Bucks Fall Short of B1G Tourney Title

By Chris Lauderback on March 11, 2012 at 5:54p
AP: Kiichiro SatoOSU fell just short of a 3rd straight B1G tourney title

In what had to be the most hotly contested B1G tournament championship game in history, Ohio State simply couldn't put the biscuit in the basket down the stretch resulting in a 68-64 loss at the hands of the Michigan State Spartans

A win would've vaulted them a #1 seed in the Dance, instead they'll settle for a #2 seed in the East Region. 

They will face Loyola on Thursday in Pittsburgh. On Sunday, they'll play the winner of Gonzaga / West Virginia. 

After a Jared Sullinger bucket cut the deficit to 64-62 with 3:26 remaining, the Buckeyes went on to miss seven straight shots - three of would've given them the lead - and ultimately missed eight of their final nine FGA's plus the front end of a one-and-one to seal the deal. 

Draymond Green delivered the dagger via a three pointer pushing the Sparty lead to 67-62 with 1:32 left as Deshaun Thomas failed to get a hand up. 

The Buckeyes scored just eight points over the final 10 minutes as they resorted to a one dimensional offense, pounding down to Sully more often than not which bogged down the attack at times. Looking frustrated by this approach, Thomas, Lenzelle Smith and William Buford each took questionable shots based on possession situations.

Sullinger led the Buckeyes with 18 points, 14 in the 2nd half, on 7/19 shooting with nine boards but missed his last three shots in crunch time plus the front end of the one and one. 

All five starters reached double figures as Thomas and Smith scored 11 apiece while Aaron Craft and Buford added 10 each. 

Craft also pulled down eight boards and dished out four assists. 

After a strong first half in which he shot 4/9 for 10 points, Buford fell apart in the final 20 minutes going 0/3 with two turnovers.

The game was an absolute war, especially early as the teams traded proverbial punches. There were 16 lead changes and five ties though OSU lost the lead for good on a Brandon Wood triple making it 53-52 Sparty with 12: 52 to play. 

Wood's trey was part of a 10-0 run that saw the Buckeyes go from up seven at 52-45 to down three at 55-52 with 11:38 to play. The run was even more painful as it came with Green on the bench after getting knocked woozy under the Buckeye basket. 

Wood led the green and white with 21 points including 4/8 from distance with Green adding 12 points and nine boards. 

The Buckeyes shot just 40% for the game including a dismal 4/17 from deep (24%) while Sparty hit 48% on the night. 

Michigan State turned 10 Buckeye turnovers into 14 points, giving them a +8 in the critical category. 

The first half was complete madness. 

Up 18-17 with 8:22 left in the half, Sullinger picked up his 2nd foul via a Mike Kitts whistle and Sparty responded with an 8-2 run to take a 27-24 lead at 3:55. The mini runs would continue as WB and Smith scored five straight to OSU in front 29-27 before MSU used a 7-0 spurt to jump back in front 34-29. Ohio State would then score the final three points of the half closing the gap to 34-32. 

Following a Craft layup, Tom Izzo was T'd up and Buford hit one of two FT's to round out the scoring. The intense half featured 12 lead changes and a high volume of chirping and floor burns. 


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JakeBuckeye's picture

I think a close loss to a really good team right before NCAA tournament time could be good for us. It gives us a little sting right before the games that matter start.

buckeyenut10's picture

While I know that the negative nancies will come in here and scream we're done and that Buford shouldn't even be on scholarship or whatever, did this game give anyone else some comfort? Seriously, we played our hearts out and just got cold at the wrong time. Yeah, we're still looking for a consistent 3 baller, but hot damn can we be physical under the rim (and that doesn't go cold). MSU has a GREAT team and this was the best game in college basketball this SEASON. This team is battle tested, knows hot to fight, and will be the scariest #2 seed in the tournament.


Go Bucks.

gravey's picture

Great game.  Consistently inconsistent officiating.  I think we still suffer a bit from immaturity.  Our frustrations get the best of us too often....keeps reminding me of Coop's late 90's teams...mental toughness.  

Let's go get us a final four berth!

slippy's picture

Is Draymond Green just not very good or is he just not very good against us?

torlando2006's picture

We defiantly suffer from immaturity, you can see on their faces when a team puts on the heatOther than Craft, They all get that blank, glassed over look with no emotion. (Unless they score of course).  

I love my buckeyes, but the early season hype got in their head. They are a good YOUNG team; with a lot of Mr. Basketball egos and a lot more locker-room issues than we know.  

BuckeyeSki's picture

At least I got drunk at the bar...


