Ohio State stretched their winning streak to three games, after withstanding an early Penn St surge and shutting down a reeling Nittany Lion team team 68-56, in front of 2,864 rabid, crazy Pringle-like home fans. Matt Terwilliger and Jamar Butler sensed a winnable game tonight and lead this young Buckeye team to a much needed conference road victory.
Penn St. started the game with a flurry, using an early 9-2 run to jump out to a 19-12 lead with 12 minutes to play in the first. The Nittany Lions hit 6 of 8 field goal attempts during that span, including 5 straight and they sensed their line up strategy of small and quick may cause the Buckeyes problems on offense and defense.
Ohio State had other plans. They turned up the defensive intensity and held Penn St. to nine points over the next 8+ minutes, turning that deficit into a 30-28 lead with 3:28 left in the half. Penn St. missed 9 of 10 shots during that cold stretch, while witnessing the rare sight of a Diebler three and Butler starting to take over the game. The two teams traded buckets until Jamar created a turnover with 12 seconds left and found The Wiggler for a momentum changing dunk to end the half tied at 34.
Jamar lead the way with 10 points and 4 assists at half, while Kosta Koufos shook off (briefly) a slow start and chipped in with 6 points and 4 rebounds. Ohio State was outscored 15-2 on fast break points in the first, but used their 48 percent shooting to keep the game tied.
Ohio State clamped down the offense depleted Penn State team in the second half, continuing their streak of conference opponent's sub 40 percent shooting. Penn State could only manage 22 points in the second half, ending the game with 35 percent from the floor and 28 percent from 3land.
The Buckeyes went on a 16-0 run after trailing 42-38 and held Penn St. without a field goal for over ten minutes, leading to a ten point lead with just over two and a half minutes left.
Penn State was lead by freshman Talor Battle with 15 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists, as Ohio State shut down Jamelle Cornely, PSU's best player, holding him to 5 points and 3 boards. Cleveland Ohio native Danny Morrissey was trying to feel the range Tuesday night, as he hit 4 of 11 three pointers and contributed the 12 points.
Jamar was his usual self, ending the game with 20 points, 6 assists and 3 boards. He has played the last two games with renewed energy and seems to sense the end of his Buckeye career coming. As mentioned, Matt Terwilliger aka The Wiggler, played a key role in tonight's victory, matching his season high with 10 points on 3-3 shooting and playing inspired ball as well. Ohio State is now 30-1 when The Wigg's scores 4 or more points.
Kosta Koufos continues to dumb found me, as his "finesse" is displayed time and time again. Ohio State was looking inside the second half and Koufos had a decided height advantage, but managed to hit only 2 of 5 shots and ended with 10 points and 5 rebounds. He should have had 18, with multiple missed bunnies and became the first seven footer to slap the backboard with both hands and miss the lay up. His zero free throw attempts was a slip backwards from recent games.
David Lighty gave Buckeye fans early hope of a 20 point effort, as he hit his first three shots, including 2 threes. Unfortunately D-Light missed his next seven shots, finishing with 8 points and 3 rebounds. Lighty continued to be a rock on defense, but again turned in another head scratcher on the offensive end. It really is surprising to me that he doesn't score more. I know he wasn't a huge scorer coming into OSU, but his jumper looks smooth and I hope he soon learns the value of a ten foot jump shot.
Speaking of rocks on defense, Othello Hunter was a force in the paint and took advantage of Ohio State's second half "look inside" philosophy, connecting for 8 points and 7 rebounds. While he was only credited for 2 blocks in early box scores, he altered numerous others and is continuing his quest to be All Conference.
While he struggled from the floor (1/6), Evan Turner continued his maturation process by registering 7 rebounds and 7 assists, to go along with 5 points. His first bucket came with 18.6 seconds left and he had a decent game turnover wise with only 3.
Overall Ohio State shot 49 percent from the floor and connected on 8 of their 21 three point attempts (38%). Their free throw shooting was strong again, hitting 10 of 12 and they lowered their fouls per game average with only 13. The Buckeyes were out rebounded once again though, at 31-30, but did win the turnover battle 11 to 15.
Next up is Iowa on Saturday at 6pm, displayed in vivid BTN fashion. This will be a tricky game, as Iowa is improved since they were thumped by 31 in the Schott a few weeks ago. Iowa always plays Ohio State tough in Carver-Hawkeye arena and you know revenge will be on the minds.