Ohio State Earns Much Needed Win Over Minnesota with Huge Second Half

By Kyle Rowland on February 20, 2013 at 8:58p
Photographic evidence of Evan Ravenel dunking

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State got win No. 1 in a make or break week. Coming off three losses in four games, the latest a complete embarrassment, the Buckeyes defeated Minnesota, who’s also treading water, 71-45, on Wednesday.

And they did it using their identity: defense.

Minnesota was out of sorts all 40 minutes on offense. The Golden Gophers only scored one more point than their season low, shot less than 30 percent from the field and turned the ball over a season-high 24 times. It was a welcome change for Ohio State to have an opponent struggle on the offensive end.

“We played real well. We played with a lot of energy, we played with enthusiasm and a lot of heart,” Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas said. “We played great defense. That’s what Ohio State basketball is all about.”

The motivation came from an unlikely source. It wasn’t Buckeye legend Jerry Lucas, honored Wednesday night for being one of the best 75 players in NCAA Tournament history, that delivered a rousing pre-game speech. It was linebacker Ray Lewis.

The Baltimore Raven wasn’t in Columbus, but rather head coach Thad Matta enlisted video coordinator Greg Paulus to find a speech that would be uplifting to a team in need of a spark.

“Believe it or not, I don’t know a whole lot of what goes on in the world, but I kept hearing that guy’s name,” Matta said, sheepishly. “I told Greg to pull me up something unique.”

What he found was Ray Lewis’ message to the Stanford basketball team at last season’s NIT, a tournament the Cardinal eventually won.

Asked what Lewis said in the video, Thomas responded, “It was a bad word,” and then elaborated that the theme was effort, an area lacking in Sunday’s listless loss at Wisconsin.  

“Wins and losses come a dime a dozen,” said Lewis, emphatically. “But effort? Nobody can judge effort. Effort is between you and you. Effort ain't got nothing to do with nobody else. So that team that think they ready to seen you? They think what they seen on film. They ain't saw what film shows. Because every day is a new day. Every moment is a new moment.

“So now you got to go out and show them that you a different creature now than I was five minutes ago. Cause I'm pissed off for greatness. Because you ain't pissed off for greatness, that mean you OK with being mediocre."

Matta has delivered a similar decree the past few days.

“He didn’t want us to forget the Wisconsin game,” sophomore point guard Shannon Scott said.

Effort was not a problem against Minnesota, but the dividends didn’t pay off immediately, as the first half quickly developed into a slopfest. The officials called 10 fouls in the first four minutes, slowing down the pace of the game considerably.

“We stayed aggressive,” Thomas said, despite the whistles. “We didn’t let it get in our heads.”

It got so bad, so early that little-used freshman Amedeo Della Valle entered the game before the first TV timeout after Lenzelle Smith Jr. picked up two fouls.

“Amedeo has really played well the last couple weeks in practice,” Matta said. “I like his energy, I like his basketball savvy. The biggest thing with that young man is he cares. Guys like that in this program have done really well for us.”

Della Valle didn’t score during his three first-half minutes, but he rewarded his coach – and the fans – with two 3s late in the game. They were the two loudest moments of the game. 

Once the Buckeyes got up to speed after the many fouls, they showed glimmers of why they’re still considered one of the top teams in the nation’s best conference. Ohio State scored 26 points off turnovers and had 10 steals and five blocks. The Buckeyes also outpaced the Gophers with 20 fast break points.

Ohio State used an 8-2 run to end of the first half with a 29-23 lead. The capper was an Aaron Craft 25-footer at the buzzer. Much of the offensive problems stemmed from Thomas starting slow. But after beginning 1-of-5 shooting, he finished 5 for his last 11, leading Ohio State with 19 points. Shannon Scott finished with 11 points and LaQuinton Ross added 10.

A 16-0 second-half run is what separated the Buckeyes from Minnesota and turned the game into an old-fashioned blowout. The highlight came on a fast break engineered and finished by 6-foot-8 big man Evan Ravenel.  He took possession of the ball at midcourt and raced to the basket, slamming it home with authority.

During the spurt, Minnesota went more than 10 minutes without a field goal.

“When things are not going well and you’re making some bad mistakes, it’s like a storm that starts to build on you,” Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith said. “Ohio State was feeling pretty comfortable and was making shots, and we had something like five or six turnovers in that stretch. Even when we got a good look or had the opportunity to score, we did something else with it.”

The intensity for Ohio State will have to stay at a high level, because the No. 4 Michigan State Spartans are the opponent this coming Sunday. And the Spartans arrive unhappy, having lost to top-ranked Indiana on Tuesday night. Michigan State is the seventh consecutive team Ohio State has played coming off a loss.

“We just need to treat that game like any other,” Scott said. “We shouldn’t think of it as any different from the game we just played. We just need to stay focused as a team.”

