Going into the week, the Ohio State Buckeyes had won two of their last three games after losing five-consecutive on the hardwood. The scarlet and gray got a big win over Minnesota at home, but their good vibes quickly faded after they were dominated by the Hawkeyes in Iowa.
Ohio State gets much-needed win over Minnesota, 78-72
Searching for a win to add to their resume and their third conference win of the season, the Buckeyes hosted the Gophers, a team they had already lost to by 10 away from home just a few weeks prior. Coming into the game, Ohio State was playing some of their best basketball of the season, and that continued Wednesday night in their 78-72 win over Minnesota.
The Buckeyes usually have dug themselves into a big hole early and dig themselves out of it by midway through the second half. The polar opposite happened against the Gophers. With just over three minutes before the half, the scarlet and gray held a 17-point lead, looking to have the game in hand heading into the locker room. Minnesota had other ideas. To finish the first half, they went on a quick 12-0 run to force the Buckeyes to only have a 40-35 lead heading into the halftime locker room. In the first half, the scarlet and gray made all nine of their free-throws, shot 52 percent, and outrebounded the Gophers to own the five-point lead.
In the second half, Ohio State increased their lead to 10 with just over seven minutes remaining in the game, but that lead was quickly cut to just two after a 10-2 run by Minnesota. To finish the game, the Bucks surprisingly made a majority of their free throws to win their third in four games.
Trevor Thompson continued his impressive play in recent games with a career-high 19 points to go along with 10 rebounds, one assist, one steal, and three blocks. Marc Loving (19 points, two rebounds, two assists), JaQuan Lyle (11 points, one rebound, four assists, one steal), and Jae’Sean Tate (10 points, seven rebounds, two assists, one steal, two blocks) also scored in double figures for the Bucks.
Although he is happy about the win, head coach Thad Matta knows that his team must remain focused going forward.
“Every day is day one. I think when we’re in the position we’re in, we have to think that there’s a lot of basketball to still be played. The second that we feel like we have this figured out is not good for our team. We’ll come back in here tomorrow and prepare. Iowa’s a unique team in that they change defenses and do a lot of different things, so we have to be as sharp as we can when we go there.”
Unlike they have for much of the season, Ohio State shot decently well from the free-throw line. They made 23-of-30 from the foul line, including a few late in the game to clinch the win. The Buckeyes shot 50 percent from the field and 41 percent from long distance in the win.
Ohio State’s defense forced the Gophers to shoot just 41 percent from the floor, including 33 percent from beyond the arc. They also forced 13 turnovers.
Buckeyes sputter in Iowa and lose, 85-72
The Buckeyes caught a huge break heading into their game against Iowa: the Hawkeyes were going to be without Big Ten leading scorer Peter Jok. It didn’t end up helping at all.
Even with Iowa having lost their last three games and without the conference’s leading scorer, they still cruised past the Buckeyes Saturday night, with Ohio State losing to the Hawkeyes, 85-72.
Iowa was able to do whatever they wanted both on offense and defense. The Bucks trailed by as much as 20 in the in the game (with just over seven minutes remaining in the game) and trailed 40-29 at halftime.
While their offense woke up in the second set of 20 minutes, Ohio State’s defense still struggled. They allowed 45 points in the second half. Trailing by double-digits in the first half, their chances of (somehow) coming all the way back was virtually zero solely due to the fact that their defense was nonexistent.
Three Buckeyes scored in double-digits: Tate (17 points, seven rebounds, one assist, one steal), Kam Williams (14 points, two rebounds, four assists, one steal), and Lyle (12 points, two rebounds, six assists, one steal).
Thompson, who had been playing well while leading the Buckeyes, was scoreless after missing both of his shots. While not scoring, he had six rebounds before fouling out. It was his worst game of the season.
Ohio State always seems to struggle at Iowa, and those struggles continued Saturday night. They shot just 43 percent from the field, 32 percent from three-point range, and 65 percent from the free-throw line. Iowa shot 50 percent from the field and 44 percent from beyond the arc. Even though they shot just 55 percent from the foul stripe, Iowa made up for it from other parts of the floor.
The Bucks played poorly on both sides of the floor.
Coming up this week:
Tuesday vs. No. 22 Maryland (19-2, 7-1), 7 p.m. ET
Saturday at Michigan (14-8, 4-5), 6 p.m. ET