Buckeyes Bounce Penn State... Again

By Chris Lauderback on January 25, 2012 at 7:39p
AP: T. GilliamCraft owned Frazier, the conference's leading scorer

Ohio State opened with a 24-6 run and never looked back spanking the Nittany Lions 78-54 tonight in the Schott. The win was the 17th straight over Penn State and 37th in a row overall at home. 

Jared Sullinger led the Buckeyes with 20 points and 13 rips, good for his 4th dub-dub in the last six games and ninth of the season. 

William Buford had an excellent overall game with 15 points (3/6 3FG, 6/6 FT), nine boards and just one turnover in 32 minutes. Though he has a tendency to blow up against bad teams, hopefully this can still be a building block as he has just one turnover in his last 59 minutes. The fact he had a legit impact on the game despite taking only seven shots is good to see. He did a better job driving to the rack and getting to the foul line instead of trying to shoot himself out a slump. 

Aaron Craft was also a beast scoring 11 points on 4/4 shooting with three assists in just 22 minutes, 16 of those logged in a stellar 1st half performance. 

Showing no mercy from the opening tip, Craft dominated the much anticipated matchup with PSU PG Tim Frazier who came in leading the league in scoring, assists and steals.

In building the early 24-6 lead at the 6:10 mark, Craft tallied seven points on a game opening lefty layup off a nice look from Sullinger and two textbook pull up jumpers off the dribble drive, one of the and-1 variety. Meanwhile, Frazier was busy clanking 2/7 from the floor. Frazier's struggles were contagious as the Buckeye defense harrassed the Lions into just 3/21 from the floor to that point. 

Penn State would shoot 4/11 over the remaining six minutes but still trailed by 20 at the break, 38-18, as Buford got hot draining a pair of triples before a bucket from Thomas. The final highlight of the half came moments later as Craft attempted a lob from 30 feet to Sam Thompson and instead drained the accidental three though it looked like Helen Keller Mike Sanzere missed basket interference. 

For the half, Craft recorded 11 points on 4/4 shooting with two assists while holding Frazier to four points on 2/9 shooting. 

Craft's effort was backed by seven points and eight boards from Sully with Buford (8 pts, 5 reb) and Thomas (6 pts, 6 reb) providing additional support. 

The team defense forced PSU into 7/22 from the floor (22%) including 2/10 from distance while the Buckeyes shot an even 50% from the field (13/26) while owning the glass 25-16. The Lions did grab a few too many o-boards early but when you miss that many shots...

The lead would swell to 56-29 at the 12:20 mark after a 7-0 run sparked by Thompson. Already having cemented his position in the rotation as the first guard off the bench, Thompson dominated a three minute stretch in style. First he took a Craft lob off an inbounds pass and converted a thunder dunk. After a PSU miss, he dropped a dime to Sully for an easy two. After a few empty possessions for both teams, Thompson blocked two shots on back to back possessions before capping the impressive spurt by finding Sully again for a dunk. 

Thompson's final stat line read six points (2/3 FG, 2/2 FT), three assists, two boards and two blocks in 17 minutes. 

It would be great if this kid had a jumper that defenses were forced to respect but with what he provides defensively and the sporadic highlight reel dunks that fire up the team, he's a very worthy first guard reserve when compared to Matta's other options. 

Speaking of which, Shannon Scott was again average at best hitting just 1/4 in 17 minutes with two assists, two turnovers and three fouls.  

J.D. Weatherspoon looked good in garbage time scoring eight points in 10 minutes, knocking down 2/2 from the floor and 4/5 from the line. Amir Williams also made the most of his eight minutes of mop up duty grabbing four boards and blocking three shots. 

For the game, Ohio State shot an even 50% (25/50) and earned 34 trips to the line though they hit just 24 (71%). At the other end, they held Penn State to 31% shooting while winning the backboards 41-31. 