It’s just another week in the Big Ten.


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kr66osu's picture

A decisive win in the month of February? Is this real life?

gwalther's picture

"They think what they seen on film. They ain't saw what film shows." 
Uhh, what? I hope Aaron Craft was interrupting the video to correct Ray Ray's grammar.

Class of 2008

dubjayfootball90's picture

feeling good after this win. Good finish to my crappy ass day. Go Bucks! On to the next one!

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

Doc's picture

Congrats Bucks!  Oxnard and upward!

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

penult's picture

rock me amedeo


DJRoss926's picture

All the Buckeye leaves to you.

osubuckeye4life's picture

+1 Nice!
I posted this last night on the open thread after Amadeo hit his first shot of the night. Hopefully, we see it several more times in the next few years. :)

Clmm297's picture

Great win...just what the doctor ordered!  I'd like to see Deshaun get a little more efficient at the offensive end.  He's by far our best option on offense, but he needs too many attempts to get his points.  If he would drive to the basket or post up more, I think he would still get 20 a game but it would be on 10-12 field goal attempts per game.  I think this could be a huge benefit for him and allow the offense to have a better flow.  

Maestro's picture

Much needed beat down !! 
Viva double exclamations

vacuuming sucks

ILbuckeyes's picture

Very excited about the win, it was much needed.  But something about the game didnt impress me too much.  Still didnt get much out of our big men and we cant expect Scott to be scoring 10+ points a game in the future.  The game was a good win for our morale but im still scared for Sunday

tennbuckeye19's picture

Wasn't pretty in the least, but I will take a good beat down all day long. It was a must win, and the Buckeyes got the W. Now, how bout Matta and the boys find a way to take down Izzo and Sparty this weekend!

oregonianbuckeye's picture

A couple of thoughts.
1) To win, tOSU needs to create turnovers and score in transition. They did a nice job of this tonight.
2) Shannon Scott looked great. Played really solid defense and pushed the ball well. Still think he needs a lot of minutes on this team.
3) What was the deal with the refs? Did they really call so many fouls that one of them broke his whistle? 
4) Amir led the team in rebounding with 6. Most of them were in garbage time, but still. Really hope that he can turn it around. 
5) Hope they can build of this momentum moving forward.

Jhesse17's picture

I don't understand why people love Della Valle so much. The kid is terrible and will probably never be anything more than a mediocre bench player. Do people like him because he's a white guy with an afro? I just don't get it.

GABuckeye's picture

It might have something to do with the fact that he's the only guard on the team that looks competent shooting an outside shot.  I don't understand how ignorant fans write off a kid who is a freshman.  He may never get meaningful minutes, but to write him off is just plain dumb.

tampa buckeye's picture

That was a pretty shitty comment. He is white deal with it.

Jhesse17's picture

I wasn't saying that its bad he's white I'm just saying that he has an unusual haircut for someone of his ethnicity and I thought that might be why he's a fan favorite.

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

Absolutely not.  ADV is from northern Italy.

Read my entire screen name....

moopdawg's picture

yup.  If he were black with an afro, I'd still like him.
It was nice to see Scott shoot with confidence.  I hope this carries over for the rest of the season.  At least for this year, Craft is who he is  -- a tough defender, but not a natural scorer.  Asking Craft to put up 12 to 15 points a night is probably asking too much of him, so I'll take the defense he gives and ask that he just take good care of the ball.  But somebody other than Thomas needs to consistently knock down a 15 to 18 foot jump shot -- Amadeo, Lenzelle, Ross, anybody.

Jugdish's picture

ADV has a very nice shot for the three which this team needs in the worst way. He does need to put on more muscle to play at this level which I believe he will. He seems to have a great deal of knowledge about the game, but he does get out of position. ADV plays with a lot more emotion than some others on the team which is the spark that can ignite this team down the road (hopefully during the tourney). I like for him to get the good minutes that he is getting. It seems as though you are trying to make this some kind of racial issue which it isn't. We just need the outside shooter now and there is no one else to really fill that role.

Remember to get your wolverine spayed or neutered. TBDBITL

Jhesse17's picture

Sure he's an adequate 3 point shooter, but he only shoots 38% from deep. It's not like the kid is the second coming of Deibler.

Jugdish's picture

I don't really recall Diebler being that much of a threat as a freshman. Most everyone expected it of him which I thought put too much pressure on him. Diebler was much better on defense than ADV, but I think we will see a pretty decent player of him during his junior and senior years.

Remember to get your wolverine spayed or neutered. TBDBITL

Jhesse17's picture

I'm not expecting much but I'd love to be pleasantly surprised.

Jugdish's picture

Diebler shot 28.9% of his 3s during his freshman year. By the time he was a senior, he was shooting 50%. Lets hope ADV shows the same improvement.

