with 18 points and 16 rebounds.
Ohio State started out well enough with some good, patient ball movement, resulting in two quick baskets by Amir Williams and LaQuinton Ross. AJ Hammons responded with two free throws and a basket to keep pace.
Offensively, Purdue was having early success with the off guard coming across the key and either taking a jump shot at the foul-line extended or continuing the drive to the basket.
At the 12:00 mark, two free throws by AJ Hammons put Purdue up 17-15, but a tremendous end-to-end play by Aaron Craft resulted in a layup to tie it at 17-17. By the 10-minute timeout, Purdue moved ahead 19-17 on a Bryson Scott jumper. Despite the promising start, the OSU offense was stalling at the line (0-3) and from the perimeter (1-8), with Lenzelle being 0-3 at this point. Not good.
For their last non-conference game of the season, the Buckeyes welcomed the Warhawks of Louisiana-Monroe to Value City Arena. Not surprisingly, against a team that has only won 17 games in the last four season, the Buckeyes had no trouble with the seriously over-matched Warhawks, cruising to a 71-31 victory. The Buckeyes were led in scoring by the hero of the Notre Dame comeback, as Lenzelle Smith put down 17 for the game. He was followed in double digits by LaQuinton Ross’s 15, and Amadeo Della Valle’s 12. Louisiana-Monroe was led in scoring by Jayon James with 7.
Things started out well for the Buckeyes. LaQuinton Ross scored the first five points of the game, including three on free throws. The Bucks were also able to get the fast break part of their game going with cherry picked scores for Craft and Lenzelle Smith. Particularly impressive on Smith’s was that Amir Williams screened Smith’s lane to the basket in the paint. The floor awareness and teamwork was yet another nice thing to see in Amir’s slow and steady development.
Things began to slow down a little for the Bucks scoring following the first TV timeout, but the same certainly couldn’t be said about the defensive intensity. The OSU defense continually gave the Warhawk’s offense trouble, forcing a shot-clock violation, and keeping ULM from having any good looks at the basket. Some of this can easily be chalked up to the Warhawk’s lack of offensive prowess; the team had no sense of urgency during the shot-clock violation, and clearly didn’t know what was going on, for example. That said, the defense did a good job of not giving up easy passing lanes, unlike against Notre Dame.
As the subs started to work out the kinks, the scoring began to pick up again. Amadeo Della Valle put down an open three, immediately followed by a layup on a cherry-picked fast break opportunity. That was then followed by a fast break that put Marc Loving on the charity stripe. Ultimately, those two were able to combine for 10 points before the ten minute mark of the first half. That kind of bench scoring can make a big difference in conference play.
Eventually the shooting cooled for the Buckeyes. At the same time, the Warhawks began to find a little success on offense. Where OSU was shooting near 80% to open the game, they began to find themselves struggling to sink a basket for several minutes of the middle of the first half. This allowed ULM to close the enormous gap on the scoreboard a little. However, a three-pointer from Della Valle seemed to take the lid off the basket. High energy play from Lenzelle Smith also helped make the difference.
The #3 Ohio State Buckeyes continue to win, somehow, and after a furious last-second comeback win over Notre Dame are now 12-0 on the season. Next up for the Buckeyes; a home game on Friday December 27th against the University of Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks (3-4). The game tips off at 7:00 PM EST.
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Ohio State (11-0) and Notre Dame (8-3) squared off this evening in the Gotham Classic played in, well, NYC. The preview to the game is here; the recap is below.
Ohio State overcame a cold 2nd half of shooting (10 – 29 ) 34% to pull out a last second thriller against the Irish of Notre Dame
After a slow start of bad shots and trading turnovers, Ohio State took a 5-4 lead to 11-4 powered by two Shannon Scott 3-pointers at the 13:49 mark. However, ND’s Garrick Sherman hit two Ft’s and a FG to pull ND within 1, 13-12 at the 11 minute mark. A Crafty reverse layup at 8:26 moved OSU ahead 17-12. It was a really nice move, actually; Aaron beat his man baseline on the right side, then went under and up for the basket. An errant Marc Loving outlet pass was intercepted and converted to a ND basket at just under 7:30 in the half.
So far, this was a game of one-and-dones as neither team looked particularly interested in offensive rebounding (ND – 4, OSU – 1). But then you actually have to have someone in rebounding position in the paint, which the Buckeyes had no interest in at the time. Regardless, at the under-8 timeout, OSU was up 17-14. At the 6:31 mark, a nice spin move by LQR gave OSU two more, but it was quickly answered by a basket by Jerian Grant. Ohio State seemed determined to work Amir Williams on the inside. On several occasions, Ohio State penetration into the paint would result in the ball handler (Smith, LQR, Scott) dishing off to Amir for an easy basket. This aggressiveness to work the interior and provide Amir with easy scoring opportunities is a welcome sight.
The #3 Ohio State Buckeyes (11-0) continue action in the Gotham Classic on Saturday evening by meeting Notre Dame for an evening game (7:30 PM EST, ESPN2 ) in Gotham City. The Buckeyes, after disposing of the Fightin’ Blue Hens on Wednesday, line up against the Fighting Irish. A lot of combativeness going on this week.
