Buckeyes Escape Kohl Center with 59-58 Thriller

By Kyle Rowland on February 1, 2014 at 2:02p

On Thursday, there was a players-only meeting. On Saturday afternoon, there was a lineup change. Two hours later, there was Ohio State perhaps righting a season in steep decline, upending Wisconsin 59-58 in another down-to-the-wire thriller.

Entering the game having lost five of six, the 24th-ranked Buckeyes inserted forward Sam Thompson into the starting lineup in favor of the two-point guard system, choosing to sit Shannon Scott. It created a more energetic team and resulted in a victory as Ohio State’s NCAA Tournament hopes bubbled up.

LaQuinton Ross paced the Buckeyes with 13 points, Amedeo Della Valle had 11 and Amir Williams (six rebounds, block) and Scott contributed nine points.

Aaron Craft scored all seven of his points during a three-minute span late in the second half to erase what was once a seven-point deficit. Williams made a free throw with 54 seconds left put Ohio State ahead for good. But it wasn’t without dramatics.

First, Traevon Jackson missed a free throw with 17 seconds remaining as the Buckeyes clung to a one-point lead. After a long outlet pass to Scott, he dished to Lenzelle Smith Jr., who was streaking wide open down the lane. But Smith missed an uncontested layup and fell to the court with the ball. A traveling call gave Wisconsin possession with eight seconds left.

The Badgers’ final look was equally as comical. Jackson dribbled near the three-point line, but the only shot attempt was a hurried, off-balance 3 from the top of the key by Sam Dekker.

The final result momentarily slows the bleeding for the Buckeyes. January was a month to forget for Thad Matta. His team began the New Year undefeated and ranked in the top five. It ended with a grisly thud – five losses, a hole in the bottom-half of the Big Ten and questions about the NIT.

For Matta, Saturday’s win – only his second at the Kohl Center – was about relief. He shared a long embrace with assistant Jake Diebler as the clock hit 0:00.

Now, Wisconsin is the team that’s lost five of six games after an undefeated start. Incredibly, the Badgers have dropped three consecutive home games, a first since the 1997-98 season. 

The morning after arguably the program’s worst loss in a decade, Ohio State players held a closed-door meeting. Not only were losses piling up, the fashion in which they occurred was startling to observers, players and coaches alike. Ahead of a grueling two-game road trip – Wisconsin and Iowa – the players took it upon themselves to deliver a message of importance.

“We all feel like we’re one big family,” Smith said. “We know that some of the fans might not be on our side right now, but we’re not going to let that get to us. We know who we’re playing for and why we’re playing this game that we love. When we stick together, we’re going to be all right.”

All right was Saturday. The bench provided 21 of the team’s 29 first-half points and a stingy defense returned, getting stops in the final minutes after Wisconsin held its biggest lead of the game.

The Buckeyes made their first six shots of the second half until going on hiatus. It made only one field goal over the next eight minutes.

Trailing 52-45 with eight minutes left, Ohio State limited the Badger offense to 1-of-8 shooting from the field, including missing all five three-pointers. Wisconsin only made 5-of-12 free throw attempts and had two turnovers.

Considering how it started the game – making all five shots in the game’s first seven minutes – a cooling off period wasn’t expected. The Badgers shot 40 percent from the field for the game and just 17.6 percent from 3. They made their first two 3s, but only converted 1 of their last 15. In Wednesday’s loss to Northwestern, Wisconsin was under 30 percent from the field and long range.

Nigel Hayes, a freshman from Toledo, scored a game-high 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting. But his poor form from the free throw line – 5 of 11 – was a black eye for Wisconsin, who finished 19 of 29 from the charity stripe.

Hayes played for the All-Ohio Red AAU team but wasn’t recruited heavily by the Buckeyes until the end of the process By then, Bo Ryan already had the upper hand.

What was missing from Ohio State during its tailspin? Well, according to Smith, it was toughness, character, camaraderie and leadership. He said the losses didn’t inflict enough pain, there was a lack of emotion. More than anything, though, there were obvious shortcomings on offense and defense.

Opponents were shooting nearly 50 percent against the Buckeyes, and a handful topped the 45-percent threshold, which didn’t happen once during an unbeaten start. 

The Buckeyes, 17-5 overall and 4-5 in the Big Ten, continues the road show on Tuesday at Iowa.


Comments Show All Comments

OSU_undergrad's picture

Wow that was one of the shittiest endings I have seen in terms of officiating and offense by both teams. But we beat Wisconsin at their place and hopefully we can build on this win with something cleaner.

