Ohio State and Northwestern Trade Punches in Buckeye Blowout

By Kyle Rowland on February 19, 2014 at 9:12p
38 Comments

COLUMBUS, Ohio – In 1977, the Soviet Union existed, Kobe Bryant wasn’t born and Northwestern won a basketball game in Columbus. Thirty-seven years later, the Soviet Union has dissolved, Bryant is one of the greatest basketball players of all time and the Wildcats have yet to win in Columbus again.

  1 2 T
Northewstern 33 27 60
No. 24 Ohio State 37 39 76

But on a night when the Big Ten foes appeared to be Cold War adversaries, Northwestern put a scare into No. 24 Ohio State. There was a glimmer of hope for the Wildcats during the first half. Then the Earth continued rotating on its axis.

A nine-point Northwestern advantage evaporated in mere minutes, as the Buckeyes rolled to a 76-60 victory and its 33rd consecutive home win over the Wildcats.

“I thought Ohio State earned this game,” Northwestern head coach Chris Collins said.

Four Buckeyes finished in double-figures scoring with LaQuinton Ross leading the way with 16 points and six rebounds. Aaron Craft (four steals) and Lenzelle Smith Jr. (10 rebounds) scored 14 points apiece and Sam Thompson had 11, including three 3s.

All that went well for Ross was eventually marred, though, when he was ejected late in the second half, along with Northwestern’s Nikola Cerina, after the teams got into a scuffle. The back-and-forth shoving led to 10 free throws.

Player Min Reb Ast Stl Blk TO Pts
Williams 16 5 0 1 1 0 6
Ross 24 6 0 0 0 1 16
Thompson 28 2 1 2 2 0 11
Craft 34 3 3 4 0 2 14
Smith Jr. 28 10 4 0 0 1 14

“They’re probably the most physical team we play all year. That’s just their style,” Thompson said. He added that Ross apologized to his teammates in the locker room after the game.

Cerina will be suspended for Northwestern’s game Saturday versus Indiana. Officials deemed he used a closed fist in an attempted punch of Amir Williams. Ross will not miss any games and was ejected for two deadball technical fouls.

“I trust what the referees said,” Collins said after the game. “They said they wanted to get it right, and you want them to get it right. Personally, I didn’t see any punches, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t any thrown.”

The Wildcats (12-15, 5-9) were shooting 63 percent midway through the first half and had the home crowd worried. Northwestern used a 13-1 run to build a nine-point lead. But then came a 16-3 sequence and points on seven straight possessions for the Buckeyes – and eventually 20 of 22. It erased all positive feelings from a team that’s lost four consecutive games.

It looked like a repeat of most of the previous 26 games when Ohio State (21-6, 8-6) only converted on five of its first 16 field goals. However, as the snow thawed outside, the shots began falling inside Value City Arena. The Buckeyes made eight of their last nine shots in the first half, shooting 52 percent for the period and 46 percent for the game.

“For whatever reason, we woke up,” Thompson said. “We talk about needing that killer instinct and putting teams away. Tonight, I thought we did that on both ends of the floor.”

The shovefest that led to Ross' ejection.
Ross: ejected. NU's Nikola Cerina: tossed + a game.

On Saturday night, it was freshman Marc Loving who scored a cluster of points. Wednesday, Ross was responsible for seven straight points.

Ohio State carried a 37-33 lead into halftime and came out in the second half scoring the first nine points. During the spurt, the Wildcats went scoreless for nearly five minutes. The Buckeyes outscored Northwestern 24-7 in the first 10 minutes of the second half.

Ohio State drew five fouls in the opening two minutes of the half and spent the final 10:46 in the double bonus. Thad Matta said the goal entering the game was to shoot 25 free throws. The Buckeyes topped that by four, finishing 23 of 29 (79 percent), well above their season average. They led by double digits the final 19 minutes and by as many as 21 points.

“I like the direction we’re heading,” Matta said. “This is historically when we’ve tried to play our best basketball. Just with the landscape of college basketball, Syracuse loses at home tonight, who knows what’s going to happen when you take the floor.”

Northwestern’s Drew Crawford, who finished 1-of-15 shooting in his last outing, was the game’s leading scorer with 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting. The Wildcats shot 39 percent in the second half after topping the 50-percent mark in the first half.

“I thought [Ohio State] turned their defense up a notch,” Collins said.

The Buckeyes are a half game back of Wisconsin for fourth place in the conference, less than a month after losing five of six. The top four seeds receive first-round byes in the Big Ten Tournament.

