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Basketball Buckeyes Win Their Opener
November 11, 2016

​For the first time since 1971, Ohio State opened with a road victory, defeating the host Midshipmen by a final score of 78-68. The game also marked the first time in the Thad Matta era the Buckeyes played their opener on the road. It took a hot shooting effort for the Buckeyes who hit 10 of 18 from long range to pull away from the scrappy Navy team.  

Both teams came out sluggish in their respective openers, as Navy built an early 7-2 lead. Ohio State stormed back to tie it and took a lead midway through the first half despite turning the ball over 7 times and struggling once again at the line. Navy owned the backboard early, especially on the offensive glass, outrebounding the bigger Buckeyes 8-1 in the first half, as the Buckeyes struggled to find any momentum. The 5 point halftime lead was primarily due to the 3 point shooting as the Buckeyes hit 5 of 9 from downtown as Keita Bates-Diop led the way with 14 in the first 20 minutes. 

The second half saw Navy come out quick, tying the score, but Ohio State turned on the gas and eventually built a 20 point lead thanks to hot shooting from Kam Williams who led the Buckeyes with 23 points, including 5-6 from beyond the arc. Despite turning the ball over 17 times and having several lapses on defense, the shooting bailed them out time and time again. Newcomer, PG C.J. Jackson came off the bench and seemed to spark the Buckeyes on both sides of the floor dishing out 9 assists while playing aggressive defense on the point of the full court pressure. Coach Thad Matta may have sent a message to his sophomore star guard JaQuan Lyle, who didn’t see the floor after Jackson entered early in the second half. While not singling Lyle out specifically, he was quoted after the game saying “If you want to play, you’ve got to be able to play on both ends of the floor. Hopefully our guys are getting that message.” 

Bates-Diop recorded a double-double on the night, tallying 14 boards to go along with his 14 points despite not scoring in the second half. The Buckeyes put 5 guys in double figures in the scoring column on the night. Adding to Williams’ and Bates-Diop’s totals, Marc Loving added 13, Jae’Sean Tate added 10 and Trevor Thompson dropped in 11 off the bench. 

Overall, a sloppy start to the 2016-17 season for Ohio State and they will need a much better effort going forward to be successful in what will be a difficult schedule for the Buckeyes. The inconsistency in effort is something Thad Matta will not tolerate this season and he showed today that if you don’t play with the kind of effort on the defensive end that he and his staff expects, floor time will be tough to come by. In the end, however, any win is a good win, especially on the road. The Buckeyes need to win games that they are supposed to win, and they are off to a good start in that category so we will see what adjustments can be made in a short turn around for a game on Monday evening.

The Buckeyes will be back at it Monday, opening their home slate against North Carolina Central at 9PM in the Schott.

-Jason Harris​
Buckeyes Add Juco Point Guard
April 12, 2016

Thad Matta and the basketball Buckeyes landed a commitment from junior college point guard C.J. Jackson today. At 6'1" 170 pounds, Jackson, who played his freshman year at Eastern Florida State, will assume the backup point guard duties behind JaQuan Lyle, and also can play some shooting guard. A Charlotte, NC native, Jackson played his high school ball at Montverde Academy in Florida. He will be eligible immediately and have 3 years remaining. Jackson, who averaged 16.9 points per game and 4.9 boards, along with 4.4 dimes while shooting 45% from long range, was also considering UConn, Missouri, UNLV and Cal among others. I would expect Coach Matta to add another player or two this summer to round out his roster for next season.

-Jason Harris​
Ohio State Basketball Looking to Rebound from a Down 2015-16
October 31, 2016

As the warm summer air begins to turn to a fall chill and the calendar flips to November, most sports fans in Columbus are busy discussing the most recent victory on the gridiron or the impact on the College Football Playoff. However, deep in the recesses of the Jerome Schottenstein Center, a faint sound of shoes squeaking on the gym floor and the zip of another ball passing through the net can be heard. Suddenly a whistle sounds and Coach Thad Matta’s basketball Buckeyes come to attention, listening to the coach bark out information and direction, preparing his players for another season on the hardwood. 

We now enter ‘game’ week for the Buckeyes as they prepare to host Walsh University in their annual exhibition matchup Sunday before opening officially a week from Friday in Annapolis, Maryland against Navy. The Buckeyes come in with higher expectations this season as they return all five starters from a 21 win team a year ago and disappointing finish, losing in the NIT second round. Thad Matta serves last year as a constant reminder to his players that at Ohio State, last year’s performance was unacceptable. Gone are 4 of the 5 members of last year’s recruiting class who Coach Matta famously referred to as ‘problems’, but back are a core group of players who gained a year of experience and much needed growth as a basketball team. Over the summer Coach Matta addressed his coaching style as well, saying “I’m going to coaching basketball. I’m going back to running this program the way we did when we got here.” The first step in that development was adding former Buckeye player and former Buckeye assistant, Chris Jent, who will bring a level of toughness to the program that it has been lacking the last couple of seasons.

Returning from injury but appearing to be very healthy is the heartbeat of the team, in forward, Jae’Sean Tate. Tate will bring the hustle and grit this team needs in the paint as well as leadership on the floor by setting an example to the younger guys with his style of play. The lone senior on the team, Marc Loving has improved every year, and is looking to increase that arc in his last season in Columbus and will be counted on to carry some of the scoring load and improve on the defensive end of the floor. On the wing, sharp shooter Keita Bates-Diop will be counted on to stretch the defense from beyond the arc as well as provide the length defensively on the perimeter that every good team has in its arsenal. Bates-Diop was playing very well towards the end of last season, when a case of mononucleosis sidelined him in the Big Ten tournament and on into the NIT. Running the point may be the best NBA prospect of the bunch in JaQuan Lyle. Lyle was asked to do a lot last year as a true freshman, but the inconsistencies and immaturities of a young player sometimes took the forefront. The Buckeyes will need Lyle to become the true floor general that Matta’s teams have generally had throughout his coaching tenure. Manning the center position will once again be Trevor Thompson, who at times showed flashes of brilliance in his big 6’10” frame and his ability to run the floor, but inconsistency and lack of discipline on defense led to some silly fouls and his inability to actually stay on the floor and out of foul trouble. The Buckeyes will need Thompson to spend more minutes in the game and less on the bench for them to reach their ultimate ceiling. Also returning is big man, Dave Bell, who despite his sleight of frame, provided some needed and valuable minutes off the bench and will be counted on for the same role this season, but most likely will find significant minutes hard to come by.

Four newcomers were added to the roster this season as well, and at least a couple will be looked at to supply significant minutes off the bench.   C.J. Jackson, a juco transfer will provide a spark at the point guard position to not only spell Lyle, but allow JaQuan to move to the 2 and come off screens to utilize his scoring ability as well. Jackson also provides an ability to shoot the basketball from long range which will stretch the defense and open up some things on the inside. A pair of big men join the roster this season as well and some potentially key minutes could be necessary for both.  Derek Funderburk, a 6'9" forward from Lakewood, Ohio via Hargrave Military Academy could provide valuable minutes in the post.  Micah Potter from Mentor Ohio, also from a prep school, Montverde Academy in Florida, the same school as former Buckeye D’Angelo Russell, has the ability to stretch the floor in his 6’9” 240 pound frame, which should create some matchup problems for many Buckeye opponents. The Buckeyes also added Andre Wesson, whose brother is a 2017 commit and father was a Buckeye under Eldon Miller in the early 1980’s may not be counted on for significant minutes, but is a natural defender on the perimeter, utilizing a long wingspan at 6’6”. As a late commit to Matta’s Buckeyes, Wesson could be the surprise of the class.

