Buckeyes Roundball Roundup: A loss and a Big Ten win—finally!

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

The Ohio State Buckeyes men’s basketball team may not have started their week off on the right foot after getting blown out at Wisconsin, but their week ended with their first Big Ten win of the season against Michigan State.

Ohio State gets dominated in 89-66 blowout loss at Wisconsin

Over the years, the Buckeyes have rarely ever done well when playing at Wisconsin. With a struggling team that hasn’t won a conference game yet, those struggles continued Thursday night.

From start to finish, Ohio State was outplayed, whether it was on offense or defense. Ohio State never led. In fact, they trailed by as many as 32. Heading into halftime, the found themselves in a 45-27 hole and were never able to work their way back after being outscored 44-39 in the second half as well.

Four Buckeyes scored in double figures: JaQuan Lyle (13 points, three rebounds, two assists), Kam Williams (12 points, four rebounds), Trevor Thompson (11 points, nine rebounds, four blocks), and Jae’Sean Tate (10 points, four rebounds, one assist, two steals, one block). Although those four all notched double-digits, Ohio State struggled shooting for virtually the entire game. They shot 40 percent from the field and 25 percent from beyond the arc.

Along with struggling with their shot, the Bucks were also dominated on the boards, getting outrebounded 44-31 in the game. The scarlet and gray also allowed Wisconsin to shoot 49 percent from the field and 55 (!) percent from long distance. The Badgers made just 5-of-15 free throws. If they made even a little more of those, the blowout would have been even a wider margin.

Whether it was their poor shot selection, allowing Wisconsin to grab 21 offensive rebounds (which was as many defensive rebounds as the Buckeyes had), or Ohio State’s 12 turnovers, the scarlet and gray were just overmatched against Wisconsin.

One of the lone positives from the game is that the Buckeyes, who have struggled from the free-throw line for the majority of the season, made 19-of-23 free throws, which is an impressive 83 percent as a team.

With the loss, it is the first time Ohio State has started 0-4 in the Big Ten since doing so during the 1997-98 season and the first time in head coach Thad Matta’s tenure.

Buckeyes (finally) get their first conference win with 72-67 win over Michigan State

Heading into Sunday afternoon, Ohio State could have hung their heads after having the worst start to their conference season in 19 years. Instead, they realized the opportunity they had and that was to beat a good Spartans team on national television to earn their first Big Ten victory of the year, beating Sparty, 72-67.

After Michigan State made their first six shots of the game, the Buckeyes were able to regain the lead and led by as much as seven points while taking a 36-33 lead into the locker room. Forward Marc Loving talked about being able to fight back after Sparty made their first six shots following the game.

“We talked about playing through adversity the whole week. Our practices were really hard and in certain situations we had to play through adversity in practice. We were trying to have good reps in those situations to carry over to the game and I think it helped.”

In what was a game of runs, Ohio State was able to go on a 13-0 run to take the lead for good.

All five starters poured in double figures for the Buckeyes: Lyle (22 points, four rebounds, six assists), Loving (12 points, seven rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block), Tate (12 points, three rebounds, three steals), Thompson (10 points, eight rebounds, one assist), and Williams (10 points, one rebound, three assists). The three players off the bench may have only scored six points, but the starters did enough to pull out the win.

Lyle had his best game of the season. When it mattered most, he came through for the Buckeyes. Whether it was posting up a smaller opponent or taking a bigger opponent off the dribble, the guard was very impressive. He connected on 8-of-12 shots and an incredible 5-of-7 from downtown. He committed his first and only turnover of the game with a minute remaining in the contest. As a point guard, that’s mighty impressive. He knows that the team can build off a win like this.

“Yeah, definitely. Overall I think it was a great win for us and we have no choice but to build off it. I feel these past four games have been the lowest of lows for us and only way to go now is up. We have to keep each other accountable and keep pushing each other every day. It will all come together.”

The Bucks shot well from all three areas in the win, shooting 46 percent from the floor, 44 percent from beyond the arc, and 70 percent from the free-throw line. Although Michigan State shot well too, the scarlet and gray were able to force 17 turnovers, which was the game-changer.

If Ohio State plays like they did on Sunday the rest of the season, they may be able to wreak some havoc in the Big Ten the rest of the regular season. They have the playmakers, but so far this season, they just weren’t able to put a full game together like they did against Michigan State. If anything, the win over Sparty was a big confidence boost and made the Buckeyes realize that they can compete (and beat) the conference’s top teams this season. Matta, who many believe is on the hot seat, talked about how important the win was on Sunday.

“There’s no question about it, we needed this one. When we got back from Madison Thursday I told the guys that you have to stand for something in life. I wanted to see how we would respond this Sunday and I thought we did a good job.”

Coming up this week:

Wednesday at Nebraska (9-8, 3-2), 9 p.m. ET

Sunday vs. Northwestern (14-4, 3-2), 1 p.m. ET