Sans Sullinger, Buckeyes Fall at Kansas

By Chris Lauderback on December 10, 2011 at 5:26p
AP Photo: Jamie SquireThree Buckeyes watch Robinson throw one down

Even with Jared Sullinger it was going to be a tall order to walk into Allen Fieldhouse and end a 46 non-conference game winning streak.

Without him, the Buckeyes simply couldn't create enough good looks at the offensive end and gave up far too many at the other end as Kansas took down the Buckeyes 78-67 this afternoon in Lawrence. 

Ohio State never led in the game but trailed by just four at 62-58 with 5:39 to play following a 10-3 run sparked by William Buford. WB couldn't throw it in the ocean in the opening 20 minutes (1/7 FG, 4 pts) but caught fire early in the second half scoring 14 of 19 Ohio State points during one stretch as the Buckeyes inched toward a possible upset.  

It wasn't meant to be however as Kansas closed out the game with a 16-9 run behind 10 points from Thomas Robinson as he abused Amir Williams and to a lesser extend Evan Ravenel at a time when the Buckeyes had to have defensive stops. Robinson led the Jayhawks with 21 points and seven boards behind the huge 2nd half that saw him pour in 14 points along with all seven of his boards. 

Buford's 21 points (8/23, 17 pts in 2H) paced the Buckeye attack with DeShaun Thomas adding 19 points (7/14 FG, 3/7 3FG) and five boards. 

Aaron Craft was the only other Buckeye in double figures with 11 points (4/11) coupled with six assists and five boards against three turnovers. Craft had his usual huge impact at the defensive end as he helped coax Tyshawn Taylor into seven turnovers though the quick senior PG dished out 13 dimes and scored nine points. 

It was an uphill struggle right out of the gate. The Buckeyes fell into an early 9-2 hole thanks to 0/6 shooting but managed to cut the lead to 14-11 behind a Craft triple and a couple acrobatic shots from Thomas in the lane. 

Kansas, as they did all day, answered the run with a 9-2 spurt pushing the lead up to 23-13 at 8:26 following a Robinson jumper in the lane. The bucket improved Kansas to 10/14 from the floor while the Buckeyes were busying clanking 3/13 with five turnovers. Only six Jayhawk turnovers kept it close. 

To their credit, Ohio State fought back with consecutive treys by Thomas and a dunk from Amir off a great find by Buford sandwiched a KU three cutting the lead to 26-21 at 6:25. On cue, Kansas responded with a 7-2 run pushing the lead back up to 10 at 33-23. The poor sequence from OSU saw Amir get lost on D and miss a pair of free throws before Buford took a horrible shot leading to a breakaway dunk with 4:19 left in the half. 

Again picking themselves up off the mat, OSU held Kansas to just two points over the final four minutes while scoring six behind another triple from Thomas to trail just 35-29 at the half. 

Thomas was absolutely outstanding in the opening half as he scored 15 points on 3/5 from distance while holding Robinson to seven points and zero rebounds. His offense was all the more impressive as Buford could do nothing to complement him with Craft also struggling at 1/4 from the floor. 

Struggling inside without Sullinger, the Buckeyes allowed KU to outscore them 20-6 in the paint and shoot 65% from the floor. Only a 16-6 edge in points off turnovers kept OSU within striking distance. 

Matta's troops started the 2nd half with a flurry as Thomas hit a patented jump hook and Ravenel sandwiched back to back inside buckets between an Elijah Johnson triple to trail by just three at 38-35 with 18:16 left in regulation. Of course, KU again answered with a 9-2 run taking a 47-37 lead before Buford got hot fueling the noted last gasp. 

For the game, Kansas shot a blistering 58% from the floor including 52% from distance (9/17) and won the points in the paint battle 34-26. Meanwhile, Ohio State shot a chilly 38% overall including 29% from deep (5/17) but hung in there 18 Kansas turnovers into 24 points. 