The schedule this year in the Big Ten will be as brutal as ever as 5 conference teams appear in the preseason AP poll, with Wisconsin pacing the way at number 9. The Buckeyes also have #8 Virginia on the docket in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge in Charlottesville in late November along with back to back games with #18 UConn in Columbus and #16 UCLA in Las Vegas in early December so they will be tested early. However, despite the challenging schedule, there is plenty of optimism coming out of Buckeye practice that should have fans excited. This season, youth will not, and cannot be an excuse or a crutch if the team fails early, but the coaching staff has taken a different approach to the offseason and in practice to give Buckeye Nation some hope for the upcoming campaign. The addition of Chris Jent to the coaching staff should provide immediate and evident dividends in the shooting and toughness departments of this basketball team. Add to the fact that the nucleus of this team has played together for an entire season and offseason, hopes are once again high in and around the program. The proof will be in the results as far as Buckeye fans are concerned and we are a long way from being able to tell if the turnaround is complete, but they will have ample opportunity on some big stages to prove it. Ultimately if I were in the prediction game, and for the purposes of this article, I am, I see Ohio State finishing somewhere in the top 5 of the conference, and making a triumphant return to the Big Dance in March, seeding to be determined, but if I had to guess, somewhere in the 5-7 range and a potential run to the sweet 16. Time will tell if I’m right and we will all be watching with bated breath as they tip it off in about a week.

-Jason Harris​
Buckeyes Cruise in Exhibition Victory
November 6, 2016

​Fans got a preview of the upcoming college basketball season on Sunday afternoon in the Schottenstein Center as Thad Matta’s Buckeyes played their lone exhibition game of the season. In their annual matchup against Division II Walsh University, the Buckeyes gradually pulled away from the visiting Cavaliers in route to a 85-67 win. 

Both teams struggled to gain any rhythm or flow in the first 20 minutes, as the whistles were aplenty with officials calling a combined 28 fouls. The Buckeyes held a steady lead throughout most of the first half despite the sloppy play and led 40-32 at the break.  JaQuan Lyle led the Buckeyes in the first half, dropping in 12 and Keita Bates-Diop added 9.

The Buckeyes looked more fluid early in the second half, jumping out to an early 16-3 run that put the game away for intents and purposes, leading by as many as 24 at one point. Lyle led Ohio State with 14 points and 6 boards, with Bates-Diop, Kam Williams and Jae’Sean Tate all hitting the double figure mark, scoring 12,11 and 10 respectively. 

The starting lineup saw 4 returnees, but maybe one surprise in freshman, Micah Potter starting at center. Potter can stretch the floor with the 3, and also create matchup problems with his ability to put the ball on the deck and get to the rim. However, there were plenty of minutes to be had in this one as 11 Buckeyes saw floor time as Coach Matta typically likes to do early in any basketball season. The first two off the bench were not surprising as Trevor Thompson and Kam Williams came on early, followed shortly thereafter by juco transfer point guard C.J. Jackson Andre WessonDerek Funderburk and Dave Bell rounded out the rotation.  

Particularly impressive in this game was the play of C.J. Jackson who could provide big minutes at the point, and also allow Coach Matta to move Lyle to the 2, freeing him up to create offense of the bounce. Jackson brings a defensive tenacity but also has an offensive game too. He has shown the ability to shoot the ball from the outside. He dropped 6 assists in this game as well which demonstrates his floor vision and ability to see the floor. The Buckeyes seemed to make a concerted effort in this basketball game to move the ball and find the open shooter and work less out of isolation which they relied on often a year ago.  

We will find out more as the early season progresses and the Buckeyes settle into a consistent rotation, but for now, it seems as if the Buckeyes will have plenty of options, and we will see if that translates into wins. 

Ohio State begins its regular season Friday, traveling to Annapolis, Maryland, to play Navy as part of the Veterans Classic at 9 PM.

-Jason Harris​
For More Stories From the 2016-17 Season, Click Here

Buckeyes Struggle in Win
November 14, 2016

​In what turned out to be a very sloppy game start to finish, Ohio State edged out an undermanned North Carolina Central team 69-63 before a sparse crowd at the Schottenstein Center. The first half went back and forth early before Ohio State jumped out to a 12-0 run midway through to lead by 10. Freshman Micah Potter drilled a pair of 3’s during the run in which it seemed like Ohio State would put the game away early. However, that lead was quickly erased by the Eagles as they attacked the rim through the lane time and time again going on a 16-3 run to take the lead late in the half. However, a late fade away three at the horn from JaQuan Lyle gave the Buckeyes a slim 2 point advantage as they hit the locker room. Jae’Sean Tate led the Buckeyes in the first 20 minutes with 13 to go along with Potter’s 11. Foul trouble hampered Marc Loving’s minutes in the first half as a couple of quick fouls saw him spend most of the half on the bench.

The second half was much of the same as the teams went back and forth and every time it seemed like Ohio State would pull away, the pesky Eagles answered. After Kam Williams buried a 3 to put Ohio State up by 12 at the 6 ½ minute mark, it appeared the Buckeyes would coast to the finish, but back to back 3’s from UNC Central and the Eagles got right back in it. The teams would play relatively even the rest of the way as Ohio State missed several FT’s late that would’ve iced it. 

The Buckeyes, who seemed to show fatigue from a quick turn around after playing at Navy on Friday night, shot only 46% from the field and hit just 6 of 21 from long range. Once again the free throw line was a major concern with the Buckeyes only making 11 of their 21 attempts. 

Tate led the Buckeyes with a double-double, scoring 21 points and adding 10 boards, with Micah Potter adding 13 as the only two Buckeyes to reach double figures.  C.J. Jackson came off the bench to deal out 8 assists for the winning Buckeyes.

In the end, you chalk up this one to a win is a win category. The Buckeyes were clearly not a very good basketball team tonight and must play much better to compete in a very good Big Ten Conference. They better figure it out in a hurry with Providence coming to town on Thursday. If they don’t get production from their veteran guys like JaQuan Lyle, Marc Loving and Keita Bates-Diop, it could be a long season. So, it’s time to refocus and get better and hopefully come out Thursday with a renewed energy and ready to go. So take the win, learn from your mistakes and throw this one in the trash and move on. Time will tell what this team can be but judging from tonight, they are a long way from meeting their goals.

-Jason Harris​
Ohio State Battles to Big Early Season Victory
November 17, 2016

​Ohio State played their most complete game of the young season, utilizing strong play in the paint to hold off a 3 point barrage from Providence in a 72-67 win in the Schott on Thursday evening.  JaQuan Lyle came alive when they needed him the most, leading the Buckeyes with 21 points to go along with 8 boards and 7 dimes. When JaQuan Lyle is engaged on both ends of the floor, Ohio State is clearly a better basketball team and it showed in this game. 

Ohio State(3-0) took a 10 point margin into the break, led by Lyle’s 15 and Jae’Sean Tate’s 11, utilizing a 22-8 advantage in the paint. The combination of Trevor Thompson and David Bell sparked Ohio State on both ends of the floor early as Micah Potter sat after picking up 2 quick fouls just 3 minutes into the game. After a 3 at the head of the key late in the first half brought the Buckeye lead to 12, the Friars answered with a bucket just before the horn to get the margin to 10 as the teams retreated to the locker rooms.

