Survive and Advance

By Chris Lauderback on March 11, 2011 at 2:50p

Sully took over in OT (AP: K. Sato)Forced into overtime thanks to sluggish shooting and some of the most curious officiating I’ve ever seen, Ohio State rode Jared Sullinger’s clutch 10/10 free throw effort and five points from Jon Diebler to win the extra frame 15-9 on the way to a 67-61 victory over Northwestern this afternoon in Conseco Fieldhouse.

Sullinger struggled from the floor hitting just 2/12 shots but he was a money 16/18 from the stripe totaling 20 points to go along with 18 rips, eight on the offensive glass.

While Sullinger took over the extra session, Aaron Craft got OSU that far with a masterful 17 point, seven rebound effort featuring several key plays. Jon Diebler was the only other Buckeye to reach double figures with 13, including five in OT.

The lack of a shoot around might have hurt the Buckeyes, who shot a dismal 32% on the day including 3/15 from distance. Besides Sullinger’s woeful shooting, William Buford shot a horrific 3/14.

After a Luka Mirkovic trey followed up four straight free throws from Sullinger to cut OSU’s lead to 56-55 with 3:40 left in OT, things got interesting as Sullinger rebounded a Craft miss as Mirkovic applied a Himalayan arm hold. In one of the rare good calls on the day, Mirkovic was called for the foul and reacted by launching his mouth guard onto the floor, earning a technical foul. Buford clanked both free throws but Sullinger drained both of his giving OSU a 58-55 lead with 3:05 to go.

Michael Thompson missed a jumper and Diebler answered with a dagger deep in the left corner putting the Buckeyes in front 61-55 at the 2:22 mark. Northwestern could only draw as close as four points the rest of the way as Sullinger and Diebler combined to shoot 6/6 from the line to close it out.

Ohio State had a chance to win in regulation but Sullinger rimmed out one of two free throws at the 1:00 mark tying the game at 52 after Alex Marcotullio hit a clutch triple with 2:09 giving Northwestern a 52-51 lead. Following Sullinger’s free throw, the Buckeye defense forced an airball from Drew Crawford giving OSU possession with :26 left but a lack of a plan led to Buford running the clock down to seven seconds before feeding Sully who barely drew iron on a 16 foot baseline fade away jumper.

Northwestern was their usual pain in the ass self right from the start and built 23-19 lead with 3:09 left in the first half before Craft keyed a 9-0 run giving the Buckeyes a 28-23 lead at intermission. Deshaun Thomas started the run with a layup in traffic before Craft scored seven straight on a triple from the top of the key, a slashing drive through the lane and a tip in of his own miss just before the halftime buzzer sounded.

To even lead at the half was an accomplishment as the Buckeyes shot just 34% and assisted on just one of 13 field goals. The stagnant offense was aided by 10 offensive rebounds and zero turnovers. Sullinger had 11 boards in the first half alone.
Credit the Buckeyes for playing through the dismal offensive showing (3 assists, just 19 FG) by getting after it defensively holding the Wildcats to 37% from the floor and owning the glass 41-24 including a 17-5 advantage on the offensive window. The work on the offensive backboard created a 18-6 edge in 2nd chance points. As is typical of OSU vs. Northwestern, the game featured just 11 turnovers, six by the Buckeyes.

John Shurna led Northwestern with 23 points, wearing out Buford in the process, and Michael Thompson chipped in 15.

In a tight game that featured 10 ties and 17 lead changes, neither team led by more than six points.

The Buckeyes get the winner of Illinois vs. Michigan that is taking place in the background here at Conseco.


Comments Show All Comments

osukdawg76's picture

This happens every single year.  We come out of the bye day and play like complete ass on one side of the court.  Thankfully, we didn't need a 35 footer from The Villian this time around to win it.  We just needed a 57% Free Throw shooter to go 16/18 from the stripe.

I, for one, welcome our new coaching overlords.



JakeBuckeye's picture

He was actually around 70% even before today's game. Saw the same graphic that ESPN showed today saying he was in the 50's, but I guess it was wrong.

osukdawg76's picture

Yeah I went with that total....but it seemed like it was off.  Maybe they had the numbers flipped around?