Frazier led Penn State with 16 points but 12 of those came after halftime when the game was already a laugher. Frustrated with Craft's physicality, Frazier was whistled for a flagrant foul early in the 2nd half as he dropped Craft with an elbow to the chops. Stay classy, Tim. 

The win improves Ohio State to 18-3 overall and keeps them in a tie for 1st in conference play at 6-2.

Next up for the Buckeyes is a Sunday showdown against Michigan at 1pm in the Schott. The game will be televised nationally by CBS. 




Comments Show All Comments

LABuckeye's picture

Thanks Chris and the rest of 11W for the basketball game descriptions. Really helpful for those of us not in the midwest who can't get BTN.

thatlillefty's picture

no BTN in LA? I'm in DC and there hasn't been a single game blacked out this year

Regardless, salute to a fellow buckeye in foreign lands. It isn't easy

LABuckeye's picture

BTN in most of the country is only available via satellite. We had satellite for awhile and hated it... always went out whenever it rained. Went back to Time Warner, which I actually still hate, but less than satellite. Time Warner in Ohio is much better than Time Warner LA, which sucks so bad they were literally sued by the City of Los Angeles for sucking... no joke (here there is no cable competition, everyone is locked to one provider).

Squirrel Master's picture

dude, isn't it mostly sunny in LA? I had a boss in south Florida that had satellite and what he did is he had the bill set up in NY and required the satellite service to run off of NY local. So he was able to get all his Yankees, Giants games and NY news that he liked. he did have basic cable as well to provide local for Florida. it was brilliant!


I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

thatlillefty's picture

didn't see much of the game... it was already an ass whoopin by the time i turned it on with a few mins left in the 1st half. But how bout that in-bounds ali-oop to Sam Thomas Jr? That kid has some serious hops

aznchipmunk's picture

#2 Mizzou just lost.  Looks like we might move up another spot again.  Additionally, DOOK is losing at the newly named "Gary William's court" at Maryland.

Go Bucks! Roll-Tide!

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

Penn St sucks on so many levels..and sports. Going to be a rough go for them for quite some time.

Jbuckham94's picture

Did anyone else get annoyed by the commentator calling Thompson "Thomas" whenever he would make a play? Please, Thomas doesn't have half the ups Thompson does, that should be a dead giveaway.

Class of 2016. Go Bucks!

baddogmaine's picture

We beat up on one of the weakest teams from an AQ conference  but I'm not sure what we really accomplished. (Yes, we won easily, I get that.) This was one of the last opportunities for Matta to have players practice what he needs from them, and to find out who is capable of doing what needs doing, before we face a quality opponent. Why did Buford need 32 minutes? If it's to see how he plays with subs I guess that's okay, but if he only took 7 shots a partial answer is that substitute guards were not doing a good job of finding him (or he was not doing a good job of getting open against a poor defense, in which case someone else should have been given a better chance).  If Smith is the starter why did he again take just two shots? It's not "flow of the offense," Sibert took as many shots in half the time. Is this and that Smith got just 17 minutes a sign that Matta is giving up on him and ready to make a change? To who? Scott? who was statistically no better on offense, was foul prone, but was given more playing time than any other bench player? Thompson is listed as a forward, is he Smith's replacement?  I've read that Ravenel is a defensive stopper, but if he wasn't given more than nine minutes to hone his skill against PSU when is the right situation for him?

In a game like this the superficial reaction is that our starters dominated, Sullinger was a beast, Craft shut down the B1G's leading scorer, etc. This game would have been a disaster had those not happened. But in terms of building a team for the long run in March this has the look of a lost opportunity, an opportunity we are not likely to get again, given our schedule, without taking some losses that could affect our seeding and increase the chances that in March we will meet a team we don't match up well against sooner rather than later. Winning against PSU does not take great coaching, winning in March does, and I'm not sure how this was a demonstration of the great coaching necessary.

Buckeye06's picture

Really what did you want?  8 guys had double digit minutes and 2 more had 9 minutes.  This is the deepest Matta has ever gone into the bench that I can recall, using 10 guys for significant minutes.  