Providence stormed out of the gates early in the second half, getting out to a 7-0 run, all by forward Rodney Bullock, who had a game high 27, cutting the Ohio State lead to 3 and forcing Thad Matta to call a timeout at the 17:27 mark. The Buckeyes promptly went on a 5-0 run of their own, building the lead back to 8 and that lead held pretty steady until Bullock hit a 3 from the left wing at the midway point of the half cutting the lead back to 1. The Buckeyes answered again with a 9-0 run of their own as Lyle, who distributed the ball very well all night long, dropped a pair of assists to Marc Loving for a deuce and Kam Williams from the corner for 3 to go along with a pair of Lyle free throws and the Buckeyes were back in control. Providence kept battling, utilizing the 3 point ball to hang in the game but could never get closer than 4 the rest of the way. Ohio State dominated in the paint, outscoring the Friars 42-20 around the rim and forced the Friars to hit from long range to stay in the game. Despite turning it over 11 times to the Friars 3, the Buckeyes got the win with solid play inside and hitting on 50% of their attempts from the field and 14 of their 20 free throw attempts, while forcing Providence to just 35% shooting. To go along with Lyle’s 21, Jae’Sean Tate added 14 and Trevor Thompson scored 12 while adding 9 boards and Marc Loving chipped in with 10. As good as the win was, a bit of a downer as junior forward Keita Bates-Diop was helped off the floor with an ankle injury midway through the second half and did not return. The latest coming out of Ohio State is that it was a sprain and he is listed as day to day.

A big win for the Buckeyes early in the season and which should give them confidence moving forward. The play of JaQuan Lyle has to come as a needed breath of fresh air for Thad Matta and his staff because they need him to be a floor general and the leader that was on display in this game. When Lyle is playing with intensity on both ends of the floor, the Buckeyes are an entirely different basketball team. I also believe Ohio State is a different team when Trevor Thompson is on the floor and aggressive but smart on defense and crashing the glass. He gives them a presence in the middle that they just don’t have when Micah Potter is on the floor. Potter can stretch the floor on offense, but is a liability on defense so far in his young career. But with Thompson, you have a more physical presence and guy who can change shots around the rim. We will see how Coach Matta plays it as we move forward through the non-conference, but he had to like what he saw out of his bunch in this game. No we’ll see if they can be consistent in that kind of effort night in and night out. If they can, this could be a fun team to watch. 

The Buckeyes suit up again against the Catamounts of Western Carolina on Monday night at 7PM in the Schott.

-Jason Harris​
Buckeyes Cruise Past Catamounts
November 21, 2016

​Ohio State opened the season with their fourth straight victory, cruising past Western Carolina 66-38 at the Schott.  JaQuan Lyle played his second straight solid game, leading the winning Buckeyes with 17 points to lead all scorers. The Buckeyes went largely unchallenged throughout this one as the Catamounts posed no challenge on the offensive end shooting just 27% from the floor and turning the ball over 20 times.  Jae’Sean Tate added a double-double, recording 14 points and 11 boards as the Buckeyes played without Keita Bates-Diop who sat out with an ankle injury suffered in the Providence victory.  Kam Williams started in Bates-Diop’s place and added 13 points in the win.  

For the game, Ohio State(4-0) shot just 42% from the floor, but outscored the undermanned Catamounts 36-10 in the paint. The Buckeyes led 32-18 after the first 20 minutes, but outscored Western Carolina to start the second half 17-4 to pull away. Lyle and Tate led the Buckeyes in the first 20 minutes with 12 and 11 respectively as the Catamounts posed little challenge. After Western Carolina scored the first 4 points of the game, Ohio State went on a 9-0 run and the game was not close from there. 

4 Buckeyes scored double figures in this game. To go along with the aforementioned Lyle, Tate and Williams, Trevor Thompson came off the bench to chip in 10 points and 8 boards. So, a solid win for the Buckeyes who begin a stretch of 3 games in 5 days, all at home, to subpar opponents, but as they are well aware, these are games they must be ready to play as evidence by 2 home losses to mid major opponents a year ago. After this stretch, the Buckeyes head to Charlottesville, Virginia to take on the Cavaliers, so gaining confidence in games such as this is very important. They need to get Keita Bates-Diop back in the next game or two to be ready for that one. There is a possibility he will suit up on Wednesday and they need him to get rolling to compete in games like they will have next week.

The Buckeyes will next be in action Wednesday when they host Jackson State at 7PM in the Schott.  

-Jason Harris​
Basketball Bucks Roll to 5th Straight Win
November 23, 2016

​The Ohio State men’s basketball team jumped out early and kept the gas pedal down as they floored Jackson State 78-47 to open the 2016-17 season at 5-0. Marc Loving found his shooting stroke and led the Buckeyes with 19 points as Thad Matta’s group used a balanced attack to play their most complete game of the young season on both ends of the floor, utilizing their superior size and athleticism to overwhelm an outmatched Tiger outfit. After Jackson State went on a 13-2 run early to lead by 6, Ohio State countered with a 14-0 run of their own and never looked back, utilizing an additional 15-0 run to lead by as many as 18 before heading to the break, up 17. Kam Williams led the Buckeyes with 12 points in the first 20 minutes, hitting all 5 of his shot attempts. Loving added 8 and JaQuan Lyle dished out 8 assists.

The Buckeyes, playing their second straight game without junior forward Keita Bates-Diop, shot the ball at a 55% clip from the floor, hitting on 13 of 27 from long range for a scorching 48%. For the second straight game, the Ohio State defense reared its ugly head holding the Tigers to just 30% shooting to go along with 20 turnovers. 

The Tigers came out hot in the second half, chipping the lead down to 12 at the under 12 minute timeout, but the Buckeyes promptly went on a 24-12 run to bury the Tigers. 

In addition to Loving's 19, Kam Williams added 15 and Lyle recorded a double-double, scoring 10 points and dealing out 11 assists. Trevor Thompson was once again effective off the bench, scoring 6 points and pulling down 8 boards. 

Several positives came from a solid, blowout win over mid-major opponent, Jackson State, who is picked to be a top contender to win the SWAC. Loving seemed to find his shooting stroke and Lyle continues to be the floor general, Thad Matta desperately needs. Backup PG, C.J. Jackson who came into Columbus with a reputation for shooting the basketball, got off the snide, drilling his first triple of his young Buckeye career, which will hopefully give him the confidence he needs going forward. The Buckeyes get one more tune-up on Friday before their first true test of the season at #7 Virginia next week.

Matta’s boys will be back in action on Friday evening, hosting the Marshall Thundering Herd at 7PM in the Schott.

-Jason Harris​
Ohio State Dominates Marshall to Move to 6-0
November 25, 2016

​The Basketball Buckeyes completed a run of 3 games in 5 days with their most impressive outing to date, dominating from start to finish in a 111-70 rout of visiting Marshall.  Marc Loving and Jae’Sean Tate led the way, each scoring 20, as Ohio State dominated on both ends of the floor, rolling to their 6th straight win to open the season. 

It was all Buckeyes from the get go as they opened up a double digit lead less than 6 minutes into the game and never looked back, racking up an impressive 60 point first half. It was the first time an Ohio State team eclipsed the 60 point mark in the opening half since 1991. The Buckeyes had their way with the run and gun style of the Thundering Herd, scoring in a variety of ways, with Kam Williams knocking down triples and the penetration of C.J. Jackson and JaQuan Lyle leading to easy drop offs and layups for Trevor Thompson who led all scorers at the break with 15. Three Buckeyes eclipsed the double figure point mark in the first 20 minutes, with the aforementioned Thompson, Williams and Loving each netted 11. 