I, for one, welcome our new coaching overlords.



ERIC OSU's picture

"himalayan arm hold" LOL, brilliant

btalbert25's picture

Well, it seemed like for a while, everything the Nerds threw in the air was going down too.  Plus the phantom 3 pointer toward the end of regulation and there were actually quite a few more fouls on Sully that could have been called.  All that and the style Northwestern plays is just tough to get a flow.  Bucks didn't shoot great.  All that matters is the W.

RBuck's picture

Chris, you said Buford was clinking 'em in warmups. I guess it rubbed off. Stat that sticks out for me is only 3 assists for the game...which of course led to a 32% FG pct.

Long live the southend.

osukdawg76's picture

I really wish we could figure out what sports god we need to sacrifice twenty seven Michigan fans to so we avoid our first round craptacular game every year.

I, for one, welcome our new coaching overlords.



buckeyedude's picture

I thought it was 72 Michigan fans? You got the numbers backwards.



btalbert25's picture

Yeah but a lot of assists were negated by Sullinger getting blasted every time he touched the ball.  You have to figure if 3 guys were nailing him every time he touched the ball, many of those would have been converted and assists would've been credited.

Chris Lauderback's picture

I hear you BT. No question some assists were negated due to the hack a sully but I still think the offense was pretty stagnant today. Missing shots will certainly make it look that way but I felt there just wasn't a lot of movement at times. Northwestern just lulls teams into it, I think.

btalbert25's picture

That's the thing, people keep saying really Northwestern, and I keep telling people it's that slow ass style of play.  It happened earlier in the year too.  I didn't see a 25 or 30 point blowout coming here today.

Chris Lauderback's picture

yeah, it's pretty much impossible to blow them out with so few possessions. I wouldve taken them +8, for sure.

Buckeyebrowny919's picture

didn't get to view...anyone ellaborate for me please on the interesting officiating?

To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift - Steve Prefontaine

Chris Lauderback's picture

a terrible jump ball call when Craft, I think it was, was being hacked. Then they missed an obvious NW travel on next possession. On that same possession or right after, Lighty was whistled for a foul with 1 second on the shot clock. Then on OSU's next possession, Sully was whistled for a questionable charging call. That was just one maybe 2 min stretch. Awful. Sully was also getting raped throughout throughout but got no calls in 1st half as he shot 2/9 with no FT attempts. They figured out he might actually be killed if they didnt start calling fouls in the 2nd half, thankfully.

ERIC OSU's picture

Marcotullio (NU) hit a three to put them up 52-51 late in the 2nd which was released after the 24-shot clock ran out but was called good, and even though Thad was calling for a review, never got one...

There was a sequence where Sully was in the post and the NU defender (maybe Mirkovic) flopped big time, got the call.... then the next possesion for the Wildcats, they got a blocking foul on Craft that clearly could have been called a charge..

things like that...

Chris Lauderback's picture

oh yeah. cant believe i forgot about Marcotullio's 3 after the clock expired...horrible. Of course, if Sanzere is on the floor, it's a given reffing will be sucky.

KenK's picture

One example could have been the late 3-pointer made by Northwestern that APPEARED to still be in the player's hand when shot clock expired.

Johnny Hooker: "He's not as tough as he thinks". Henry Gondorff: "Neither are we".

hangonskokie's picture

Same old rough-housing passes granted to anyone defending Sully during regulation, and  Northwestern shot a 3 after the shot-clock buzzer that should not have counted. Also, they called Sully an charge that could have gone either way, then immediately called Craft, *I believe, for a block under the rim on an identical post play -got the crowd ticked a bit.

Refs started calling NW for hacking in OT and that was it. I think it had more to do with the team's resolve in getting the ball down low to Sully, and Jared subsiquently getting over his second-half frustrations. Buckeyes just looked more assertive, refs took note, and Northwestern got furstrated/desperate and started taking more, *obvious, fouls. 




bsaucy81's picture

Even though they played awfully, sweet jesus it was nice to see the basketball team out there! 

clevelandbuckeye's picture

The offense look completely out of sync today, and if Craft doesn't step up along with Sully hitting free throws, we are one and done.  I don't put to much stock into todays game, but it was pretty alarming the lack of fire from the likes of Lighty, Buford, and to some extent Deibler. 