“I never thought the sky was falling,” Smith said. “Our team has bounced back from that. We aren’t where we want to be. But we’ve battled back and picked ourselves up from that. We have a next game mentality.”

Ohio State, now winners of five of its past six, host Minnesota (17-9, 6-7) at 6 p.m. Saturday.  

38 Comments

Comments

otrain2416's picture

Every time I think to criticize Matta I just think: Wow he's won 20+ games EVERY YEAR he's been at OSU. Well done Bucks lets keep the momentum going into the BIG 10 and NCAA tourny!

+3 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

I love Matta - tough to work with this team at times. 

Matta has won 20 plus games every year since he's been a head coach.

+7 HS
BHT's picture

Matta is a great coach. I think he is one of the more underrated coaches in the country. He recruits well and wins games. I am glad he is our coach and I CAN wait till he retires. I hope he does not retire.

+3 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

So glad the Buckeyes took control in the second half. It was finally nice to see them roll a team ........ leaving no doubt.

+1 HS
BuckeyeinToledo's picture

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

-Woody Hayes

Deadly Nuts's picture

Any gif of the fight?

Fuck m*ch*gan! That is all.

BuckeyeinToledo's picture

 

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

-Woody Hayes

+2 HS
Deadly Nuts's picture

That warrants an ejection for Q? I understand the ejection for the NU guy because he was trying to tackle Williams into the stands but there is no way Q is suspended for that...

Fuck m*ch*gan! That is all.

BrooklynBuckeye's picture

I wasn't able to watch the game, but looking at that gif, two separate dead ball technicals seems fair. If he pushed just the first guy, that warrants a T, then he pushed another guy, second T. If I was watching the game live, I'm sure I would have been incensed, but after the fact, it seems like that was the right call.

For what it's worth, this is what I think of when I think of championship toughness. We don't want the team to resort to cheap shots, or thuggery, but physically defending your teammate when he is attacked is what makes teams tough. Maybe this will be the spark Amir needs, knowing that he needs to be an enforcer, and if something gets outta hand, his teammates have his back. I'm probably just trying to see the silver lining, but, excuse the crude phrasing, this a team that needs its balls to drop. When their backs have been against the wall (against ND or at MSU) they have done amazing things by pulling together with a survivalist mentality.They need to compete like grown ass men when they are up by four, not just down by twelve. If it takes getting into the occasional scuffle to light a fire, then so be it. Go Bucks!

+1 HS
BHT's picture

Now that I see the push, Q was rightfully ejected. Should be suspended but I don't think one should go and push another guy from out of nowhere. I understand the sticking up for a teammate but I think that's an ejection.

thatlillefty's picture

I like how Craft comes up with the ball.

+10 HS
I_Run_The_Dave's picture

The NW guys basically tosses it to him, I guess he figured Craft would end up with it anyway, so might as well get it over with.  Which, I suppose, was pretty normal during the game last night, ha.

+1 HS
jaxbuckeye's picture

I watched the game and I still don't understand how Amir got a foul.  What the GIF doesn't show is that a few seconds before that Amir got position and the NU player puts both forearms into his back and shoves him out of bounds and then throws a punch.  As far as I'm concerned, the foul on Amir was bogus.

+1 HS
thePhilipJFry's picture

I agree with you.  Amir's foul was a deadball technical, so I'm guessing that they are getting him for the push well out of bounds that ultimately kept Cerina's punch from landing.  Williams had run out of ground to give and needed to defend himself at that point.

UrbanCulture's picture

I would almost rather be the 5 seed in the big ten tourney. It's unrealistic to think we can win it with how inconsistently this team has played...would rather get a win to pad the resume then play Wisconsin.

-2 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

Careful wishing for the number 5 seed .............. you know what happens each year to a number 5 in the tourney.

Deadly Nuts's picture

We won't lose to a crappy team like Penn State..... sigh

Fuck m*ch*gan! That is all.

Chief B1G Dump's picture

Did somebody say Dump!?

+1 HS
BHT's picture

Hope Q is not tossed for the next game. If he is, I would like to see Loving getting the start or starting:

Craft, Della Valle, Smith Jr., Thompson, Williams

I think the energy from McDonald is good too. He should get more playing time, even though I think (I am not sure) that he and Williams are splitting minutes 50/50.

Great win and lets keep gaining momentum.

thatlillefty's picture

Started off slow but came back nicely. I was especially happy with Slam - he started draining shots in the beginning of the second half. Just imagine if he added a long range j to his game. Kid would be scary good.

