Thad Matta took his suddenly surging Buckeyes into Happy Valley tonight to avenge the January 29th overtime loss to the Nittany Lions, 71-70. Alas, it was not to be, as the Nittany Lions beat the Buckeyes 65-63, to sweep the season series. It was an excruciating end to the game as Ohio State, down 1 point with 10 seconds remaining, then 2 points with 6 seconds remaining, completely lost their sensibilities on offense. In both scenes, rather than attack the basket, Lenzelle Smith Jr launched two 3-point shots that clanged off the iron.
The Buckeyes were led by LaQuinton Ross (19 pts, 5 rebs), Aaron Craft (10 pts, 4 asst) and Trey McDonald (9 pts, 3 blks). Ohio State shot 43% from the field (20-47), only 67% from the free throw line (18-27) and an embarrassing (29% (5-17) from 3-point range. Lenzelle Smith did grab 6 defensive rebounds, but his choice of shooting, 1-6 from the perimeter was deeply disappointing, especially for a senior. Well, Ohio State is now 22-7, 9-7 and has lost to Penn State (twice) and Nebraska this season. This is not at all what I’d imagined.
The Nittany Lions were led by D.J. Newbill’s 23 points, and Tim Frazier’s 16 points. In the previous game against OSU, Newbill also had 25 points, so he’s probably on to something. Penn State shot 44% (19-43) from the floor, 79% (22-28) from the free throw line and 38% (5-13) from the perimeter.
Ohio State held the halftime lead 28-26. After a quick start, the Buckeye offense went dormant at the end of the half as LaQuinton Ross’ FG at the 5:03 was OSU’s last FG of the half. Both teams shot 40% from the field; OSU was 10-25 while PSU was 9-22. Penn State’s 8 turnovers, to OSU’s 5 helped to blunt PSU opportunities, but OSU’s terrible free throw shooting (4-9) really kept the 1st half closer than it should have.
Things were a little choppy early in the 2nd half as the refs didn’t want their whistles to go to waste. At the 17 minute marks, DJ Newbill Ft’s tied the game at 33. At the midpoint, PSU grabbed a 36-35 lead, due to OSU still not figuring out how to attack a zone defense. At the under-12, the game was tied at 38. OSu was getting outrebounded 27-17, with PSU having 6 offensive rebounds to OSU’s 3. Just inside the 10 minutes mark, PSU held a 45-42 lead. At the under 4-minute mark, PSU held a 55-51 lead, thanks to another DJ Newbill 3-pointer. At the under-2 mark, PSU held a 59-55 lead.with :54 PSU had a 62-59 lead and the ball, and it wasn’t looking good for the Good Guys.
The Buckeyes’ next game is Sunday afternoon in Bloomington, IN against the Indiana Hoosiers. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:00 PM EST and will be televised coverage will be provided by CBS, check local listings. LiveChat will be provided by tBBC, beginning approximately a half hour before tip-off, check back here.