Marshall had a mini run in them early in the second half cutting the lead down to as close as 14 at one point before Ohio State went to work again, going on a 16-5 run to bury the Herd once and for all. Kam Williams, starting again for the injured Keita Bates-Diop, buried 5 triples to pace the Bucks from beyond the arc and totaled 17 for the game. In all, 6 Buckeyes scored in double figures as Thompson and Lyle added 15 and 12 respectively and Micah Potter added 12. Potter and Loving both recorded double-doubles as Loving added 14 rebounds to his 20 point total and Potter ripped down 12 boards to add to his career highs in both categories. The Buckeyes had their way on the glass, out-rebounding the Herd 61-32 in a game that featured a lot of possessions and very little use of the shot clock.

Overall, an impressive performance for the Buckeyes for the second straight game and this one appeared to play into their hands with Marshall playing an up and down style of game that struggled against the length and athleticism of Ohio State. It was another game where the play of Marc Loving and Trevor Thompson seemed to impact the basketball game on both ends of the floor and when those two are playing well, this can be a very good basketball team. The Buckeyes will hope to carry this positive momentum into a very tough environment next week at 7th ranked Virginia. If they can get that kind of play from their veteran leaders, they have a chance to make things very interesting in that one. Until then, they will enjoy the 6-0 start and continue to work to improve.  

Next up for the Buckeyes is a trip to Charlottesville, Virginia for a matchup with #7 Virginia in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Wednesday evening. Tip time for that matchup will be 9PM.

-Jason Harris​
Buckeyes Bounce Back to Beat Connecticut
December 10, 2016

​Ohio State needed a win in the worst way. Coming off an upset loss to Florida Atlantic, the Buckeyes were desperate for a win and they were able to get it, holding off a shorthanded UConn squad, 64-60 in the Schott this evening.  Trevor Thompson came off the bench to record a double-double, scoring a career high 17, while pulling down 17 boards to lead the Buckeyes in both offensive categories. 

Ohio State got off to a big start, pulling out to an 8 point lead, but poor shooting for the second straight game plagued the Buckeyes on the offensive end and allowed UConn to take a 34-32 halftime advantage. Thompson paced the Buckeyes in the first 20 minutes, scoring 9 and Jae’Sean Tate added 7. The Buckeyes shot just 37% from the field in the first half, hitting only 2 of 12 from deep but the defense stayed engaged, forcing 10 Husky turnovers, to just only 3 for Ohio State.

The Huskies stormed out of the locker room, stretching their lead to as big as 8, before Ohio State stormed right back, utilizing a 7-0 run to take the lead midway through the second half when Thompson buried a pair of free throws. The game went back and forth the rest of the way, and with the game tied at 54-54 with 2:40 to go, the two teams headed to their respective benches for the final media timeout. Coming out of that timeout, Thompson buried a pair of free throws to give the Buckeyes a lead that they would not relinquish. On the ensuing possession, UConn turned the ball over and JaQuan Lyle added two free throws, to stretch the lead to 4 with a minute and a half remaining. 

The Buckeyes won this game despite shooting just 34% from the floor, including 2 of 18 from three. Despite the poor shooting from the floor, they were able to convert 26 of 34 from the free throw line for a 76.5% clip. In addition to Thompson’s 17, Lyle added 16 and Tate scored 13 to lead the Buckeyes. 

So, for the second straight game Ohio State really struggled to shoot the basketball, but this time, against a bit better team, they were able to keep their focus defensively and they did a very good job taking care of the basketball. Combine that with a solid night at the line, and it was a recipe to survive an off shooting night. They will need to be much better soon, but a win sometimes is just that, a win. With a week off before UCLA looming, I expect Thad Matta to take a hard look at his lineup, and I would not be surprised to see Keita Bates-Diop back in the starting lineup replacing Kam Williams, who really succeeds in that bench role and may need to get back to that. The other change has to be Trevor Thompson replacing Micah Potter. Potter has a bright future with his ability to stretch the floor, but Thompson adds a dimension on the defensive end that Potter just can’t provide.

Ohio State will take a week off and next take the floor in Las Vegas in the CBS Sports Classic, playing second ranked UCLA at 3:00PM. 

-Jason Harris​
Buckeyes Blow Big Lead and Fall at 6th Ranked Virginia
November 30, 2016

​Ohio State, facing their first true challenge of the young season built a big first half lead, but couldn’t finish, falling to Virginia 63-61 in Charlottesville. It was a game that saw Ohio State build a lead up to 16 late in the first half but fail to value the basketball all game long, turning it over 20 times leading the Cavaliers to erase the big lead and pull out the 2 point win. It was a tale of 2 halves as Ohio State blitzed Virginia early, going on two separate 8-0 runs in the first half, the second capped off by a pair of C.J. Jackson 3’s from the left wing to force Virginia to call a timeout at the 3:40 mark of the half, down 16. Coming out of the timeout, the Buckeyes struggled to take care of the basketball, turning it over on 3 straight possessions and Virginia was able to cut the lead to 11. Ohio State was able to steady the ship and go into the locker room up 12.  Jae’Sean Tate led all scorers with 12 as the Buckeyes enjoyed a lead on the road after 20 minutes, thanks to a hot shooting start. The Buckeyes shot 60% from the field and forced Virginia to shoot only 29% in building what was at the time a comfortable lead. 

The second half started exactly the opposite of what Thad Matta and the Buckeyes would’ve hoped as Virginia stormed out to an 11-0 run to cut the lead to just one forcing Coach Matta to call a timeout at the 17:07 mark. Virginia kept the gas pedal down, grabbing their first lead of the game at the 16 minute mark but a 3 from C.J. Jackson got the Buckeyes back in front and they were able to settle down and essentially take the crowd out of the game, building an 8 point lead with 9:38 left. The game then went back and forth and Virginia forced back to back turnovers and was able to regain the lead that they would not relinquish with 1:49 to go, forcing the Buckeyes to call a timeout. After a Buckeye miss, the Cavaliers grabbed a 4 point lead before Marc Loving hit a runner in the lane to cut it to 2. Virginia answered with a pair of their own and inexplicably fouled JaQuan Lyle on the next possession and he was able to knock down a pair of free throws and the lead was once again trimmed to 2. On the ensuing inbounds play, Ohio State fouled and Virginia promptly missed 2 free throws giving Ohio State some life. After Ohio State advanced the ball beyond half court, Matta called timeout with 6.5 seconds potentially creating a dramatic finish. On the inbounds play the ball was in the hands of JaQuan Lyle who dribbled out of a double team at the top of the key and launched a long 3 pointer that if it went, would’ve given Ohio State the win, but although on target, fell just short, hitting the front of the rim and falling to the floor and Virginia escaped with a hard fought win. Jae’Sean Tate led the Buckeyes with 14 and JaQuan Lyle added 12 in a losing effort. 

For Ohio State, many positives can be gained from playing in a very difficult environment against one of America’s top teams and despite the loss showed tremendous amount of fight. It showed me and hopefully Buckeye nation that this is a basketball team capable of winning a lot of ball games and being very competitive in the Big Ten Conference. Keep in mind that the Buckeyes were once again without the services of junior wing Keita Bates-Diop who, when healthy, can be a difference maker on both ends of the floor and I firmly believe with him on the floor, Ohio State wins that game. So if there is such a thing as a good loss, this was one and Ohio State will hopefully have a lot of confidence as they move forward that they are capable of being a very good basketball team and certainly one of the top 25 teams in America. 

The Buckeyes head home for a stretch of games that kick off with Fairleigh Dickinson on Saturday afternoon in the Schott. Tip time is set for 4:30 PM.