Playing their first roadie of the season, Ohio State got a taste of how the home crowd impacts the zebras as they were whistled for 22 fouls. Starting in place of Sully, Ravenel racked up 5 fouls in 25 minutes finishing with nine points and five boards. Williams tied his season high with 15 minutes. He tallied two points and three boards and was overwhelmed at times by Robinson.

Fellow reserve Jordan Sibert logged 15 minutes but took at least 15 days off Matta's life with a pathetic sequence midway through the 1st half in which he got beat on a screen allowing a KU triple, took a horrendous shot at the other end and after Taylor hit a jumper to take a 19-11 lead, Sibert walked to set up another Jayhawk bucket pushing their lead to 21-11. I'm not hating on the kid but if he doesn't pick up the production at both ends, Matta is going to be more than willing to give Ross chances to eat into Sibert's minutes. Lenzelle Smith also struggled a bit defensively today as he was slow in rotating to open shooters - also drawing the ire of Matta. 

Overall, the loss is meaningless in the grand scheme of things. If anything, it helped kids like Williams get a taste of the big time and should give the entire team confidence as they hung in there in maybe the toughest environment in America without the best player in the country. 

The key now is to get Sully healthy and give Ross enough chances to see if he can mesh within the schemes as the Buckeyes play the next four games with the intent of establishing their rotation prior to kicking off the B1G slate against Northwestern on December 28th. 


Comments Show All Comments

painterlad's picture

Let me be the first to say meh.

To err is human. Really sucking requires having yellow stripes on your helmet.

DefendOhio's picture

It's silly to sit here and say how we are without Sully. Fact of the matter is, he is coming back and we shouldn't have to worry about this. This game really won't mean anything going forward. Bucks gave a solid effort today though.

Menexenus's picture

At least the Army/Navy game was fun to watch.

Real fans stay for Carmen.

johnblairgobucks's picture

will Ross play this year?  If so, what contributions do you expect him to have?

awwwwwwop's picture

contributions: not so sure.  He was eligible for today but he didn't dress FWIW

"Who cares? Go Bucks." - Aaron Untch

Chris Lauderback's picture

While Ross was technically eligible to join the team yesterday, I dont think he actually arrives in Columbus until tonight. He was not with the team in Lawrence, to my knowledge. 

I think he'll opportunities to earn PT though I don't know if he can pick up enough of the plays etc to be ready by Wednesday night. I assume he's been keeping himself decently conditioned. 

I personally expect he'll be in the 8 man rotation at worst by early January. From there, his play will dictate how far he climbs up the rotation. Sibert better be on notice, I know that much, because Ross shoot. 

Maestro's picture

You can't just replace the best player in the conference (maybe the country).  It would have been nice to see someone else go nuts and step up big time, but without the focal point of the offense a team isn't going to beat another quality opponent on the road very often.

vacuuming sucks

gravey's picture

The defensive rotation on the top side was awful all game.  I think Sully would have helped, but they scored a lot of buckets on open treys.  It's been a problem with Matta's teams for some years.  How often does some player on the other squad rain threes on us?  

It just seemed like we'd make a run and then lose our head with turnovers and bone-headed shots squandering all the effort to comeback.  Sully might have helped in those spots too...calm down and throw it in to Da Butt to get a high percentage shot.

We looked young...and youthfully inconsistent.  Buford, the senior, looked most shaken...and Thomas wasn't aware that this wasn't open gym.  Sully, again, would have helped there.

Seems like we couldn't get a call underneath either.

Oh well...maybe Q' will add another weapon...and at least we aren't the UC PunchCats.  

Get well soon Sully!


BuckeyeChief's picture

D@mn, I had the same thought on the opposition's 3's...

"2014 National with it!!!"

throttlefinger's picture

Yeah, fundamental blocking out and working past a pick were at a minimum today.

Like everyone said, different team without Sully. But like these type of games to test the team: early season non-conference game, quality opponent, hostile court and star player on bench.