740Bucks's picture

Deal with it Bo!!

"My idea of a good hit is when the guy wakes up on the sidelines with train whistles blowing in his head." - Jack Tatum

Thomas's picture

Hell of an effort boys! This is the turning point! GO BUCKS!

lax20's picture

I am as happy as pig in $hit!!!!

brband64's picture

This is fantastic.

"Maybe the Big Ten is not that bad. Maybe it's pretty damn good.'' ~ Urban Meyer

bbb's picture

edit: deleted double

Crumb's picture

Heck of way to start off a new month! Screw you January!!! GO BUCKS!

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

stevebelliseeya's picture

"We are eternal. All this pain is an illusion." - Tool

JozyMozy's picture

or maybe not, but who cares? GREAT day. Go Bucks.

JOhio1560's picture

Suck it Wisconsin!  This is the basketball we need to play for the rest of the season.

I'm not finished!  Before we let you leave, your commander must cross that field, present himself before this army, put his head between his legs, and kiss his own arse.

gm3jones's picture

Still very sloppy but they showed heart and fight- all I ask for. And a win of course :-) Started really hot and cooled down in second, but so did wisky even worse than we did. I am happy they figured out what they do best (defense) and grinded out the win. A good sign mioving forward IMO. Very good win, I will take it against a quality and upset wisky team.

There is nothing more remarkable as learning to think better.

Buckeye Chuck's picture

We were going to have to pull off at least one big upset to get back into NCAA conversation, and this certainly qualifies. Great second half defense, and it's always fun to beat these guys in Madison. 

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

LOL, we win.  Suck it Wisconsin.

Class of 2010.

patriot-missile's picture

Good job Buckeye ballers!  Amazing that we were able to pull out a W with such horrible officiating totally favoring the Badgers.  I have never seen such poor officiating in a college basketball game.  Anyway, Kudos to Craft...didn't play well most of the game but came up big towards the end.  Go Bucks!  Let this start a new run!

Kellen Winslow - Where can I get a sweater vest like yours?
Jim Tressel - Hit the weight room and you can borrow one of mine.

BME_Buckeye's picture

Omg we won in Madison. Hell yeah bucks. 

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


skid21's picture

Love the win but you do realize Northwestern just won there as well. I'm not sure it says much about the Bucks. Says a lot more about Wisconsin.

hit_the_couch's picture

Love the win but you do realize Northwestern just won there as well. I'm not sure it says much about the Bucks. Says a lot more about Wisconsin.

This is like the 2nd time tOSU has won there in like 11 years; it doesn't matter how good or bad tOSU is, they still have trouble at the Kohl.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

skid21's picture

Yes they do have trouble at the Kohl but they have had trouble at the Schott as well this year.

jbirmmd's picture

Every team in the big ten is decent, no gimmees.

BME_Buckeye's picture

You must know about Bo and him owning teams in the Khol. Heck, Michigan hadn't won there in their last 11 games. A win there no matter what is huge.

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


skid21's picture

Michigan won there this year, as did NW. A win there is huge because we needed a win. We just lost at home against PSU. Again, this says Wisky sucks, doesn't say much about us.

skid21's picture

The line between negative and realistic is slim. I love the win but Wisky isn't what Wisky normally is at home. Sorry if that hurts some feelings.

jbirmmd's picture

Michigan is undefeated in conference and NW is in 4th place, not exactly chopped liver.

skid21's picture

LMAO at all those who downvote those who realize the truth.  Hahahahahaha

Deadly Nuts's picture

I usually DV stupidity....


+1 HS
skid21's picture

Pointing out the fact OSU just beat Wisky at home after NW did the same thing is stupidity. HAHAHAHAHA.

Deadly Nuts's picture

Northwestern is in fourth place, smartass.


skid21's picture

Smartass? Do you really want to argue that NW is a good team? They will make the tourney? My point is that NW and TTUN have both won at Wisky this year. It is a road win, not all that big of a road win considering. You want to argue something different? Get back to me at the end of the season.

My2Sons's picture

Your point is you are an ass, and these guys are not mature enough to ignore you.  Or at least not smart enough to not feed your fragile ego.  Oh, NW is becoming a good team.

skid21's picture

Northwestern will not make the tourney smartass.

ghalephoto's picture

N'Western very well may make the torun.  Way to early to say they are out.  They are playing very well.  Winning in Wisc is always a tough win regardless of how they are playing.

hit_the_couch's picture

That's pretty dope since tOSU doesn't win at the Kohl often.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

Seattle Linga's picture

Great win in a tough environment - Go Buckeyes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Man this season just keeps getting weirder. Never would've thought at the beginning of this week that we'd lose to PSU at home and win at Wisconsin.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

Bucks's picture

Agreed. Odd one.