-Jason Harris​
Basketball Bucks Net First Big Ten Win
January 15, 2017

​Ohio State and Coach Thad Matta needed some positive momentum after dropping their first four conference games to start the season and the Buckeyes answered the bell. Behind a team high 22 from JaQuan Lyle, Ohio State held off Michigan State 72-67 to get a big win over the Spartans in Columbus. Lyle also dropped 6 dimes to go along with a career high 5 triples to lead the Buckeyes to the much needed victory. 

The Buckeyes trailed midway through the first half due to a hot start from Michigan State, who hit their first 6 shots. Once again it looked like this game would go like the previous 4 with Michigan State jumping out to an early 7 point advantage. However, utilizing menacing defense and dominance on the glass, Ohio State went on an 11-0 run to turn the game around and lead by 7 with 7 minutes to go in the first 20 minutes. When Josh Langford hit a long 3 at the horn, the teams went to the locker room with Ohio State up 3.

The game went back and forth for much of the second half until the Buckeyes finally responded with a 10-0 run capped off by a pair of assists by Lyle, one to Jae’Sean Tate, who buried a 3 from the right corner and the second off a penetration and dump to Trevor Thompson who capped off the 10-0 run with a layup. Ohio State led for the remainder of the game as Michigan State got as close as 3 late, but a pair of free throws, one each by Tate and Kam Williams sealed the game for the victorious Buckeyes. 

The Buckeyes put 5 in double figures, led by the 22 from Lyle.  Marc Loving and Tate added 12 each and Williams and Thompson each netted 10. Thompson also pulled down 8 boards and had a big block late as the shot clock was expiring to extinguish any thoughts of a Spartan comeback.

So, a few observations from today’s game; First, the Buckeyes showed intensity that had been lacking of late on the defensive end of the floor especially, forcing the Spartans into 17 turnovers, which is very uncharacteristic of Tom Izzo teams. Secondly, they came out with a solid game plan and executed it extremely well. Senior Marc Loving looked very engaged from the jump, which has been a criticism throughout his career. He has immense talent, but at times can look uninterested, but that certainly wasn’t the case in this game. Finally, offensively, the team shared the ball very well and Lyle took on the role of the floor general and seemed to understand exactly what Coach Matta wanted him to do. All in all, this is exactly what this team needs to understand going forward. Play sound, aggressive team defense and share the ball on offense and get contribution from a number of players. If this team can execute at this level going forward, they have a chance to still affect the Big Ten race. They have dug themselves a hole, but today was an excellent step in the right direction. 

The Buckeyes will look to continue the positive momentum in Lincoln, Nebraska on Wednesday night with another road test at Nebraska. Game time for that match-up is 9 PM on the Big Ten Network.  
-Jason Harris​
Bucks Lose Tough One
January 5, 2017

​Caleb Swanigan’s free throw with 5 seconds remaining allowed #20 Purdue to hold off Ohio State 76-75 in the Schott. After Trevor Thompson’s lay-in tied the score with 15 seconds remaining, he stepped to the line to give Ohio State the lead following a Purdue timeout and his free throw clanked off back iron setting up the Swanigan free throw that iced it.  JaQuan Lyle’s 3 from the right wing clanged off the iron as the horn sounded and Ohio State dropped their 2nd straight game to open Big Ten play. This came after a controversial play in which Purdue scored off a missed shot that clearly came after the shot clock sounded but the officials refused to review it and it turned out to be the difference.

Both teams battled back and forth in the first 20 minutes, before Purdue went on a late 8-0 run to take a 4 point lead into the locker room. The Boilers extended the lead to 10 early in the second half but a 12-2 run by Ohio State evened the score but ultimately second chance opportunities for Purdue time and time again plagued Ohio State against the bigger Boilermakers. In addition to the second chance opportunities, the Buckeyes went cold late in the game, going 8 minutes without a field goal. Purdue out-rebounded Ohio State 44-32 which included a 14-6 advantage on the offensive glass, but Ohio State was able to hang around by scoring in transition and hitting 17 of 20 from the charity stripe and once again had a shot late but could not finish.  Jae’Sean Tate led Ohio State with 17 points and Marc Loving added 14 points and 8 boards.  Trevor Thompson chipped in 11 and Kam Williams scored 10 for the Buckeyes. 

So, it’s another tough loss for Thad Matta’s group who suffered their 5th loss by 5 points or less. In addition to the game, the Buckeyes also will lose junior guard Keita Bates-Diop for the season with a stress fracture in his leg that will require surgery. He will redshirt and retain his eligibility for 2 more years but certainly a blow to this year’s squad who will now have to pick up the pieces and try to regroup and the road doesn’t get easier as they head on the road for the next two at Minnesota and Wisconsin before returning home to face Michigan State. Overall, I don’t think this team is far away but they desperately need to get a win for confidence and learn how to finish games late. The next couple weeks could determine if the Buckeyes will be able to compete or fade into college basketball oblivion for yet another season. 

The Buckeyes will look to continue the positive momentum in Lincoln, Nebraska on Wednesday night with another road test at Nebraska. Game time for that match-up is 9 PM on the Big Ten Network. . 

-Jason Harris​

Buckeyes Steal Big Road Win
January 18, 2017

​Ohio State hadn’t won on the road since the opener at Navy and they were desperate to continue the positive momentum gained from the win over Michigan State Sunday and they were able to do just that, defeating Nebraska in Lincoln 67-66 to move to 12-7 and 2-4 in conference play. 

After Nebraska took a 1 point lead with less than 30 seconds remaining, a missed 3 from the left corner by Marc Loving led to a JaQuan Lyle rebound and before he could fall out of bounds, called timeout with 1.9 seconds remaining. After the timeout, C.J. Jackson found a wide open Marc Loving for a layup off a baseline inbounds play to seal the win and a collective deep breath from Buckeye nation. The Buckeyes once again fell behind by double digits in the first half. At one time they trailed by as many as 12, but they were able to get back in it utilizing solid defense and scoring at the rim to take their first lead since early in the game after a Trevor Thompson tip dunk off a Lyle runner with just over 8 minutes to play. They were able to stretch the lead to just 4, unable to increase the lead any further, which allowed Nebraska to stay in it, and eventually take the lead setting up the dramatics.

Nebraska utilized poor Buckeye ball control to lead by 8 at the break thanks to 11 Ohio State turnovers and only 9 made field goals. Loving led Ohio State in the first 20 minutes with 11 points and 5 rebounds. But it was a tale of two halves for Ohio State who went the second 20 minutes without a turnover. Despite big man, Trevor Thompson struggling with foul trouble and eventually fouling out, they were able to get positive contributions from the bench, including little used David Bell, who chipped in 4 big points and contributed positive minutes for Thad Matta’s group. The Buckeyes out rebounded the Huskers 45-37 for the game and both teams shot 42% from the floor. However, neither team could make a free throw as the Buckeyes squandered opportunity after opportunity at the line, hitting only 7 of 16 from the stripe. Nebraska wasn’t much better, hitting just 11 of 20 of their free attempts. 

Loving led Ohio State with a double-double, scoring 15 points and pulling down 11 boards.  Jae’Sean Tate and JaQuan Lyle each added 13 and Trevor Thompson had 10 and 9 rebounds for the Buckeyes.

A win on the road in the Big Ten is never easy and this one was certainly a battle from the start, but Ohio State showed patience and a better understanding of what it takes to win on the road and stuck to that plan in the second half. They did a tremendous job of taking care of the basketball and not settling for quick jumpers early in the shot clock. They were able to take advantage of the Huskers in the paint and around the rim and forced Nebraska to guard in the half court for much of the shot clock which is a good formula to win about any game they play. A game like this can give a team confidence and a level of toughness that is needed through the long grind of a Big Ten basketball season. Let’s hope they can bring some of that attitude and effort back home for a pair of big games coming up.