/I wish I could say that about football games

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

BuckeyeChief's picture

I don't think it an ego issue; I think Willie B chooses the wrong time to go cold, and this team missed Lighty and Deibs alot more than we thought they would...any chance Sully comes back? I think it would do nothing but hurt his draft prospects, but I can always wish...


As far as Buford, he has never done anything off the court to embarress the team, school, fan base, but jeezus, I am ready for him to go. I've said it for awhile, and I am not trying to pile on, but lord almighty.

Last thought, I have us going out in the sweet 16, again.

"2014 National Champions...deal with it!!!"

BuckeyeMike74's picture

We played hard, just not hard enough.  MSU gritted it out over us.  Plain and simple.  Sully didn't hit a big shot down the stretch.  Nor did Little Game Willy (LGW), which isn't shocking.  All in all, a battle of two very good teams, but MSU outlasted us and no one stepped up on offense in our moment of need.  

As for the tourney, I really think it comes down to matchups.  It is pretty apparent we play much better against teams without dominant big men.  Take scUM and MSU as a prime example.  I think we would kill a team like Missouri, but Kentucky would dominate us.  A bit shocking since our "best" player is our big guy.  I will watch with realistic expectations.  Thinking sweet 16, elite 8 at best.  Anything more will be a pleasant surprise.  

One other note.  Not sure who follows JD Weatherspoon on twitter, but my man is really disgruntelled with his lack of playing time.  Seems very immature to me, especially when it comes on the heals of great victories like scUM and Purdue in the B1G tourney.  I hope this is just a case of a young man wanting to contrubute, but I suppose another disappointing player from Toledo may be par for the course.

Go Bucks.

Buckrific's picture

You do realize Weatherspoon isn't from Toledo right.  He was Sully's High School teamate.

BuckeyeMike74's picture

Apparently I didn't ;)


But it doesn't invalidate the point that he has some issues!

RedStorm45's picture

Spoon played the last few minutes against Michigan....and promptly bricked a 10 foot jumper.  Can't do much besides dunk.  His D is about in par with D.T. and Thomas obviously gives us much more scoring.

RedStorm45's picture

Just got back to Cbus from Indy...probably going to be a long post, so I apologize in advance.

1) We looked like 2 completely different teams from Friday-Saturday to Sunday.  Friday and Saturday everyone came out looking alive, the offense was going, etc.  Today, outside of Craft, I have to question whether guys wanted it.  Offense turned selfish late in the 2nd half...dump to Sully, stand and watch, give to Buford, stand and watch.  D.T. was WIDE OPEN on at least 4-5 plays late but no one wanted to pass it up.  Frustrating last 10 minutes to say the least.

2) Is it possible Craft's D got better? He was an absolute menace all tournament long, and I think he played better on that end than he has all year.  Check out Burke's and Appling's numbers.  Yikes.

3) Officiating...today was flat out awful.  Kitts and Valentine are two of the worst, and this is who the Big Ten wants officiating their biggest game of the year? Either whoever places these guys in the games is an idiot or doesn't care what little "integrity" was left in officiating is disappearing.  What a joke.  A good 8-10 calls/no calls that were just ridiculous.  I won't list them out.

4) That said, hard to blame the officials for the L.  Missed 5 FT's.  Gave up 9-12 points by a flat out lack of hustle - MSU just beat us down the court for easy baskets.  Dumb.

5) Not quite in panic mode.  The constant chucking of 3's was a little concerning.  We looked like we took more solid, open 3's in the first two games, leading to a higher %.  The offense lost cohesiveness down the stretch in that 23-12 run to finish the game.

6) What was wrong with Deshaun? Anyone know? Saw him limping in the 2nd half.  He pulled his best Sully complaining to the officials in the 1st half.  He went back into the locker room before 2nd half warmups and didn't really participate in that shootaround before the 2nd half.  Is he hurt/tired? Bizarre.

7) Some positive momentum going into the tourney.  We looked like we understood for 2 3/4 games that we're not a great 3 point shooting team, and didn't rely on it.  Played as good as I've seen us for a stretch of 50 or so minutes from the end of the Purdue game through the Michigan game.  WB was disappointing, but the duo of Sully and D.T. made up for it.  I think Matta has to realize Buford is maybe his 3rd or 4th option on offense - AND DONT LET HIM TAKE TECHNICAL FT'S!! Anyway, we can take solace in the fact that Valentine, Hightower, and Kitts shouldn't be calling our games in the tourney (btw, how does that work? Can big ten officials call games with big ten teams?).

69Buckeye's picture

Michigan State is a better team because they make things happen. Everyone on here harps on shooting; however, they were +14 from turnovers turned into points. Spartans use secondary and fast break points to make the difference in the game.  We are capable of doing that also, but someone in midseason turned this team into a totally half court team. Good teams make things happen!