A Garden Miracle: Bucks Rally Late, Stun Notre Dame

By Kyle Rowland on December 21, 2013 at 9:42p
91 Comments
DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES?

Call it a Christmas Miracle.

Ohio State trailed by eight points with 51 seconds remaining. The third-ranked Buckeyes were assured their first loss. Head coach Thad Matta spent the second half purple-faced screaming at his team after several defensive breakdowns and an offensive display that left him dismayed.

But unforeseen outcomes are part of Madison Square Garden’s luster. And what Ohio State – and Notre Dame – did Saturday night will add to the lore of the world's most famous arena.

The Buckeyes made fewer than 10 field goals in the second half until they found that magic elixir that eluded them. Just as fans started exiting for Times Square, the Fighting Irish turned the ball over three times and Ohio State ended the game on a 14-3 run, reversing an eight-point deficit to win 64-61.

Lenzelle Smith Jr., the Buckeyes’ leading scorer through 11 games, was held to zero points before erupting for nine in the final minute, including the go-ahead basket with 16 seconds left.

Trailing 58-50, Ohio State scored six straight points, using a suffocating full-court press that overwhelmed the Notre Dame. Those six points came in a blitzkrieg – less than six seconds. The Irish reestablished a two-possession lead with two free throws before Smith was fouled shooting a 3 and made each free throw to bring the Buckeyes within one with 33 seconds remaining.

The good fortune would continue for Ohio State after freshman Steve Vasturia, attempting his first career free throw, missed badly on the front end of a one-and-one. Aaron Craft drove the length of the field and dished off to Smith who made a layup to put the Buckeyes in front by one with 17 seconds left. It would grow to three after Notre Dame turned the ball over and Smith made two free throws.

With a three-point lead, Ohio State opted to foul the Irish. It made one free throw leading to Craft being at the line. He made both attempts, and Notre Dame missed a possible tying three-pointer at the buzzer.

LaQuinton Ross finished with 16 point sand 11 rebounds, Amir Williams had 13 points and Shannon Scott and Craft added 10 points apiece.

The Buckeyes shot a robust 50 percent from the field in the first half. Despite their improbable comeback, they only made 10 of 29 shots in the second half, including zero 3s. Ohio State went more than nine minutes without a field goal midway through the second half.

A 33-26 halftime lead quickly evaporated when the Irish scored nine of the first 11 points after the break. Until the final seconds, the Buckeyes’ last lead was at 11:06 of the second half.

[Graphic via @AwfulAnnouncing]

91 Comments

Comments

TheShookster's picture

You win....and now...OXYGEN. I NEED OXYGEN. WOOOOOOO!!!
Jesus might have been cheering for Notre Dame, but Declan Sullivan was cheering for the Buckeyes. 

45has2's picture

What a game! Don't call it a comeback, Mama Said Knock You Out.

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

Indy_Buck87's picture

Awesome comeback! Smith was big done the stretch.  Craft for president! 

I know of only two things that are infinite, space and human stupidity.....and I'm not sure about space". Albert Einstein.

ATXbucknut's picture

Not just down by 8 with 1:57 to play. We were down by 8 with 50 seconds left. Wow! What poise down the stretch.

dan_isaacs's picture

Yeah, 6 points in 18 seconds of game clock.  Then I had to take my dog out.  Then we were up by 3.  Not sure what happened during those 30 seconds, but I like it. :)

Dan Isaacs

BuckToAsT's picture

Can you please take your dog for more walks during all OSU sporting events? (Well, at least the televised ones.)

Buckeye in Illini country's picture

Columbus to Pasadena: 35 hours.  We're on a road trip through the desert looking for strippers and cocaine... and Rose Bowl wins!

bucknut3011's picture

The whole team... Ice cold nerves.  Frickin' awesome!

USMC11917's picture

Stopped watching and left the bar at 1:57. My fault totally.

Buckeye in Illini country's picture

Big reason why I don't understand leaving an arena/ stadium early.  You never know what will happen until the final buzzer sounds.

Columbus to Pasadena: 35 hours.  We're on a road trip through the desert looking for strippers and cocaine... and Rose Bowl wins!

bucksfan92's picture

I know what you mean.  I am a basketball season ticket holder and I am always amazed at the people who leave at the under 4 time out, some even at the under 8.  WTF?  Why would you not want to see every minute of action that you can.  There are only so many opportunities to see these teams, and if you leave early, even n a blowout, you might miss a special run by a lesser known player and he deserves a full house as much as the other guys do.