If we can go into the tourney with 8 guys who can play, which the team has already shown they can (take your pick from scott thompson ravenel siebert) then have a backup big man in Williams who at least has shown the ability to be strong inside.

Team has everything they need, now it's time for them to go grind out some wins.  I was perfectly fine with how this game went.

Squirrel Master's picture

sorry, Siebert should be the last guard to come off the bench now. I think Ross should be on the court before him.

I do agree though, he is letting that bench get some PT and perhaps he kept Buford out there to help work out his issues he is going thru. I much rather have Buford not shooting and helping the young bench develop their roles on the team than have him chucking it up.

and from what I saw was very developed play from Thompson's all around play (he is more than a dunk machine. a jumper would be sooo nice) and Amir Williams with his new tenacity on defense. Amir was not that confident at the beginning of the season. I think he will be a beast next year.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Buckeye06's picture

I think Ross is trying too hard to take too many shots when he gets into the game.  Anyway, having a rotation of craft smith jr buford thomas sullinger thompson williams scott ravenel siebert weatherspoon, whatever order you put them in, should give you a shot to win a lot of games even with foul trouble. 

RBuck's picture

I don't think Ross is ready yet. To me, he just looks lost on both offense and defense out there. He's one helluva talent for sure, but he justs needs more time to grasp the schemes.

Long live the southend.

Ohio Guy in Jersey's picture

Glad to see that you've at least figured out that the coach is Thad MATTA and not Thad Motta. Otherwise I anxiously await your "fire Matta" comment if OSU doesn't win it all.

VestedInterest's picture

Some people are never happy. (@maine)

First Buford is shooting too much now it's not enough. SMH

Rav is there do give a blow when needed, not a defensive stopper.

the superficial reaction is that our starters dominated...uh huh That's why the rest of your daitribe isn't worth much, those minutes will be mostly on the starters come tournament time.

This game couldn't have been a disaster, we do have starters and they played. That just sounds incredulous to me, if the sun didn't rise it would be dark too.

Why so damn critical? Honest question.

In this day and age of one and dones, recruiting the talent, especially at the higher levels, is more important than you give credit for. Matta has proven that he is near the top of the heap in that regard. You may not like his rotations, minutes etc, but I doubt there are more than 3/4 players on this team that see year 4.

baddogmaine's picture

Were you happy with how we did in the Dance last year? Honest question.

You've obviously never played competitive sports. Coaching is being critical. It might not be stated as such but coaching comes from identifying what could be better and geting it there. Saying YEAH, WE KICKED THEIR BUTTS gives happiness for about three minutes, and then it's back to the gym. I want them back in the gym. If all we will ever need is eight minutes per from the bench, and we don't need the subs for Craft to score and we don't need Smith to score then we're fine. If any one of those might be a problem in March then last night was a wasted opportunity, and future opportunities will likely have a trade-off in the form of a loss attached.

I have not said that Buford shoots too much as a firm rule. I have said that if he is going to hit under 45% (actually I'd like to see 50% but I'll give him slome slack) then he needs to shoot less in tight games where his bad shooting could be the difference. If he was left in last night to help him work things out exactly what did this senior who knows how to play the game work out by taking only 7 shots?

If you want to see how Craft's subs works with Buford then Buford needs to be on the floor when the subs are. If you want to see how Buford's subs play with the real point guard then Buford needs to come out of the game so Craft can play with others. Buford doesn't need to come out of the game, you say? Were you happy with how we did in the Dance last year?

Time will tell who leaves OSU early. My feeling is that Sully is gone after this year, and Buford is graduating. This means at minimum we will need to replace the center and a shooting guard. And if things brealk wrong we will need to replace every starter but Smith. That means a lot of non-starters need a lot of game experience this year. Aother reason why the bench should get more PT in blow-outs.

