Ohio State Holds Off Nebraska Behind Lenzelle Smith Jr.'s Season High 21 Points

By Kyle Rowland on February 2, 2013 at 8:59p
The Aaron Craft Hustlebot 5000 was in action Saturday night

For a moment it looked like Ohio State’s mid-winter trip to Lincoln would be hazardous. The Buckeyes breezed out to a nine-point lead to start the game, but Nebraska, feeding off the energy in a jam-packed Bob Devaney Sports Center, used a 13-2 run to take the lead. The Cornhuskers did not resemble the same team that had lost to Ohio State by a combined 91 points in three games as members of the Big Ten.

Order was quickly restored, though, after the Buckeyes went on a 13-0 run to take control of the game, en route to a 63-56 victory. Ohio State ruled nearly every aspect of the first half, making field goals, converting free throws and creating turnovers.

Ohio State followed through on four and-1 opportunities in the half and scored 10 points off five Nebraska turnovers. That efficiency made the Huskers pay dearly for a relatively small amount of miscues. The Buckeyes also enjoyed a 10-0 advantage in points at the free throw line. In the first 20 minutes, they were a perfect 10 of 10, while Nebraska didn’t even attempt a single shot from the line. It was the third consecutive half Ohio State limited its opponent to zero free throw attempts.

Earlier this week Nebraska head coach Tim Miles said the No. 1 goal for the defense would be limiting Deshaun Thomas. When the two teams met in January, Thomas torched Nebraska for 22 points. He scored 15 in the rematch, but had to shoot 18 times to get there.

Instead, for the second straight road game, a secondary scoring threat helped lift the Buckeyes. Lenzelle Smith Jr. did what Sam Thompson could not do last Saturday at Penn State – completing a perfect shooting display. Smith made all six field goal attempts, including three 3s. He added six free throws for a game- and season-high 21 points.

David Rivers’ 13 points led Nebraska. Dylan Talley added 12 points.

The Buckeyes led by nine at the half and continued to stretch their advantage in the second half. But Nebraska did not go quietly at home. The Cornhuskers trimmed a 15-point deficit to five with 2:38 left in the game. Ohio State clamped down on defense, though, denying Nebraska on three consecutive shots as the Huskers tried to cut the lead to one possession. Ohio State put the game away at the free throw line, making 5 of 6 attempts in the final minutes.

Ohio State finished 23 of 28 from the line while Nebraska was 4 of 5. But the Huskers outrebounded Ohio State, 38-33, including 15-8 on the offensive glass, contributing to 14 second-chance points. For the second straight game, Ohio State’s opponent shot a high number of three-pointers. Nebraska was only 6 of 26 from beyond the arc, but the team was not shy about putting the ball up.

Aaron Craft had one of his best all-around games of the season, finishing with 14 points, six rebounds, six assists, two blocked shots and one steal. In the first half, Amir Williams had seven points, seven rebounds and three blocks, but he became invisible after the break, adding just one rebound to his final stat line.

The Buckeyes, what seems like years removed from a humiliating loss at Illinois, are now 17-4 overall and 7-2 in the Big Ten. They’ll be tied for second place in the Big Ten after the Michigan-Indiana game due to both teams having one loss.

Ohio State travels to Ann Arbor on Tuesday to face top-ranked Michigan.


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Kalamazoo Steve's picture

BIG is a bitch, especially on the road. Will not be surprised with at least 2 teams in final 4. Nobody D's up like this.

Killer nuts's picture

Any win is a good win, especially on the road and in conference 

BROSEPH's picture

The game wrap-up pictures are always fantastic.  This one is no different.  

Squirrel Master's picture

Nebraska got a bunch of lucky bounces and off balance shots to fall. They really took advantage of the home court. Nebraska played valiantly. 
Gotta feed the post to Thomas. Good things happen when he gets the ball down low. Especially if he can work the high low with Ross. This passing the ball around the key crap with the guards has to stop. Mix it up at least. 3 things happen with Thomas in the post, 1. he makes the shot, 2. he gets fouled and still makes the shot and 3. he passes the ball to an open man when he gets doubled and creates open shots. 
and I do believe you have to feed Amir when he plays like that early. 4-4 from the FT, 2 rebounds, 1 block and caused 2 fouls in the first 5 mins. His plus/minus in the first half was around +15 and -11 when he was off the court. His reaction time is horribly slow though. He really should rebound a hell of a lot better. 
I think Sam Thompson had a sub par game. Seemed like his man, Rivers, kept beating him on the boards and he wasn't boxing out very well. Thompson also was not feeling it on offense. Should have given Ross some more minutes there late. I think he was doing well on defense except when he got stuck on Almeida. 
Craft had a heck of a game and so did LSjr. Craft was actually a quite contributor, 14-6-6. I like seeing those numbers.

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

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

I love Craft's hustle, but i'm starting to worry about him flying into the crowd.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Late game was frustrating, especially the rebounding and uncreative offense.  It's hard to complain about a road win, though. 

Class of 2010.

CALPOPPY's picture

What's amazing about the rebounds is that the announcers said early in the game that OSU had outrebounded NE 9-1. So, after that point, NE outrebounded OSU 37-24. That's big. And alot was due to that big man in the middle.

I'm a hurtin' buckaroo.

Poison nuts's picture

Indiana is gonna be tough. Glad they're coming to Columbus first! That place was a zoo tonight...

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

WiliestBuckeye's picture

Its nice to see that other players are stepping up on the road when Deshaun has an off night.

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."

buckeye4life050233's picture

up 15 and we shut down the offense and try to control the clock......i know thad has learned a lot in the B1G especially from bo ryan on how to just run the clock out on teams but i hate winning like this.....amir williams needs to look at how cody zeller played against michigan on the rebounds and imediate put backs......when your man goes to double follow him rather than just stand around and finish the play.......overall a win is a win and maybe they had been practicing more for this upcoming stretch but that would have been a horrific loss had we not pulled it out

73buckeye's picture

Buckeye4 life....I agree with your assessment of the difference between Williams and Zeller. Amir looked better early tonight, but sometimes he looks very tenative out there. Zeller looks like a good basketball player who happens to be tall, Williams looks like a tall guy with lots of potential who is still learning to play the game. You can't teach tall, but with good coaching and hard work, there is still a good chance the light will go on for Williams and he'll get there.


osubuckeye4life's picture

This just in Lenzelle Smith Jr. is once again THE "Scarlet Mamba".