ScarletGray43157's picture

"Big reason why I don't understand leaving an arena/ stadium early.  You never know what will happen until the final buzzer sounds."
Agreed. I always stay until the end just to show support for my team.  I have taught my children this as well.  Sometimes you get a comeback win, sometimes you don't.  In any case, you should always stay until the end, just like your teams.  

In old Ohio there's a team that's known throughout the land...

Deadly Nuts's picture

I admit... I left the 2007 Illinois football game with 10 seconds left. 

LEBRON

Buckeye in Illini country's picture

Got to sing Carmen, win or lose.

Columbus to Pasadena: 35 hours.  We're on a road trip through the desert looking for strippers and cocaine... and Rose Bowl wins!

airbuckeye's picture

I have never left a game even when we are up by huge numbers no matter who we play. I stay till about 10 or 15 minutes after them games when i get a chance to go. Hate to admit this but i have not been to an OSU basket ball game since the mid 70's. It was fight just going to the football game with my Fing X.
I still blame her for screwing me out a major investment that was offered to me back in the 70's. The man who started Odd Lots worked with me at the refuse department over on Alum creek at the time.
He had a corner store over in Corvier Auto Store warehouse and offered to let me buy in for half at the cost of $1700 bucks. But the Bitch did nothing but whine about how we could use the money somewhere else. To this day i get sick to my stomach every time i walk into one of those store.
At least i have a little pleasure knowing that had i baught into it she would have gotten half of it from me when she filed for the divorce. So knowing that what she could have taken from me was not there to take is a little bit of comfort. Still pisses me off though knowing what i could have had.

BeijingBucks's picture

Good to see that there therapy thang is working for ya... I expect you to pop up in breaking bad: next generation 

 

 

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

Boxley's picture

Wow, can't imagine why she left.............
Kind of not the place for that commentary, but if venting helps............

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

Bamabucknut's picture

WOW..........................................................................................WOW !!!!!!

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Hopefully this will boost the teams confidence and because of the gutsy win Matta will only make them shoot 400 jumpers and make 400 layups in practice instead of 500 each.  Wow.  To hang that mentally tough when things looked so dark is really impressive.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

xrox's picture

I watched that, and I still don't fully understand what happened.

Teddy_2Step_Ginn's picture

Never doubt those rosy cheeks.

tennbuckeye19's picture

Well I said about 5 times in the 2nd half that they were gonna lose this darn game and to that crappy Irish team nonetheless. But no, they proved me wrong.
And after being pretty much absent the entire game, my guy Lenzelle comes through in the end with some outstanding free throw shooting down the stretch. 
Great comeback after playing a lackluster 2nd half. 

chicago12's picture

Wow...I got mad and turned off the TV when we were down by 8 points. Dam.....terrible mistake and missed the exciting last two minutes.

BuckToAsT's picture

I understand the feeling.  But, if we cheer our Buckeyes during their best, then we should cheer the during their worst. Obviously, those two last minutes were not their worst, but you get my point.
Let's not be that fan base that only sticks around for the W's.  

SavannahBuck's picture

I thought about changing the channel, but I just couldnt bring myself to do it...same feeling i had during B1G Championship Game

Tim's picture

Ridiculous win, and love the clutch free throw shooting at the end.  Missing free throws has driven me crazy the last few years, so it's great to see them step up and make them when it counts.

Killer nuts's picture

Definietely can't overstate hitting 9/9 free throws in the last 2 minutes

RedStorm45's picture

Craft missed his last one.

ScarletNGrey01's picture

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

Killer nuts's picture

For a good laugh go back and read the comments during the second half of the open thread...crazy change in emotion

BuckeyeChief's picture

Simply amazing! The officiating was horrible the last 12 minutes or so.

 

"Damn I miss El Guapo"

chowoon97's picture

Fantastic game. Down by 8 with a minute left and pulled out a win. Incredible.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

I was fully prepared to accept the first loss of the season.  Not today!

Class of 2010.

bucksfan92's picture

Glad we pulled out the W but it realy shouldn't have come down to this.  The second hald looked a lot like the game vs Wichita in the E8 round last year.  We just looked completed befuddled by a team that was trying to slow the game down to a snail's pace.  So what do we do?  Slow down too.  Then miss a shot, then have a turn over, then give up an easy bucket on the other end.  Finally snap out of it and play OSU basketball - hair on fire and fast, and things turn around.  We just need to play with urgency and fire from the get-go and not let up.

Deadly Nuts's picture

Hey Notre Dame

LEBRON

Buckeye in Illini country's picture


Perhaps a little more fitting.  Different opponent. Same result.

Columbus to Pasadena: 35 hours.  We're on a road trip through the desert looking for strippers and cocaine... and Rose Bowl wins!