Next up for the Buckeyes will be the Northwestern Wildcats, who invade the Schottenstein Center on Sunday. Tip time for that one is 1PM.
-Jason Harris​
Buckeyes Fall in Finale to Hoosiers
March 3, 2017

Ohio State finished a very disappointing season with another disappointing loss, falling to Indiana, by a final score of 96-92. The Hoosiers shot 59 percent from the floor and bagged 12 triples en route to an arena opponent record 96 points. The Buckeyes fall to 17-14 and 7-11 in conference play. Indiana started the game by hitting 13 of its first 15 attempts to lead by as many as 18 in the first 20 minutes. Both teams hit the locker room with Indiana holding a 54-40 advantage. The Hoosiers were dominant in all phases of the game, particularly in the paint, where they outscored the Buckeyes 28-12.  JaQuan Lyle kept Ohio State somewhat in the game, scoring 15 in the first half, as Thad Matta’s group went to the locker room to regroup.

Regroup, they did as they hit 8 of their first 11 shots in the second half and limited Indiana offensively in the lane and contested their jump shots holding the Hoosiers to just one shot a possession. When C.J. Jackson buried a 3 from the left point with 11:32 remaining, the Buckeyes had their first lead. Unfortunately, due to missed free throws and a couple bad possessions, they were unable to extend the lead. That was the opening Indiana needed and they went on an 11-0 run to lead by 10 and ultimately end any hopes for a Buckeye win. Ohio State cut it to 4 on a Trevor Thompson baby hook in the lane with 28 seconds remaining and the Buckeyes kept battling. After a pair of misses at the line for IU, the Buckeyes had the ball with a shot to cut into the slim lead, but a missed 3 by Jae’Sean Tate and Ohio State was forced to foul again. IU split the pair and on the ensuing possession and Jackson buried another 3 from the top and the lead was just two with 3.1 seconds remaining. Ohio State called timeout, but with the press on, Indiana was easily able to inbound the basketball and Ohio State had to foul. Indiana buried both free throws providing the margin of victory.

Ja’Sean Tate led four Buckeyes in double-figures with 20, while Trevor Thompson completed yet another double-double scoring 19 points, and pulling down 11 boards. C.J. Jackson and JaQuan Lyle scored 18 apiece for the losing Buckeyes.

It was another game for Ohio State in which they came out of the gates flat and uninspired. Although they dug out of the hole and ultimately held a short lived lead, they once again fell short. Chalk this one up as yet another loss by 6 points or less which has been a hallmark of this basketball team. The depth in the post and lack of perimeter defense continue to haunt this team. That potentially could be fixed next year with the return of Keita Bates-Diop, and if Thompson returns, the addition of Kaleb Wesson and Derek Funderburk will help in the post. For now, this year’s team looks to the second season as the start of Big Ten tournament play for Ohio State will be on Wednesday and with time and opponent depending on the outcome of the Nebraska/Michigan game Sunday night. A Michigan win and Ohio State will play at approximately 7PM against Rutgers. A Nebraska win will place Ohio State in the 12 spot and their opponent will be Penn State at 4:30. Barring a 5 day run and Big Ten tournament title, the Buckeyes will be looking at an NIT bid and another potential home game in 2 weeks.

Ohio State will take the floor Wednesday in Washington D.C., time and opponent to be determined.

-Jason Harris​
16-17 Season
Basketball Bucks Lose A Tough One
January 22, 2017

​The Ohio State basketball Buckeyes, looking to keep the momentum gained from two straight wins, fell at home as Northwestern escaped Columbus with a 74-72 win. The win marked the first win in Columbus for a Northwestern team since 1977. It was the free throw line that was especially damaging for the Buckeyes in this one, hitting just 12 of 23 compared to the Cats who knocked down 19 of 24, including six straight late to seal Ohio State’s fate sending Ohio State to a meager 12-8 and 2-5 in Big Ten play. 

Ohio State once again struggled to handle the basketball in the first 20 minutes, turning it over 8 times, leading to 10 Northwestern points and thanks to a 9-0 run late, the Wildcats went into the locker room up 5.  Kam Williams led the Bucks with 10 first half points in a half in which the Buckeyes hit 52% from the floor but failed to value the basketball again and the Cats took advantage. Early in the second half, the Buckeyes got back into the lead but it would go back and forth the rest of the way. Every time the Buckeyes seemed to gain some momentum, a missed free throw or sloppy ball handling enabled Northwestern to stay in the game and ultimately take advantage and get the win. The Buckeyes were able to cut the game to 2 after a Micah Potter 3 from the top of the key with 24 seconds remaining, but Northwestern did not falter at the free throw stripe continually burying their opportunities and keeping the Buckeyes at bay.

Jae’Sean Tate led 4 Buckeyes in double figures with 14.  JaQuan Lyle added 13 and Trevor Thompson netted another double-double, finishing with 11 and 15 rebounds. Kam Williams scored all 10 of his points in the first half, but could not buy a bucket in the final 20 minutes and finished with 10.

That one was very damaging for a Buckeye team attempting to make it back to the NCAA tournament. It seems like this team does not come with consistent effort from game to game. They seemed to get away from what made them successful in the last two wins and that’s getting inside and creating offense from the post out. Whether that means dribble drive and kick or running the offense through Jae’Sean Tate or Trevor Thompson, neither materialized against Northwestern and they could never garner the momentum needed to pull away. The poor free throw shooting bug caught up to them again as well. The inability to knock down the freebies from the charity stripe certainly cost them in this game and must get better to win close games. So now they must regroup and get back to work because the season doesn’t end today. There are plenty of opportunities to get big wins going forward but the margin of error now is just about zero.

Next up the Buckeyes will host Minnesota on Wednesday for a 7PM tip.
-Jason Harris​
Bucks Jump Out Early, Hold Off Gophers
January 25, 2017

​In what can be termed without question a must win game, Ohio State pulled out a hard fought victory over Minnesota in the Schott, 78-72. It was a game going in that, if they lost, could spin the season spiraling out of control, but they were able to fight and claw to cling to a little life yet in this 2016-17 season. The Buckeyes were certainly up to the challenge early as they utilized the inside out game, which has made them most successful in stretches this season, going to Trevor Thompson early and often and he definitely answered. Ohio State was able to build the lead to 17 with just under 4 minutes to go in the first half, but Minnesota countered and went on a 12-0 run to end the half and the margin stood at just 5 heading into the locker room. Thompson led the Buckeyes in the first 20, with 12 points and Marc Loving added 8. 

The Buckeyes and Gophers played very even for most of the second half until Ohio State went on a mini run of their own to lead by 10 at the under 8 timeout. However, once again, Minnesota had a run left in them and cut the lead to just 3, forcing Thad Matta to call timeout with 4:44 remaining to steady the troops. The Gophers cut the lead to just 2 with 3:34 remaining but were unable to get any closer. Out of the timeout, Marc Loving buried a pair of free throws to extend the lead to 4. After two Minnesota free throws with under 2 to go, Ohio State used most of the shot clock and Kam Williams hit a running baby hook in the lane just before the clock expired to get the lead back to 4. After a Minnesota turnover, Loving buried a 3 from the left wing and the lead was up to 6. The Gophers weren’t going quietly as a 3 from the left corner and a quick timeout from Richard Pitino had the Buckeye faithful on the edge of their seats. On the in-bounds play, the Gophers tied up Williams for a held ball, and with the arrow pointing Minnesota’s way, the Gophers were able to regain possession down just one possession. However the Gophers turned it right back over to the Buckeyes and a foul sent Lyle to the line to potentially ice it with 26 seconds remaining. He promptly missed both and the Gophers once again rushed up the floor and JaQuan Lyle rebounded an errant 3 attempt from the corner and was fouled again. This time he buried both and the celebration was on in Columbus. Another Minnesota miss and foul sent Trevor Thompson to the stripe who split his pair to complete the scoring. 