Sullinger hides lots of our blemishes so they we saw a lot of pimples today that Matta and staff need to clean up. Buford had a KY-ian first half but Matta must've shook him hard enough for his balls to drop. We know Sully will have a foul trouble game and B will have to step up.

Most importantly, I like that they played hard the whole game. Didn't look like there was any give. As annoying as shat as this term is...this was a "good loss."

RBuck's picture

Agree with ya on the 3's. Every time the Bucks got close Kansas immediately hit a trey or two. It was kinda like watching the BasketBucks of last year...throw it inside and if the shot isn't there throw it back out for an open 3.

Long live the southend.

slippy's picture

Man that was ugly.  I don't ever blame the refs but that game was pretty inconsistent (on both sides) with calls.


Thomas' off ball defense is still pretty sketchy.  The whole team needs work w/ help D and how to fill.


I thought Craft had one of his worst games.  Uncharacteristic TOs from him.  I know he's not perfect with the ball but he had some head scratchers.


Amir's on ball D was pretty good I thought.  It was his rotation and help (like everyone else) that was lacking.  I think he just lacks a little athleticism.  Maybe next year if he sheds some fat and puts on a little muscle he's got a shot.


But in the end: oh well.  #1 went down today.  Buford showed we can lean on him if we need it.  Kids never gave up.  Guys like Amir and Sibert got time in a big game they might not have otherwise.  This game probably helped the team more than it hurt.

Maestro's picture

8 for 23 from the floor and 1-6 from 3 is "leaning on" Buford.  Dude had a terrible game.  Never have liked Buford's game, and certainly didn't like it today.

vacuuming sucks

slippy's picture

Are you kidding?  It's not all about stats.  Dude took over the game in the 2nd half.  Just had no defense to help him out. 

JakeBuckeye's picture

Buford played really well. I have to agree with slippy. He put the team on his back. I love Willie B.

Maestro's picture

Like I said, I have never liked his game.  He is a complimentary player.  He is a senior and we should be able to lean on him, but if the Bucks have to do so this season it will be a very disappointing year.

vacuuming sucks

CAAter's picture

Great article,Chris.

Buckeye Chuck's picture

I'm less concerned about us losing today than I am about Indiana winning. Some might disagree, but I really don't believe the revival of our program could have occurred to this extent without the Hoosiers' program falling apart. If they're back, that's not a good thing for Ohio State.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

johnblairgobucks's picture

Indiana winning one game dosen't bother me.  Plenty of talented teams in a 250 mile radius of Columbus..... Purdue, Xavier, Cincinnatti, Pitt, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, West Virginia.... what's one more program to compete for recruits with?


cplunk's picture

If the Big Ten basketball teams were ranked 1-12 nationally, that'd be fine with me. I'd love for the Elite Eight to be all Big Ten teams. That sort of night after night competition would make the Bucs tough in a hurry. A loss here or there doesn't really matter; just get in the tournament and win.

DJ Byrnes's picture

Good "down-the-road" experience for the team, IMO.

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

pcon258's picture

Tough game, but thats alright....because theres a playoff! what a shocking revelation.

btw i am a huge fan of chaning the "its woody on the line" to urban....itll be interesting to see if he can live up to the impossibly high expectations. he better, because im refusing to graduate until we win a national championship

fetch's picture

Hey all, just wanted to say good game. You guys have a hell of a team and should be among the national title favorites. Also kudos to the kids for being class acts. Would have liked to have seen how Robinson and Sullinger matched up but maybe there will be a rematch in the tournament.

Also totally agreed on the refs being sketchy on both sides. Lots of calls both ways that made me say yikes. 

Best of luck the rest of the way and as a North Dakota native make sure to make a special effort to beat Minnesota. Thanks.

thatlillefty's picture

 Not even worried about this loss.

We have a great team and i believe we grow tremendously from today's game. It's obvious now how important Sullinger is to the team's success; but I think the rest of the squad steps up and THE Ohio State Buckeyes are better off moving forward.

Still love my buckeyes