BME_Buckeye's picture

I wish I had tickets to that game, but they were hard to find. I would be in this photo with the other 7 guys behind Bo Ryan I know. 

Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.

 

buckguyfan1's picture

She wasn't real pretty, but she was fun and will have to do for tonight.  Craft is one of a kind. 

Whoa Nellie's picture

HA, HA, HA!  MERRY FREAKING CHRISTMAS BUCKS FANS!
I'm hanging tinsel; not crepe.

“Don’t fear criticism. The stands are full of critics. They play no ball. They fight no fights. They make no mistakes because they attempt nothing. Down on the field are the doers, they make mistakes because they attempt many things.”

KBonay's picture

You're welcome. I came back from dinner with Buckeyes in lead. Turned on TV (was watching on my phone) and saw ND take and hold lead. So I turned it off because I knew I was the jinx. BOOM! Buckeyes come back and win. Theory proved. 

osu07asu10's picture

Always awesome to win a tough game and somewhat steal one at the end. Fantastic when it happens against those jokers.

"They don't know what they don't know." - Coach Mick

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

They didn't have the game on TV up here in the Great White North so I was watching it via ESPN online... I'm cuss up a storm and my wife was looking at me wondering why I was screaming at the college football game that was on the TV...  like everybody else on this threat - I'm still not sure how we pulled that one off!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

WOLFofOHIO's picture

     Fire fickell.... but that game was clutch.

there is no greater joy than watching Michigan get slammed. in anything

Cavluv23's picture

OH NOOOO I SEE WHAT YOU DID THEREEEEEEEEEEE !!! 

World travel is my passion spreading the word and grace of Ohio in every corner of the world . 

Urban Nation Army's picture

If it was Louisville the headline would say they rolled

Bet you can't say "Bert Bielma is a bumbling buffoon" five times fast.

bodast67's picture

Holy Shamrock !

 

 

 

     " I hope when I die, I die laughing"...                

Deadly Nuts's picture

Notre Dame made a lot of lucky shots in that game. Perhaps the luckiest one was when they took the game and nailed it into a trashcan from downtown.

LEBRON

JLBNYC's picture

made my subway ride home from the game much more enjoyable! Maybe they should press more often!
 

ITWASME's picture

I was there and I went absolutely insane!!! The 2 Notre Dame fans next to me went from"haha buckeyes suck" to silence instantly it was beautiful

thatlillefty's picture

Heard a lot of O - H - I - O 's going around. How split was the crowd?
Amazing game. Love this squad. We just gotta get better against the zone.

JLBNYC's picture

Lots of scarlet - ton of OSU fans. But once ND took the lead late, the ND fans got vocal and there were more of them than i had thought.  If i had to guess, i'd say 60/40 OSU (possibly 70/30).

wyatt's picture

Game changed completely when the Notre Dame guard fouled out with them leading by 8.  Proves you always need a QB even on the bb court.  Great job never giving up.

Bucks43201's picture

Crafty

"You win with people." - Woody Hayes

SC Buckeye's picture

I wasn't able to tune in until 50 seconds left.  I guess that's all that I needed to watch.

ATXbucknut's picture

De ja vu.  Anyone remember the last time OSU came to MSG to play St. Johns in 2000? We were down by 10 with under 2 minutes to go and somehow pulled off the miracle.  Here is the very end of that game...

Geraffi's picture

I was at that St. John's game.  Incredible.  I immediately thought of this game when the Buckeyes came back tonight.  Gotta love that MSG magic!

MichaelJ721984's picture

My stepdad to this day still brings that game up no matter what team he's cheering for is losing lol He'll be hammered drunk watching a game and yell "REMEMBER ST JOHNS DAMNIT!!!" 13 years later hahaha  
 
Once we cut the lead to 4, this is the first thing I thought of lol  GO BUCKS!

alust2013's picture

I didn't see it, but it sounds like we didn't use the hack-and-hope-they-miss strategy, but won with real, actual basketball. Just makes me like Matta more.

...and _ichigan still sucks.

tressel12's picture

Well we did foul the frosh Vasturia with about 30 seconds left or so but he hadn't attempted a free throw all season......well thought out after the made free throw what a great win!
Also saw that 11-1 record at the end of the game under the BUCKEYE name not today boys! 12-0!

Because I couldn't go for three. -- Woody Hayes

KLF Buckeye's picture

Anybody else notice Craft sprint to catch and shake hands with ND coach Mike Brey before he could escape to the locker room? Part of me says class act. The other part says that's awesome in an, "I just stole your lunch and I want you to know just how good it tasted," kind of way. 

BuckToAsT's picture

My thoughts exactly. Whoever is in Brey's nightmares tonight will have warm, rosy checks!