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School: University of Notre Dame
In the “final” game in the Gotham Classic, before actually moving on to Gotham City, Ohio State hosted the University of Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens, and were admittedly, not very good hosts. The Buckeyes were initially polite enough, trailing Delaware through the first 7 minutes of the game 11-12. The teams genteelly exchanges baskets for the next 10 minutes with OSU holding a 28-26 lead with 3:15 left in the 1st half. At that point, the uncouth midwesterners tore off nine straight points to go into the half with a 37-26 lead.
LaQuinton Ross got things going immediately in the 2nd half with a 3-pointer and things went back and forth for the first 4+ minutes as OSu maintained a 45-32 lead. A Kyle Anderson 3-pointer pulled the Fightin’ Blue Hens (FBH) to within 10, 50-40 with 13:19 left on the clock. Of course, LQR answered with a jumper, followed by an Amedeo Della Valle 3-pointer. After trading baskets a Marc Loving jumper and another ADV 3-pointer had the game at 60-44.
At the nine-minute mark, OSU was “holding” on 62-50 as Delaware kept chipping into the lead. For the next two minutes, both teams flat-lined, almost as is to save energy for a late push to either seal the game or to steal the game. Finally, at the 1:22 mark, Lenzelle Smith Jr., made a jumper to cash in free fries to push OSU’s lead to 10, 70-60. At the :44 mark Jarvis Threatt’s layup pulled the FBH’s to with 10, 72-62. Clearly, it was too little way too late; but to Delaware’s credit they kept coming after the Buckeyes. Another Threatt layup with :32 remaining got the Hens to 64, but Buckeye free throw shooting, capped off by two from Aaron Craft provided the final score of 76-64.
This was an exciting game, perhaps more exciting than it needed to be. The Buckeyes only shot 41% from the floor (24-59) and an excruciating 69% (22-32) from the free throw line. Fortunately, Delaware shot even worse; 43% from the field an 47% from the charity stripe. Yikes. Part of Delaware’s shooting woes were, obviously, OSU’s defense, as the Buckeyes blocked 7 Blue Hen shots.The Buckeyes out rebounded the Hens 46-30, so that helped.
Ohio State placed five players in double figures; LaQuinton Ross with 19, Lenzelle Smith with 14, Aaron Craft with 12, Amir Williams with 11 and ADV with 10. It should be noted that Amir pulled off the double-double by snagging 12 rebounds. Although Sam Thompson only scored 3 points, he did grab 6 rebounds.
For the Hens, As guessed, Devon Saddler led the way with 17 points, closely followed by Jarvis Threatt with 14 points, the only two Hens in double figures. Threatt did accomplish his own double-double by getting 10 rebounds.
Next up for the Buckeyes; a Saturday evening game against Notre Dame at Madison Square Garden. Tip-off is 7:30 PM on ESPN2. Oh, you can stop in here for more livechat.
The #3 Ohio State Buckeyes (10-0) continue action in the Gotham Classic on Wednesday evening by hosting the University of Delaware (UDel) Fightin’ Blue Hens. The Blue Hens enter the game at 5-5 losing to North Dakota State University as part of the Gotham Classic, 85-66. After this game, Ohio State will go to NYC to face Notre Dame to wrap up the Gotham Classic for an evening game on Saturday, December 21st
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School: University of Delaware
The Buckeyes took on their next opponent in the Gotham Classic this evening, the surprisingly dangerous North Dakota State Bison. Coming off a win at Notre Dame, the Bison were hoping to pick up another high quality win against the Buckeyes. The Buckeyes, however, weren’t having any of that, picking up a dominating 79-62 win. Four Buckeyes ended up in double figures: LaQuinton Ross with 18, Lenzelle Smith Jr. with 18, and Sam Thompson and Marc Loving off the bench with 12 a piece. NDSU responded with 21 from Taylor Braun, 12 from Marshall Bjorklund, and 10 from Lawrence Alexander.
The game began with both sides trying to show off their long range sniping game. Lenzelle Smith starting things off by sinking the first three of the game, eventually following it up with a second after a third by Laquinton Ross. NDSU struggled to maintain control of the rock inside the paint, committing several costly traveling fouls. They then responded by shooting from deep, picking up a single triple to get on the board three minutes after the start of the game.
The OSU shooting started from range due to the NDSU defensive strategy. The Bison used a 2-3 zone, or an usual looking box-and-1, to try to keep the Buckeyes from utilizing Amir Williams inside. After getting killed from long range through the first four minutes, they quickly shifted to a help-side man defense look. The change allowed them to continue to suppress Amir Williams inside, but kept OSU from getting the easy open outside looks.
The pace began to pick up as the Buckeyes defense started to kick up the intensity. For a short period, OSU looked like they were going to run away with the game, scoring another Slam Thompson entry pass ally-oop, and a sweet Lenzelle Smith fast break layup assisted by Aaron Craft. However, NDSU rose to the challenge and sank a three to cut the lead to five. The Bison cranked up their own defensive energy to counter the Buckeyes and began to force a few turnovers from the typically stingy OSU guards.
Thad Matta chose to operate with a linechange coming out of the after-12 timeout. Running with Scott, Della Valle, Thompson, Loving, and McDonald, the Buckeyes continued to maintain the intensity, but struggled to find scoring. Defense with that lineup seemed to struggle a little as well, but was by no mean poor. During the run, NDSU attempted to regain control of the pace of the game, a task in which they eventually succeeded. Rather than rushing their offense, they paced themselves and took what was available.