I can't be too mad at Q for getting tossed. That goof from NW was fouling Amir hard and flagrantly. And I've always been under the impression that Q and Amir are tight. So to see Q step forward in defense of his teammate and friend was actually kind of nice. Just wish he would have restrained himself and not pushed the second guy. If he's suspended a game that will be what did it.

Go bucks! Let's keep it rolling.

+2 HS
CALPOPPY's picture

I thought it was kinda crappy that Amir was called for a foul on the play. He didn't do anything there.

I'm a hurtin' buckaroo.

+2 HS
thatlillefty's picture

Side note: The fact Wichita State is the lone undefeated team in college hoops makes me feel a little better about last year's loss. I can't speak to who they've played this year but to be undefeated this far into the season is impressive, regardless of conference.

+2 HS
EvanstonBuckeye's picture

Our road to the Elite 8, in hindsight, was pretty impressive. Iowa State (mostly), Arizona, and Wichita State have all been top-notch this year.

+1 HS
Johnny-Shane_Utah-Falco's picture

1.) OSU is 21-6. There has been a lot of whining about the team this year, but that is a pretty damn good record...tied for best in the conference overall.

2.) That dude that pushed Amir definitely deserved an ejection, but WTF on the Q-Ross ejection...he merely pushed a guy. By that logic, that dude who pushed Craft on the layup should be ejected. SMH y'all.

QB option: ride & decide.

+3 HS
southbay's picture

Q was sending a message.  Good for him.

+2 HS
thePhilipJFry's picture

The Northwestern player who pushed Craft in the back should have been ejected.  If that angle is just slightly different and puts him head first into the support it could have been really ugly.  I can't believe they left that guy in the game.

+1 HS
route4buckeye's picture

Q will play Saturday. No suspension.

+1 HS
InTressITrust's picture

Opinion or fact?

"I'm not going to lie. We're anxious to be a part of a matchup like that. It's two states that love the game of football." -Jim Tressel

nvbuckeye's picture

The chicken sh*t referee under the basket should have been ejected too for not doing his job right.  Had he called a foul on the NW player sooner, it probably would not have gone that far.  I refereed many fraternity games at OSU that never got that far with my whistle ready.  That referee should not be paid for that game because he slept through it.

+6 HS
ibuck's picture

The zebras should have been keeping a closer eye on things since the double foul earlier in the game. Sometimes all the ref has to do is give a warning. As one ref said to me & another big in a game, "If you two keep this up, you will foul out and the shorter players will finish the game."

Ten free throws after this incident. Never seen that before. I'm sure the league will interview the referees and examine their calls.

Our honor defend, we will fight to the end !

+1 HS
Zimmy07's picture

I hope the league goes back and reviews how the refs have called the entire B10 season for Amir.  IMO we (Amir & others) get hacked a lot in the paint with no resulting whistles.  Amir and others get pushed under the basket on rebound attempts a lot as well.

scrotieMcboogerballs's picture

I like Q standing up for his teammates, but next time, push the guy when he is looking at you...

"Who do you think you are?!?!...I am!!"  -Pete Weber, bowling legend and dominator of the English language

AJW_16's picture

I agree. I don't think it was as much a selfish, out of control move by Q as much as a "You're not gonna f*ck with us" sort of move.

"Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you." 

pdan46's picture

I think Q should have yelled and gestured and walked away!  Just glad he wont be suspended for Minnesota. That said, however, I thought Q played a great game and was the reason that we took control and won.  He started the pattern, which we must follow every game, of taking the ball to the hoop every time down the floor.  He also rebounded well, played extremely great defense and played with energy throughout.

That is how this team has to play to win.  Not pretty, but very effective if they stick to the plan.  75% of their shots must be within 12 feet or, hopefully, closer.  Team rebounding ( I consistently saw 2 -4 Buckeyes trying to grab rebounds). Coordinated and intense defense with no let-up even when we build a lead (we had a ten point lead over Michigan too and then stopped playing defense).

We need to win all four remaining B1G games, then at least two in the B1G Tourney and at least two in the NCAAs.  That would probably be the ceiling for this team.

+1 HS
Zimmy07's picture

I think if we continue to work on the drive & dish, drive & dish on offense we can get easy points.  Our 3's might start falling as a result of a completely collapsed defense as well.

nickstr's picture

The most intensity I've seen from this team in a long time, someone must have talked to Amir about getting pushed around because he definitely played much better. I loved the intensity of the whole team rebounding.

ibuck's picture

A shot that is slightly off center can cause an in and out. With all the in-and-out treys the Buckeyes have missed this season, I wonder if their bodies are still, or moving slightly to the side, on those shots. 

Our honor defend, we will fight to the end !