Crumb's picture

The only way that ending could have been any better is if it had been against _ichigan in the National Title game. Craft is a beast, one of those guys who is all heart and soul. Buckeyes forever!!! O-H!!!

"The only good thing about it is winning the d*** thing" - Urban Meyer on The Game The War

allbucksallthetime's picture

That's very well said CRUMB!  A scUM or ND team having their heart broken is always my second favorite thing to witness in sport, with number 1 being a Buckeye victory.  For me, any head to head win by the Buckeyes over either is like watching OSU win twice!
We had better cherish every game we have Aaron Craft in uniform at OSU.  Go Bucks!

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

YEP!!! There is only one team that comes close to scUM in my hate meter then the domers... it is hard for me to pick which fan base is more obnoxious and I greatly enjoy watching them get their hearts ripped out!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Osu2105's picture

I was at dinner following the game on my phone sensing the game slipping away (even on the espn game cast haha). Finally got home when it was 58-50 thinking the game was over! Total meltdown by the Irish but we were able to make it count by making our free throws. The last minute of this game showed how important it is having seniors like Craft and Lenzelle Smith who have been there before while Notre Dame has a guy attempting his first career free throw in crunch time. One of the big advantages of not having a bunch of one and dones

DeuceOSU78's picture

Did anyone notice that ESPiN had our record as 11-1 when they showed the final score?  Hilarious!  They had already marked it up as a loss for the Buckeyes and forgot to change it.

DeuceOSU78

Oakland Buckeye's picture

Love Dan Dakich on Craft at end of game - "1st team All American - 1st guy Id take in the country... should be on Naismith list..."

Persian Eagle's picture

Anybody watching on TV see the guy in the crowd who was wearing the cap that just had "the" on it. Pretty sweet hat. Both my dad and I started laughing.
Anyone know where I can get it?
 
Oh Yeah. Great Game. Ohio State should really consider retiring Crafts number or at least do what North Carolina does in their arena.

"There's nothing in the desert and No man needs nothing."
 

NapervilleBuck's picture

I have searched the internet high and low, no luck yet.  If anyone finds, please post.  I am wondering if a custum job.

Mush's picture

I got one for Christmas last year. I emailed my step dad to see if he remembers where he purchased. I will PM you and Persian !!

13THandSummit's picture

Anyone record the game and can post a pic? I missed this.

RedStorm45's picture

Trailing 58-50, Ohio State scored six straight points, using a suffocating full-court press that overwhelmed the Notre Dame.

Is that like tOSU?
 

Aaron Craft drove the length of the field and dished off to Smith who made a layup to put the Buckeyes in front by one with 17 seconds left.

Field...court...ice...
 

With a three-point lead, Ohio State opted to foul the Irish. It made one free throw leading to Craft being at the line. He made both attempts, and Notre Dame missed a possible tying three-pointer at the buzzer.

Craft looked like he didn't "opt" to foul given his reaction.  He also only made one of two.

Deadly Nuts's picture

That foul on Craft where he tackled the ball handler one of two things happened...
1. Ross forgot to call the screen (derp)
2. Craft was awkwardly humped.

LEBRON

13THandSummit's picture

I yelled at the ND players in the second half for going down too easy, so I have to say that Craft made a meal of it as well in that one case. Live I thought for sure it was an offensive foul though.

RBuck's picture

Is Madison Square Garden on 34th Street by any chance?  #miracle

"It's just another case of there you are". ~ Doc (1918-2012)

misterpants's picture

33rd. Close enough.

buckeyedude's picture

Miracle on 33rd Street.
Love it!

 

 

BoFuquel's picture

Two Whores taken down at the last second in three weeks. It is indeed a miraculous time to be a Buckeye. GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

Poison nuts's picture

Thank goodness they won, it's just way too early for the "Fire Matta" crowd to get started up!

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

toledo_buckeye's picture

Smith Jr. and Craft: cooler than the other side of the pillow

13THandSummit's picture

Honestly, I left my dad's house when Ross couldn't handle that steal and ND got the ball back. Heard that OSU stole the inbounds pass on my way out, but decided to leave to continue the reverse jinx. Luckily, my dad called me while in the car and I came back in to watch the finish. Holy Buckeye.

Boxley's picture

Nice, that you and your dad watched the game together!
Talking points for down the line, Hey, Dad, remember when tOSU came back and scored nine points in 50 seconds to win in NY? You had to call me back in so I didn't miss it!
Nice lifetime memory.
 

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

The Braden's picture

Does anyone know of a video of the last two minutes or so available online?  I have to have that.

osubuckeye4life's picture

Can we get an NCAA Final Four at MSG? That place seems to really like the Buckeyes.