Bucks Advance To NIT Season Tip-Off Semifinals

By Chris Lauderback on November 14, 2007 at 12:37 am
koufoscolumbia.jpgKoufos tallied a game high 19 pts plus 7 rebs

Ohio State picked up their second win in as many nights posting a 68-54 victory over Columbia in the 2nd round of the NIT Preseason Tip-Off. The Buckeyes will take on Syracuse next Wednesday night in Madison Square Garden.

Fighting off another slow start, the Buckeyes closed the first half on a 14-3 run to take a 33-26 lead at intermission and later used a 12-0 spurt to boost the lead to 48-35 with just over 12 minutes left in the game.

The Buckeyes maintained a double-digit lead over the last 10 minutes and led by as many as 16 thanks in large part to OSU's matchup zone defense and superior athleticism. Using a distinct height and length advantage to cover the paint, the Buckeyes forced Columbia to launch 31 of their 56 shots from beyond the arc and held the Lions to 0 two point FGs for over 12 minutes allowing just 7 two point FGs for the game.

Jamar Butler had another outstanding all around effort with 18 points (4 treys) and 7 rebounds while Kosta Koufos led the Buckeyes with 19 points (8/12 FG) to go along with 7 boards. Rounding out the balanced attack, David Lighty backed up last night's career game with 13 points and Othello Hunter added 7 points and 9 rebounds. Off the bench, freshman Evan Turner looked a little more comfortable chipping in 6 points and 5 rebounds.

The Buckeyes shot just 6/20 (30%) from downtown but made 20/32 (63%) from inside the arc and overwhelmed the Lions on the glass (37-23). Besides showing the matchup zone almost exclusively, Matta employed a soft full court press late in the game. Both looks will likely be on display when they hit NYC to face the Orangemen in what will be a good test for this group.