Now that the rain has subsided, maybe the Buckeye State can enjoy the summer sunshine and higher temperatures… or as we call it in Los Angeles, “Wednesday”. Today’s soundtrack hearkens back to the halcyon days of the 80′s, before I had to actually pay for air conditioning. Back then, I thought that a Power Station meant something completely different…
If you’re following us on the book of face, you know that I made it back from my trip to Mt. Whitney last week- when you’d usually be reading SBP, I was at 14,508 ft, as the picture to the right can attest. It’s Buckeye Nation everywhere, people.
To celebrate, today’s soundtrack is a personal favorite… And I’ll include a few more photos/notes from the trip at the end of this post.
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.
Gary Russell and I are covering the B1G Tourney live again although it’s not actually from Chicago! Some last minute travel plans fell apart and we are hanging out at his house in Zanesville covering the games! Hope you enjoy the updates!
#6 Iowa versus #11 Northwestern
The first half of the day one night cap has been all Iowa. They hold a 36-22 lead at halftime and the score doesn’t reflect how dominating the Hawkeyes have been. The Wildcats didn’t score until the 12:30 mark of the first half. Iowa has been very balanced on the offensive end. 8 different players have scored for the Hawkeyes, and none of socred more than 7 points. As painful as it is to say, Iowa’s Aaron White leads all scorers with 7 points. Northwestern is being led by Freshman Alex Olah’s 6 points.
Iowa didn’t quite dominate the second half like they did the first half as they did their best impression of Michigan in letting a team hang around. The Wildcats refused to go away getting the lead under ten several times and even down to seven at one point. Unfortunately for Northwestern, timely three point shooting from Mike Gesell and Roy Devyn Marble combined with a Flagrant One foul by Reggi Hearn kept pushing the Iowa lead back to double digits. In the end, Iowa knocked off Northwestern 73-59.
Iowa will now face Michigan State tomorrow evening at apprixmately 9:00 EST. We hope you enjoyed day 1 of the Big Ten Tournament. Remember to check back with us tomorrow as we update with all the action from Day 2 of the tournament! Read More
Ohio State entered tonight’s game riding a three game winning streak, their longest this season since Big Ten play started. The Buckeyes knew that keeping that streak going wasn’t going to be easy as they had to face Nebraska in Lincoln. The Cornhuskers came into tonight’s game in second place in the Big Ten and on a three game winning streak against the Buckeyes, all three wins being fairly comfortable ones.
Nebraska got out to an early lead; hitting three of their first four shots to take a 6-0 lead three minutes into the game. Ohio State responded though with a seven point run to go up 7-6 just a bit more than three minutes later. At this point an intense back-and-forth battle started with the two teams trading baskets and the lead for the next eleven minutes with neither team able to take more than a two point lead. That narrow margin was broken when the Cornhuskers scored 5 straight to take a 23-19 lead with a minute left in the half. The Buckeyes would briefly narrow that lead back to a single basket but then Nebraska hit a pair of free throws in the closing seconds to give themselves a 25-21 lead going into intermission.
It didn’t look pretty early, but after a rough start in Lincoln Nebraska, it was Ohio State running away at the end of the first half to secure a 63-56 victory.
Despite struggling to find the basket and facing defensive lapses in the opening minutes, the Buckeyes answered strongly in the last 5 minutes of the stanza, going on a 15-2 run to start the ballgame. Ohio State used their physicality to their benefit by getting to the basket and drawing the whistle. Despite shooting 35% in the first half, Thad Matta’s Bucks were able to take a 32-23 lead into the locker room on 10/10 shooting from the line.
After being outworked in the first five minutes by Andrea Almeida, Amir Williams settled into his own. Almeida had three blocks in the first 5 minutes, but Amir found his positioning to the tune of 6 points, five rebounds, and two steals in the first half. The big man did struggle with position and defense in the second half, but finished 8 rebounds. He would score on 7/8 shooting from the free throw line.
The Buckeyes went to the locker room following a beautiful stolen pass from Aaron Craft which led to a Deshaun Thomas thunder jam off the backhanded assist. It was one of four dunks on the night. The other three came from Slam Master Thompson.
Lenzelle Smith played lights out offensively. After opening the game with a good look for three from the far wing, the guard known for his defense and rebounding ability would go 6/6 from the field including another three to answer a run in the second half. He had a quiet 21 points to lead all scorers while shooting 3/3 from downtown.
Deshaun Thomas was quiet in the first, but did emerge in the second half. Six minutes into the second frame, the scoring machine got a jumper and drew the foul. He would follow that up on the next possession with another jumper. Despite starting 0/6 from the floor to start the game, the conference scoring leader would finish with 15 points.
Down 53-48 with 8 minutes to go, Nebraska would make a small run to try and close the gap with Aaron Craft out of the ballgame.
But when the swoon machine re-entered the ballgame he forced a five second violation to give Ohio State some momentum. He would also add a reverse layup to make it 56-49.
Just when it looked like the game was out of reach, the Huskers closed it to five with just two minutes to play.
After forcing a long three with a short time on the shot clock, Nebraska couldn’t answer thanks to the defense of Aaron Craft. After holding his defender at the top of the key, Craft would hustle to the basketball on the far sideline and be forced out of bounds — turning to a human missile diving over the scorer’s table.
Despite the contact, Craft would be called for the foul. He would bounce back though and play solid on ball defense in the final minute. He finished with a strong 14 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 blocks.
Overall the Buckeyes did a good job of answering back scoring drives in the first half and for most of the second. But again, struggled to close out a ballgame on the road. the Huskers ended the night on a solid 14-10 run that included a 6-0 spirt that got them back in the game late.
Overall, Ohio State shot 39% from the floor but a solid 82% (23/28) from the charity stripe.
Up next for Ohio State is Michigan in Ann Arbor on Tuesday.
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.