We always struggle against the nerds, and I think this will be another good game to learn from heading into the NCAA Tourney. 

I would really like to see Craft start the game, and have Dallas spell Sully every now and then.  Craft is going to go down as one of the most loved Buckeyes when it is all said and done.  As great as this team can be this year, if Buford and Sully both come back next year, which I think they will, this team is going to be scary good!

I would really like to put a beating on scUM but it looks like the Illini are going to do it themselves.

ERIC OSU's picture

I understand what you're saying but isnt you're first paragraph actually refreshing... So many times this year a few players have had poor games, and either one or two individuals stepped up big time. Craft and Sully today. Diebler the past few games. Buford the 2nd half of the B1G season, he was on fire picking the team up. That is what is different about this team, you never know where the production will come from... Hell, last year if ET didnt got HAM, we were screwed.

This year different story, and thats what makes us dangerous.

p.s: Everyone was lethal in the last Wisconsin game, and the result showed.

clevelandbuckeye's picture

It is refreshing...I guess I am just a little concerned with the lack of fire from the older guys.   I know NW can drain the life out of games, and Lighty more than others thrives on games that get up and down the court.

I have no doubt in mind that whole team shows up on the same night there isn't a team in the country that can beat them.

ERIC OSU's picture

spot on about Lighty... he has become so hesitant to take a jumper it is concerning. If we play a team like Syracuse in the NCAA tourney who plays preliminarily a 2-3 Zone, it will be tough for him to be effective offensively in the game.

hangonskokie's picture

Agreed, if the jumpers aren't falling and Buford or Lighty turn invisible on the offensive end we'll always have Sully to pound the ball to down low. Opponents can either hack or leave other guys open for Sully to kick it back to. The more times Sully gets the ball down low in the second half, the qicker the refs will come around and quit letting defeners get away with fouling him. 

Oh yeah, and and we've got Diebler, who can always beat defenders off the dribble and slash to the hoop!

ERIC OSU's picture

LOL, yeah Diebs had what 3? cuts to the hoop today that led to lay-ups... His slashing ability may be the X-factor !!

Roger's picture

Announcer from Illini - tSun game: "Morgan, with that NFL linebacker body at 6' 8" 240 pounds."

What teams has he been watching? Since when does every team have Leonard Pope and Too Tall Jones playng linebacker?

buckeyedude's picture

I think he realized the rediculousness of his comment after he said it. He tried to cover his tracks by stating how tall he was or something. LOL. That wasn't Dakich, was it?

BTW, I KNEW this was going to be a low scoring affair(although I hoped it wouldn't be).  I hate that rope-a-dope type of basketball. I hope we don't face anymore teams in either tournament that plays that kind of ball. Whew!



clevelandbuckeye's picture

Unfortunately, Mich1gAAn plays a similiar style as NW.  scUM can be a bit more uptempo, but I am sure they will try and slow the pace as well.

I can't imagine the team playing nearly as bad as they did this afternoon.  I will just blame that on the noon start time, along with the near week layoff.  I think we see a complete 180 from what we saw today.

TLB's picture

Purdue looks like we did.


Officiating, with respect to Sully, has been bad all year.  I am surprised he hasn't gotten hurt.  He is so much better than anyone else that they let teams pound on him just to keep the game close.  Then the last 8 minutes they'll start to make calls.

Bucks's picture

Just on a side note, Seantrel Henderson suspended for a season opener ... in March? 0_o


Agreed on the officiating!

TLB's picture

6 minutes left the the Purdue game and they have shot a combined 50 free throws.

TLB's picture

Man, even Gus Johnson cant make this PSU-Wisky game exciting. 

See above, 50 free throws in Sparty game thru 34 minutes..............54 points in this stupid game thru 33 minutes.

RoweTrain's picture

Wisconsin can suck it.  I hate those f*cks.

"Just bow up and go out and play." ~ D. Lee

"As it stands right now, I know I am the best athlete in college football." ~ B. Miller