I'll bet that these guys will still be in Columbus for their senior years: Smith, Ravenel (I didn't describe Rav as a stopper, someone else telling me I'm wrong described him that way - I was told he's the defensive stopper off the bench I said we didn't have), Sibert, Scott, Rogers, McDonald. Probably Weatherspoon and Craft too (Craft is crafty but he's not a good enough shooter to be 6'2", and at 6'2" not big enough to defend the hybrid guard/ forwards in the league).  Thomas has one more year, if that. Williams will cash in his 6'11" after a year or two as the OSU center. Ross will go pro or drop out. Thompson I dunno. But that's 6 from this year's roster I think are around for four years.

Did I miss anything?



VestedInterest's picture

Of course not, but Buford had the worst game of his career, not sure you can pin that on Matta though, I'm sure you think he should have pulled him but replaced him with whom? He did right by sticking with him, it's the touny, it happens.

"You've obviously never played competive sports." Not true, but not the issue anyway you slice it.

You seem like "that guy" that was either overlooked or didn't live up to his potential due to your own laziness and compensates vicariously by being over critical when not needed to be. See how easy that is?

The rest of it isn't worth responding to as I would be doing what I feel isn't necessary. Your over critical micro managing perspective on every game is best left for seasons end imo. There's always that guy who thinks every thing done by Matta should have been done differently, it would appear as though that is you. Sorry if that ruffles your tail feathers but I don't subscribe to that way of thinking.

baddogmaine's picture

Of course not, but Buford had the worst game of his career, not sure you can pin that on Matta though, I'm sure you think he should have pulled him but replaced him with whom? He did right by sticking with him, it's the touny, it happens.


Last year Matta had few choices in the KY game since he had no guards on the bench he trusted. (Last year was not the first time Matta had few subs he liked. Matta routinely works with as short a roster as any big-time coach in the country. I've heard Matta poraised as a recruiter. How good is a recruiter at a school with as many advantages as OSU if he can't get even eight players for a solid rotation? When he doesn't have a single player at any position he can bring in to sit down a guy single handedly blowing up the game plan?)

Among the ways this year is different from last are these two.  Unlike last year when WB basically was solid until KY, since KY Buford has struggled against almost every decent defense he's faced, and been sub-par against even some not decent defenses - Matta should be realizing that another KY is not out of the question for Buford. AND, at least accrding to the commentary here Matta has bench players he can trust or at least develop.

So the question is: how should Matta prepoare for March? The weight of opinion here seems to be that Matta should just continue doing what he's been doing, things will take care of themselves. That is not coaching. It's optimism but it's not coaching. Expecting new players to be ready to face a Top 10 defense in March with just the occassional eight minutes per game is not coaching. Would you agree that so far neither Sibert nor Scott has shown that he is going to be able to carry a load? If so, why does Scott get 18 minutes against PSU? Did Matta need 18 minutes from Scott to further evaluate his potential? If so then that was the right move, but do you think that was what was going on? If Thompson is going to be the first off the bench then even 17 minutes was not enough - he needed to get more of Buford's minutes so Matta could see how Thompson worked with various combination of starters. THAT is coaching. If Williams is the center of the future then he needs more than 8 minutes in a game where the minutes are available. The reffing in IN#1 was dreadful but we have not been handed a guarantee that the refs in the Dance will not be whistle-happy. We have only so much time left to get guys ready to step in when our starters have to sit with foul trouble and there is no more rest-of-the-season to dream about. In my opinion what Matta did against PSU and NE did not help in that very important regard.

The point is that what is being slagged as "oh my gosh we're hopeless and helpless" isn't always that at all. In fact it can be quite the opposite. It can come from a belief that while we are not good enough to have glory handed to us we can be good enough to seize glory BUT ONLY IF WE WORK PRODUCTIVELY TOWARDS GETTING IT. I think this team can compete with the best but am afraid that we are not doing the groundwork to do it. If that's negativity then so be it.

And if you really think I have nothing to say you don't need to post a message saying so - see how easy that is? - just don't respond.