TheSpiteHouse's picture

+3...weird time in an odd season.

CALPOPPY's picture

We won in the Kohl Center? This calls for a celebration!

I'm a hurtin' buckaroo.

ScarletGray43157's picture

Wisconsin is down, but we needed a win of any kind especially after the Penn State choke job.  Is it an upset?  Yes, mainly because it was on the road, but Michigan and Northwestern have both beaten the Badgers in their previous two home games, so the Kohl Center is no longer a trap like it once was.  Will it get OSU into The Dance?  We will have to win at least 20 in the regular season and go deep in the B1G tournament to get an invite.  IMHO.

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

skid21's picture

Exactly. Any other season and I'd say this is a statement game. This season not so much. They have lost 3 straight at home, the last against a pitiful NW team.

ScarletGray43157's picture

Improved play will be a must to get it done this year.  Matta's teams have consistently gotten better from start to finish, year-in and year-out, so the pattern for that is already in place historically.  
Am I hopeful?  You bet; I always lead with my heart when it comes to Ohio State.  Will it happen?  It is certainly possible.
One thing is for sure.  If OSU can work their way into The Dance they will be a confident team at the right time of the year, and will by necessity be playing their best ball of the year going into the tournament, because that is what it will take to get it done.  

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

740's picture

fuck the buzz cuts.

Killer nuts's picture

Great win! Nice seeing the guys make winning plays and nice job by Amir to hit just enough free throws down the stretch

Brutus's picture

I made a vow after the PSU game not to watch or record another bball game this year.  Not because I have given up on the team but because I needed to do something different to help us get back on track. Glad to help but this comes at a sacrifice given I have no other sports outlets right now. Sucks to miss a game like this but maybe it will re-air on BTN.

Idaho Helga's picture

Well!!  Brutus, you can't watch any more games now.   Set your DVR.  
Glad we found out what the real problem was.  Et tu, Brutus?

FLAMikey's picture

Looked for sure like Lenzelle was going to extend the goatfuckery, but alas, it was not to be.

OSU069's picture

Great defense down the stretch. Our offense is still mediocre but if we can keep playing games like this where we make it ugly we will have a chance to win against almost anyone.

Tim's picture

Great defense at the end, but thankfully Wisconsin was worse than us...  I don't feel like we played that much better than we have in recent losses, but we got it done.  This is a huge win; I didn't think we could pull it off.

jbirmmd's picture

Despite this teams numerous faults, which have been well documented on this site, just think how close this team still is to a very special season.

One missed layup against MSU, blowing big leads at home against Iowa and Penn St, and an inexplicable turn around loss to Nebraska. This team could easily be right there for the conference championship.

Success and failure are often a razor's edge apart.

Buckeyebrowny919's picture

What a shitty shitty officiated game. That final minute foul on Scott was a joke on Jackson driving the lane. Oh well. A win is a win so let's ride it instead of worrying about our completely ineptitude on offense.

To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift - Steve Prefontaine

simpson203's picture

Not to mention Sam's 5th foul.  Hayes drops his shoulder and runs through him and they call Sam for God knows what.  Definitely a Bo Ryan call there.

Knarcisi's picture

Much needed win.  Even sweeter against those assholes on their own floor. 

chowoon97's picture

A great win. Get better!

Hovenaut's picture

Desperately needed a win.
Got the win. 
Well done gents, keep pushing forward.

Northbrook's picture

Who is the nasty bastard who downvoted a muppet? 

CALPOPPY's picture

Same one that doesn't like Fancy Pants?

I'm a hurtin' buckaroo.

Killer nuts's picture

There appears to be a couple down vote trolls in this forum that don't enjoy a good Buckeye win. Some people just want to watch the world burn

ScarletGray43157's picture

Agreed on the DV trolls.  I would love to see the ratings system modified so the ID of both the UV and DV can be seen easily.  Also, for common courtesy, a DV should be followed up with a comment to explain why.  Just MHO, obviously not shared by the Trolls.

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

thunderhawks51's picture

A round of upvotes for the support

Doc's picture

Wow. Of all the games to miss AND not DVR. WAY TO GO BOYS YOU DESERVE IT!  I guess I won't DVR another game all season #superstitousbuckeyefan. 

