Personal anecdotes aside, the Buckeyes walked into Assembly Hall today and into a proverbial trap game. Though Indiana has not won a conference game yet, they’re becoming increasingly more competitive with each loss. The Buckeyes, on the other hand, have won only one conference road game (@ Michigan) and are just 6-4 in their last 10 games. Indeed, that’s the way things looked after 20 minutes of play as the Buckeyes trailed by 2. However, the Buckeyes turned out big in the second half, eventually coasting to an otherwise hard-earned victory late in the second half.
Granted, Indiana is still limited in what they can do, and a road win in Bloomington doesn’t necessarily portend well for future games against the Boilermakers and Gophers, but it was great to see an otherwise anemic Buckeye offense get back on track. The Buckeyes shot 63% from the field and an impressive 58% from 3. Further, the offense didn’t degenerate into a series of everyone standing around and waiting for Evan Turner to do something. Jon Diebler took a gigantic step forward today, finishing with 21 points and 6/8 from the field. Most importantly, it was great to see Diebler active in creating his own shot. Not only was he able to create space for himself to make 3 pointers (5/7 for the game), but in doing so, he capitalized on Indiana’s inexperience to create some 4 point opportunities. Indiana’s penchant to foul the jumpshooter (and Pritchard getting his 4th foul so early into the second stanza) really turned the game around for the Buckeyes. The numbers escape me, but I remember clearly Diebler and Buford getting 4 point plays and Diebler getting fouled on a missed 3pt attempt.
Elsewhere, Turner, Buford and Simmons had career days. Turner led the Buckeyes with 29 points off of 10/14 shooting. He almost had a triple double if you consider turnovers (7) as well as rebounds (10). Many of his points were key down the stretch as welcome answers to one of Indiana’s numerous deep heaves that, for some reason, were good. Further, his 9 points to close the first half ensured that Ohio State was in good position for the second half. Jeremie Simmons and William Buford continued their fine run of play of recent. Simmons in particular was a dagger from the perimeter (3/5), as well from the offensive set (8 assists). Buford has really shined in the past several games. The freshman from Toledo was lights out from the field (8/12 ; 2/3 from the perimeter), seemingly giving Ohio State a true second scoring threat for the rest of the season.
The win gives Ohio State only their 6th win in 35 games at Assembly Hall and Thad Matta his 50th Big Ten victory. The Buckeyes return to the Value City Retirement Home to play host to the Boilermakers (on Tuesday) and Gophers (on Saturday) the next week. Indiana, losers of 11 straight, next host the Iowa Hawkeyes.
- Lauderdale is one of my favorite players on the team, but his reckless play continued in large part today. Fortunately, he wasn’t penalized for some of it late down the stretch (and hence: some of the freakouts by Tom Crean on the Indiana bench). He should know better than to jump at a shot if he’s leaning forward because he doesn’t appear to be able to stop himself. Given his wingspan, I think I’d encourage him to try not to jump at all if he’s left on the perimeter. That said, that is how he got one of his blocks late in the stretch… and even got a phantom foul called against Matt Roth for it (and hence: more freakouts by Tom Crean on the Indiana bench).
- BJ Mullens didn’t score today, which was odd. He even airballed one. Fortunately, Diebler, Turner, Buford and Simmons more than covered for him.
- I hate the 3 point line. I really do. It was a gimmick by the ABA back in the day and, unfortunately, it didn’t die with it. Imagine awarding 9 points (pending an extra point) on a TD pass from beyond the 50 yard line, or that 3-tiered hoop thingie from MTV’s celebrity basketball games in the early nineties, and that’s basically how I view the 3pt line. Matt Roth absolutely torched the Buckeyes from deep. All field goals for him came from way beyond the 3pt line. He finished with 29 points off 9/11 shooting.
- Someone might have to fill me in about why there was a post-halftime meeting at midcourt between coaches because I didn’t get to watch the first half. I was too busy Mossing people down here.
- Indiana basketball fans are as boorish and obnoxious as Penn State (or Ohio State) football fans. In other words: I’m really jealous. I wish I had that kind of atmosphere in the Schottenstein Center. Kudos to them for contributing to the ambience of that game and getting lathered up for their 5 win Hoosiers.
- No one in attendance knew who Art Schlichter was. Seriously, who doesn’t know about Art Schlichter? [↩]