A day after a soul-crushing loss to Texas in the Fiesta Bowl, the men’s hoops team continued its losing skid on the road in East Lansing tonight. The Buckeyes started out strong, but a 22-7 run to end the first half gave Sparty an 11 point lead at intermission. It was a lead that the Buckeyes could never really chip at during the second half, eventually culminating in a 9 point loss in the Breslin Center tonight. The loss is the Buckeyes’ second consecutive and third in their last 4 outings.
Perhaps it was welcome that the ESPN2 broadcast of the game encountered numerous technical difficulties in the second half. The distraction gave me cause to do something else when I’d otherwise be watching Ohio State play uninspired basketball. Accordingly, a full understanding of what transpired on the Ohio State side of the ball is lacking. That said, there were some things that the average viewer could’ve picked up on even with a limited view of the game.
- I’m pulling for Dallas Lauderdale, and I like everything I’ve read about him during practice and elsewhere. Yet, he was absolutely lost during this game. Early into the half, I wondered to myself if Lauderdale would finish the game with more fouls than points. Indeed, he did. Lauderdale finished with 2 points and 3 fouls, with the 3rd foul coming early into the second half. He was afflicted by foul trouble for almost all of the first half.
- Some other Buckeyes put up very good numbers. Turner had a usual Evan Turner game (14pts [5/11], 10reb). Further, William Buford (17pts [7/13]) and BJ Mullens (16pts [8/14]) had great games as well. The difference in outcome was that damned run to end the first half. The 3 pointers kept falling and, well, there wasn’t much we could do about it… then or afterwards.
- I was also impressed with Sparty’s fast break offense. Ohio State wasn’t able to keep up and, though I don’t have the statistics on me, the transition points helped Michigan State.
- The point guard dilemma for Ohio State looms more and more with each passing game. PJ Hill and Jeremie Simmons, the latter the starter, put forward efforts that were, well… efforts. PJ Hill played 20 minutes with only 3 assists and zero points to show for it. Simmons started and had only 2 points, both from the charity stripe. Turnovers weren’t an issue for either Hill or Simmons, but their efforts were the clear definition of “unproductive” for the night.
With problems abounding for Ohio State basketball this season, the next game should serve as a necessary breather to hammer some things out. The Buckeyes next play, at home, against Houston Baptist — a school that I didn’t even know existed until Ohio State scheduled them — on January 9. Houston Baptist is 1-14 on this season, likely to be 1-15 after tonight’s game against Iowa State. They’re also an independent school, which is usually a good indicator that the school just moved up to Division I for… well… whatever reason it is that schools like NJIT and Houston Baptist rush up to Division I just to get killed game in and game out, further squashing any attempt at program building.