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

Brutus's picture

See my post above. I made a decision after the last game to not watch or record anymore games, hoping that would change the team's mojo somehow.  It obviously worked.  So I guess this means I'll never get to watch another game. Acceptable if it means they keep winning.

Idaho Helga's picture

See my post to Brutus above: Doc, you are blacklisted too!
It's only weird if it doesn't work.
My Mother hasn't seen an OSU-TTUN football game since the Cooper years.  I'm serious.

nm_buck's picture

God bless her... it worked

"The future is bright at Ohio State."  - Urban Meyer 1/1/15

Idaho Helga's picture

She is 85 and is still convinced she can't watch a game lest she hex them.  God bless her!

Knarcisi's picture

Thank goodness for the DVR for grandma. And not having to put her through the agony of the Sparty or Clemson game. That's one lucky Buckeye. 

Brutus's picture

Hey Doc, if you're interested, BTN is re-airing the game Sunday at 6:30 pm ET. Being the superstitious type myself, I figure it would be safe to DVR this game since it already happened and you know the outcome.  Of course, you could just watch it live and DVR the Super Bowl instead.

SnooksBBQ's picture

Probably the worst officiated game I have ever seen....fortuate to win. Big Ten needs to re-avaluate their officials. 

irishfury's picture

I will take any win we can get right now even if its against little sisters of the poor.

The Braden's picture

See what happens when you try? More of this, boys.

OSUFlash's picture

Great great win! Craft haters will need to wait til next game to continue trashing this young man. His defense at the end took bowling ball size balls with the refs calling every cough and sneeze out there. Travion Jackson was stoned cold and Aaron almost came up with the steal.
Not much scoring from Thompson and now Smith can't dunk or do a layup.


O-H-I-Owe-U's picture

Great team effort. Way to bring the intensity Trey and ADV. 

allbucksallthetime's picture

A surprising but most welcome victory today in the Kohl Center.  Whether the Badgers have been struggling or not, any time you go to their place and beat a Bo Ryan coached team it is a good win.  I hope this can be a springboard forward.  Go Bucks!

New alum's picture

Fantastic win. Even if Wisconsin is struggling, the Kohl Center is a tough place come out of with a win. Plus, the Bucks endured some awful calls down the stretch. Still a lot of work to be done to make tourney, but reports of team's death were premature.

Proud Michigander, OSU grad. Life is complicated.

Go1Bucks's picture

The issues Scott described are exactly what I've been saying since the first loss.  It WAS visible.  Glad they recognized it.  Now they need to go to work on their offensive shooting woes.  Guys need to get into the gym for EXTENDED periods, on their own if necessary, until they can get their cajones back, attack the basket and shoot from the perimeter - and don't forget free throws.
Glad we won, lets make it the last for a while.
Go Bucks!

Go Bucks!

ghalephoto's picture

Great to see Craft step up take a shot, nail it at the end.  Seemed like that helped everyone realize they could finish this game.  However L Smith is proving his concentration level is all over the place.  That last lay up should have been easier than he made it look.  Wow!!  Great win in Wisc, anytime you can get it.

ScarletGray43157's picture

Yeah, he should have just did a nice soft flush with that ball.  No need for a Tomahwak Jam, just flush it soft for 2 points.  
That miss sort of epitomizes the stretch of losses.

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

gwalther's picture

Splitting Trey McDonald and Amir's time 50/50 was key. Going small for a stretch and mixing up the smaller guys with either Trey or Amir on the floor was also key. I continue to hope Trey gets more minutes. His intensity, attitude, and hands are all better than Amir's, from what I've seen. Amir did a great job hitting key foul shots down the stretch though, something that isn't in McDonald's skill set.

Class of 2008

ScarletNGrey01's picture

PLAY OF THE GAME ... the pass from Scott between the legs of his defender to Trey for the layup.  That was a "you cannot be serious!!" moment, I was going crazy on that one, my wife was out of the house and the dog and cat were just looking at me with a "what is he going on about?" look on their faces.

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

bucksfan92's picture

This team is a shell of its former self, and I really don't see anything showing they have turned a corner.  To be sitting at 5 losses at the midway point of the B1G season is absolutely unacceptable.  They need a vast improvement from what I saw yesterday to be able to win at Iowa, and at this point every game is a must win.  

osubuckeye4life's picture

This was quite a win. It is next to impossible to win in the Kohl Center and they somehow pulled out that win yesterday. Let's see what happens on Tuesday though.