Trevor Thompson and Marc Loving both scored 19 to lead the Buckeyes with Thompson also completing the double-double, pulling down 10 boards. Lyle added 11 and Jae’Sean Tate 10 in the big Buckeye victory.  Andre Wesson also contributed a career high 7 in the winning effort.

The question now becomes, can Ohio State capitalize on what went well in this game and string together some wins and become relevant again in the Big Ten and NCAA tournament picture. All season they have shown flashes of what they can be as a basketball team, but they lack consistency necessary to take their game to the next level. When they are going well, their offense, as I have been stressing, starts from the inside out. Tonight it was getting the ball inside to Trevor Thompson and letting him work or kicking it out and utilizing quick ball reversals to create open looks. Some nights it’s JaQuan Lyle with penetration or Jae’Sean Tate with his silky smooth left hand. The turnover numbers were still a touch high tonight, turning it over 14 times, but they were able to overcome that with effort plays on 50-50 balls and doing the little things it takes to win basketball games like knocking down the free throws. They did both tonight, hitting on 70% of their charity tosses. Let’s hope tonight is the start of a change in mindset and the Buckeyes get back to playing consistent, winning basketball.

Next up for the Buckeyes is a road tilt in Iowa City against the Hawkeyes on Saturday evening. Tip time for that one is 8PM Eastern.
-Jason Harris​
Just Like Football …. Buckeyes Slip By The Wolverines
February 4, 2017

​A season on the brink of disaster for the basketball Buckeyes and they desperately needed a big win to keep it from completely derailing. Enter, the hated Michigan Wolverines. The Buckeyes went to Ann Arbor and showed some signs of life, escaping with a 70-66 hard fought victory. The Buckeyes utilized dominant play on the offensive glass and a rare, but welcomed, fantastic day from the free throw line, to upend the host Wolverines for just their second conference road win of the year. 

The Wolverines jumped out early, hitting on all cylinders to take an 11 point lead. But an 8-0 run by the Buckeyes cut that lead to just 3 with 4 minutes remaining. Utilizing second and third chance opportunities, the Buckeyes were able to take a 1 point advantage to the locker room thanks to 10 offensive rebounds.  Marc Loving and Micah Potter led Ohio State in the first 20 minutes with 7 apiece and starting for the first time this season, point guard C.J. Jackson pulled down 8 first half rebounds.

The Buckeyes built their lead to as many as 8 in the second half but after Michigan star guard Derrick Walton Jr., buried a 3 to cut the lead to one with under 30 seconds to go, Ohio State hit 3 of 4 free throws to put the game away. Loving led the Buckeyes with 17 points and Jae’Sean Tate and Trevor Thompson each added 13. Thompson picked up yet another double-double, also pulling down 11 boards. For the game, despite 16 turnovers for Ohio State, they controlled the glass in a big way, out-rebounding the Wolverines 42-24 showing effort that has sometimes lacked this season.

Ohio State never trailed in the game after gaining the lead late in the first half and did a great job packing the lane forcing Michigan to settle for long 3 point opportunities and limiting them to one and done for most of the night. Michigan hit 13 3’s on the game, but attempted 35 of them, and Ohio State was able to track down the majority of those misses, limiting Michigan to just 37% shooting overall on the evening. 

This was certainly a game the Buckeyes needed in the worst way and they came out and flat out wanted it more than Michigan. Thad Matta can point to this game to his players as an example of the type of effort needed to win in the Big Ten night in and night out. They are a long way from saving their season, but this was certainly a step in the right direction. With Rutgers coming in Wednesday, it’s an opportunity to gain a little momentum before heading on the road to Maryland and Michigan State. The road isn’t easy, but the Buckeyes proved they have a little fight in them yet.

Ohio State will host Rutgers on Wednesday evening in the Schott at 7 PM.
-Jason Harris​
Buckeyes Gut Out Home Win
February 8, 2017

​Ohio State needs every win they can get at this point in the season and some home cooking against perennial cellar dweller, Rutgers was just the recipe as an injury depleted squad toughed out a 70-64 win in the Schott. Ohio State was already playing a man down with the injury early in the season to Junior Forward Keita Bates-Diop. Sophomore guard JaQuan Lyle continues to be limited with a sprained ankle and another injury early in this one shortened Thad Matta’s bench even more as Senior forward Marc Loving got smacked in the face and missed extended time getting stitches right above his right eye. But the Buckeyes were not to be deterred in this game, led by Kam Williams’ career high tying 23 and Trevor Thompson’s double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds, the Buckeyes were able to survive.

The Buckeyes were able to build a double digit lead in the first half but saw that lead shrink to just before the break as they were only able to score 4 points in the final 4 plus minutes of the half.  Jae’Sean Tate led the Buckeyes in the first 20 minutes, scoring all 11 of his points in the game before halftime. Despite turning it over 9 times and going on the extended scoring drought, the Buckeyes maintained the cushion with another solid rebounding performance, outrebounding the Knights 20-12 in the first half. 

The Buckeyes were able to build their lead to as many as 12 just before the midway point of the second half but Rutgers would claw back behind their star guard Corey Sanders who eventually would foul out with 4 minutes remaining. But Rutgers wasn’t going away just yet and with just over 2 minutes remaining, the Knights split a pair of free throws to cut Ohio State’s lead to just 2. After each team traded turnovers, Ohio State inexplicably threw the ball away on the inbounds and Rutgers converted a lay in to tie the game with 1:29 remaining. On the next possession, Kam Williams buried a 3 from the right wing while being fouled and converted the free throw to put the Buckeyes up 4. After a missed 3 from Rutgers, Ohio State’s Jae’Sean Tate went to the line to all but put this one away, but he promptly missed both free throws and Rutgers quickly rushed up the floor and converted a lay in to cut the lead back to 2 with 30 seconds remaining. On the inbounds play, Rutgers fouled Loving, who buried his pair and the Buckeyes were once again up 4. The Knights would miss their last gasp 3 attempt and following the rebound, C.J. Jackson was fouled and he made both of his free opportunities to complete the scoring. 

A gutty performance from Ohio State in this one and it’s apparent that nothing comes easy for this team. Injuries certainly played a part in Ohio State’s deficiency but they once again showed effort and a will to win. This would’ve been a devastating defeat to lose on their home floor to frankly the worst team in the Big Ten, but fortunately they were able to make just enough plays to escape with the win. Going forward they need to get Lyle healthy and playing well but C.J. Jackson has provided this basketball team a true floor general with his ability to find the open cutter and run the point with a little more efficiency. A tough stretch of games is upcoming for the Buckeyes but such is life in the Big Ten. It is also an opportunity for Ohio State to get their season on the right track heading into the home stretch. 

Next up is a trip to Maryland for a 4PM tip against the Terrapins on Saturday afternoon.
-Jason Harris​
Buckeyes Smash Badgers
February 23, 2017

​A season of frustration for Thad Matta and the basketball Buckeyes was eased for at least a night as Ohio State came out of the gates with intensity and fire and controlled this game from start to finish, running over the visiting 15th ranked Badgers by a final of 83-73. The score was much closer than the game really was as the Buckeyes utilized a hot shooting night from deep and a concerted effort to defend the post to defeat Wisconsin handily. 

