The young Buckeyes simply didn't have enough in the middle last night as UNC center Tyler Hansbrough poured in 21 points and a career high 14 rebounds against a Greg Oden-less front line to lead UNC to a hard fought 98-89 win. The Buckeyes raced out to a 33-23 lead in the first half but foul trouble and a lack of big men down low led to a 38-25 rebounding advantage. The killer was that 14 of UNC's rebounds were on the offensive glass leading to easy putbacks. On this night, the better team won, however OSU wasn't helped by the fact that UNC shot 34 free throws compared to only 13 for OSU. Sure, part of this differential was due to UNC consistently feeding to post, however the first whistle against UNC in the decisive 2nd half didnt come until less than 8 minutes remaining and this game was way to physical on both sides for that to be legit. Regardless, the Buckeyes impressed by handling the pressure until they finally hit a wall with 10 minutes left in the game giving up a 13-4 run that put UNC in from 80-70 with 6:27 remaining.
There were plenty of highlights, most notably Ron Lewis pouring in 30 on 11 of 16 shooting and while Daequan Cook forced a few shots, he finished with 14 points and 9 rebounds. Ivan Harris also had some key threes to keep OSU close and finished with 17 points in 18 minutes. I'll have more on the game later including what the experts are saying after watching Oden-less OSU give UNC all they could handle prompting talk of a rematch for the title.