Remember to get your wolverine spayed or neutered. TBDBITL

Seth4Bucks's picture

Um what?
Diebler shot 28.9% as a freshman. And it wasn't like that stat was an aberration based on a small sample size .. .  he put up 166 treys in his first season.

Seth4Bucks's picture

Jinx! Beat you by a minute, you owe me a coke!
Great minds think alike and fools seldom differ.

Jugdish's picture

I hope an upvote will do. :)

Remember to get your wolverine spayed or neutered. TBDBITL

gobucks5413's picture

what is the sample size of that 38%? Even if it isn't large, I'll take 4 out of 10

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

I like ADV because of the intangible energy he brings, especially at home.  You talk about getting the crowd into the game.  He gets the back at half court and the crowd is yelling "shoot it!"  This is why I think ADV played early in the first half last night - he brings energy and gets the crowd in the game.

Read my entire screen name....

moopdawg's picture

I like Amadeo because he's not afraid to knock down an open jump shot.  Sounds pretty fundamental for a guard in college basketball, right?  And that is where I get most frustrated when I watch this current Buckeye team.  It pains me to see our guards pass up shots that they should be able to consistently knock down (which only pisses me off more every time I see Burke and Jimmy Jackson's boy knocking them down for TSUN and Wisky, respectively). 
When either Scott or Craft hit 3 or 4 open jumpers, it's like A BIG DEAL.  But it shouldn't be -- it ought to be expected when you are playing D1 college ball and you were highly recruited out of high school.  Scott and Craft do lots of good for the team, but I'm praying for one of our guards to prove to be an outside shooter that we can count on every game.  Keep knockin'em down, Amadeo!!!!  If so, the spacing will be better, and D. Thomas and friends will thank you.

WiliestBuckeye's picture

Hopefully this win is a big confidence booster for our team. Huge game against Michigan St. coming up this weekend.

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

sir rickithda3rd's picture

this team is a defensive team. if they show up on the defensive side of the ball they can beat anyone. however, if they are required to out score an opposition they will lose far more battles than they win. great win and much needed

mark may wins douchebag of the year... again

tampa buckeye's picture

Haha the same people like Obama because he is Black ? or maybe because he can shoot.

kr66osu's picture

also congrats to Alex Rogers for getting a beautiful 2 trillion

BuckeyeQ6's picture

Fortunately, all the teams we play in the Tourney will be coming off wins! (after the 1st round anyway)

gwalther's picture

Horrible grammar by Ray Lewis.

Class of 2008

zbd's picture

I'd feel good about this win if it was November or December but not end of February. OSU needs a lot of improvements. Can't go far with one scorer.

gobucks5413's picture

A blow out is great...1st half wasn't great, we really needed a laugher after the last 4 games. I like to be the optimist when it comes to this team, but last night shows how we will do in the NCAA tourney in my opinion. We will advance to the sweet 16 because we will beat the teams that we are athletically better than. However, we just aren't good enough right now to beat someone who matches up with us athlete per athlete. If we get a 4/5 seed, I don't think there is much of a chance as things stand now that we get around the 1 seed in the sweet 16 regardless of who it is.
I think Sunday is huge. I think its as must win as a regular season bball game goes. We need a win to hang our hats on going into March, and this would certainly fit the bill. Go Bucks

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

The key was defense.  If this team can hold an opponent to 45 points, I don't care how bad the shooting is, how many people outside of DT can score, rebounding margin, etc - they'll win.  Is 45 a realistic number for every game?  Obviously not.  But if they keep games in the 50s, they'll have a chance regardless of who they're playing.  When they start giving up 71, 76, 81 - that's when they run into trouble. 

Class of 2010.

RBuck's picture

What I got out of this game game is that Scott and Craft should be on the floor together a lot more. Nice to see Shannon get his shooting touch.

Long live the southend.

moopdawg's picture

yeah, it eases the load for Craft.  But the key is for at least one of those 2 consistently take and make a midrange jump shot.  Last night was a good night for Scott.  I thought by this time this season, a consistent shooter would have emerged.  But every time we have a big game (like the one coming up this Sunday), this is mainly my concern.  We all know what D. Thomas is going to do on offense, and we all know what Craft brings in terms of hustle and defense.  But who the hell else is going to score?  Will Lenzelle hit a few 3s?  Will Amir be able to catch the ball and dunk in under 5 seconds (sarcasm. meaning -- before the entire defense can hack the hell out of him and force him to make 2 at the line)?  Will Ross play a solid game?
So many variables.  And that's what drives me nuts about this year's squad.  It can possibly all come together, but time is running out and the good teams will serve us like Wisky did if we don't get our stuff together.

osubuckeye4life's picture

I'm a fan of Rock Me Amadeo aka ADV because he is what the team desperately needs!