The first half was all Buckeyes as they were able to build a lead as large as 16 behind a double-double in the first 20 minutes from Jae’Sean Tate, who went to the locker room with 13 points and 10 boards. The story of the first half was the play in the post of Ohio State, who outscored the Badgers inside 18-2 and outrebounded Wisconsin 23-12. Both teams went to the locker room with the Buckeyes(16-13, 6-10) leading 44-31 after a Bronson Koenig 3 in the waning seconds cut into what was at the time Ohio State’s largest lead.

The second half was more of the same as the Buckeyes continued to double down in the post and force Wisconsin to launch from deep. On the other end, the Buckeyes were getting looks of their own and behind C.J. Jackson, who hit 4 from long range; they were able to keep the Badgers at bay. Wisconsin was able to get the lead as close as 9, but each time they made a mini run, Ohio State answered. The Buckeyes stretched the lead to 20 with under 3 minutes remaining and a late 3 point barrage from Wisconsin completed the scoring but it was too little too late for a Wisconsin team who’s battle for Big Ten supremacy took a hit. C.J. Jackson led Ohio State with 18 points and JaQuan Lyle went 10 for 10 from the stripe and added 17. Jae’Sean Tate finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds and Marc Loving added 10 for the victorious Buckeyes. Bronson Koenig led all scorers with 27 for Wisconsin.

So what does this all mean for the Buckeyes? Well, in the big picture probably nothing other than pride. What it does do is make Buckeye fans wonder what might have been. So let’s examine that for a moment. The Buckeyes have lost 7 games by 6 points or less. Win just 4 of those games, and this is a 20 win team and probably looking at an NCAA bid. The close losses show the lack of depth in the post and the incredible absence of Keita Bates-Diop, who’s play making ability and perimeter defense may be have been the difference in winning 4 of those games. On the other hand, it may give fans a little hope moving forward into next season. The addition of Kaleb Wesson in the post along with another PG in Braxton Beverly and with Keita returning, this team will have more depth and with Wesson playing the 5, allow Potter to move to the stretch 4 which is his more natural position. However, all of this hinges on the return of Trevor Thompson and JaQuan Lyle. If those 2 guys return, and they really should, this could be a basketball team that could compete in the upper echelon of the Big Ten Conference and get back in the NCAA tournament. Time will certainly tell, but a performance like the one we witnessed tonight gives me at least some hope.

Ohio State will be back in action on Tuesday night in Happy Valley visiting Penn State at 8:30 PM for their last road contest of the season.
-Jason Harris​
Tate’s Heroics Enable Basketball Bucks Escape Happy Valley
March 4, 2017

​The Ohio State basketball team needed a big road victory to avoid playing on Wednesday in the Big Ten tournament and they were able to get it done thanks to a late runner from Jae’Sean Tate, surviving in State College, 71-70 to move to 17-13 and 7-10 in Big Ten Conference play. 

The first half was controlled by Ohio State as they never trailed in building a lead as large as 9 led by early hot shooting from Marc Loving who finished the half with 12, including 2 early 3’s as the Buckeyes jumped out early on the Nittany Lions.  JaQuan Lyle came off the bench to score 11 and the Buckeyes took a 4 point lead into the locker room. The Buckeyes dominated the glass, outrebounding the Lions 17-11 in the first half and shot 56% from the field compared to 48% for Penn State. Thanks to Lyle, the Buckeye bench also outscored Penn State 14-0 to aid in the halftime advantage.

The Lions came out of the locker room with energy and the Buckeyes looked lethargic and it showed. Penn State went on a 17-4 run in the first 6 minutes to take their first lead and expand that lead to as many as 9. But Ohio State would not go away quietly and a run of their own tied the game after the under 8 timeout thanks to 2 Marc Loving free throws. Following a Lion miss, Andre Wesson buried a 3 from the right point and the Buckeyes were back on top. Another bucket completed a 9-0 run for Ohio State gave them a 5 point cushion with 6 minutes remaining. But Penn State wasn’t done. Nittany Lion freshman Tony Carr found his range and buried a 3 with 5 minutes left to cut the Buckeye margin to just 2. A Penn State free throw cut the lead to just one, but Trevor Thompson made a baby hook in the lane to give Ohio State a 3 point lead with 2:20 to go. After Penn State split a pair of free throws, Lyle hit a runner in the lane to put Ohio State up by 4 with 1:04 left in the game. Penn State quickly called timeout and out of the timeout, Carr bullied his way to the rim and banked in the runner and the lead for Ohio State was just two. On the ensuing possession, Tate was whistled for a traveling violation, the 18th turnover of the game for Ohio State and Penn State called timeout with 25.8 seconds remaining. The Lions would work the ball around the perimeter and finally with 10 seconds left, found Carr again, who buried a 3 from the left wing, to give Penn State a lead. Then, the dramatics as Ohio State inbounded the ball to JaQuan Lyle who once he crossed the timeline, gave it off to Tate on the left point. Tate spun his way to the rim and finished off the glass with 3 seconds left to give the Buckeyes the lead. Penn State rushed it up but Carr’s 30 footer from the left point fell harmlessly to the floor and the Buckeyes survived. Lyle, off the bench led Ohio State with 16, while Loving added 11 and Tate and Thompson scored 12 and 11 respectively.

This was a big win for Ohio State who is trying to finish the season strong heading into the Big Ten tournament in Washington D.C. next week. The win also enabled the Buckeyes to stay in the hunt for the first round bye and avoid playing on Wednesday. With one game remaining at home on Saturday, a win against Indiana should secure that bid. This was a game that Ohio State would’ve lost a few weeks ago, but they are starting to gain some confidence and a little momentum. They certainly played far from a perfect game and nearly blew another lead late, but they found a way to win a close road game and that’s a tremendous step forward for this basketball team. A win Saturday still won’t get them into the NCAA tournament barring a deep run in D.C., but with the Big Ten this season as we’ve seen, anything is possible and the Buckeyes are playing better basketball at the right time. 

Ohio State takes the floor at home on Senior (Marc Loving) night against Indiana. Tip Time for that one is high noon.
-Jason Harris​
Scarlet & Gray Win 81-56 to advance to TBT Final Four
July 23, 2017

Tell me you have all been following the TBT championship brackets!  You know, the summer tournament where the winner gets $2 million and the top 100 fans of the winning team takes home a share of the money. Still don't have your interest peaked?  What if I told you that a team of former OSU players just made it to the Final Four!  David Lighty with 23 points and William Bufford with 21 points lead the team to an 81-56 win over a group of former Marquette players. 

What is the TBT? TBT stands for The Basketball Tournament  which is a 5-on-5 single elimination tournament.  This year 64 teams entered the field of play. Team "Scarlet & Gray" includes former stars like, Jared Sullinger, Aaron Craft, Dallas Lauderdale, Evan Ravenel, Jon Diebler and the previously mentioned Lighty and Bufford.

Our Buckeyes will next play on August 1st against a team of former Syracuse Players for the right to play for the championship.

-Gregg Watson​
2017-18 Schedule Released
August 16, 2017

The 2017-18 OSU Basketball schedule was released today. The Buckeyes will play an exhibition game against the College of Wooster November 5th before the season-opener against Robert Morris on the 10th. Ohio State opens its Big Ten schedule at Wisconsin December 2nd and hosts Michigan December 4th before resuming conference play at Iowa January 4th. With the Big Ten Tournament moving to New York, the conference tournament will be played Feb. 28-March 4 at Madison Square Garden. 

For the compete, schedule check out the OSU Basketball page.  

-Gregg Watson​