Before I get going, I think I heard Miami's best player got tossed in the first half. Not quite sure though, Dave O'Brien didn't cover it after the incident.
This game was simply a tale of two halves, as Ohio State erased a 36-22 halftime deficit en route to a 73-68 victory over #22 Miami. Thad was fired up on the sidelines during the first and that no doubt carried over into the locker room, because it was a completely different team in the second. I would have loved to be in that locker room, I'm sure Thad told security to hide the children.
The young Bucks came out flat and relied on the 3-point shot early, allowing UM to build a 16-4 lead 8 minutes into the game. During that span, Miami's Jack McClinton nailed 3 threes and Evan Turner committed 2 offensive fouls, forcing him to the bench. However, after one more three pointer made by McClinton, he decided to throw an open handed swing at Anthony Crater and was rightfully tossed from the game.
The ejection seemed to benefit the U, as they played with more fire and passion the rest of the half and OSU was lucky to only be down 14 at the break. At half, Ohio State had 9 TO's and took 16 of their 29 shots from behind the arc, making only 3 of them. By my estimation, there was 1 post entry pass from the wing.
Ohio State used a 15-2 run in the first 5 minutes of the second to pull within 1 point. The run was fueled by the fresh legs of Evan Turner, who finally started taking it to the rim and scored 6 of his 19 during that stretch.
The two teams would exchange mini-runs for the next 9 minutes, until Jeremie Simmons nailed his only bomb of the game, to put OSU up for good at 57-54. Ohio State then held Miami to just 10 points over the last 5 minutes of the game, to capture their first road win of the season.
Thad definitely shortened his bench against such a veteran opponent, going with Diebler and Lighty for the entire 40 minutes. Diebler took full advantage, going for a game high 20 points, including 6-12 from downtown and continued to show a better feel for the speed D1 hoops.
Turner once again showed why he is going to be all-conference, totaling (in one half) 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks, to go along with his 19 points. His steal and 360 dunk with five to go was a reward for his consistent driving to the rim in the second.
Lighty caught the fever and started imitating Turner, finishing with 11 points and 6 boards. Hopefully he realizes soon that he is not a 3ball specialist, going 0-6 last night, while making 5-6 inside the paint. I have always thought Lighty could drive with the best of them, I just never understood why he doesn't hit that 8-10 foot jumper instead of making a twisting pass out of traffic.
As could be his achilles heel all year, Dallas Swatterdale was in early foul trouble and finished with 6 points on 3-3 shooting, to go along with his 3 caroms. However, Dallas captured a Sportscenter Top 10 plays spot with his facial on a Hurricane defender.
B.J. Mullens had his best night off the glass with 9, but simply is not getting enough touches inside and finished with only 5 points. The two combined for only 1-6 from the charity stripe and did a much better job of shutting down the offensive boards for Miami as the game evolved.
The numbers from the PG spot were respectable, as Simmons and Crater combined for 12 points, 5 assists and 1 TO. As a team, Ohio State committed only 1 turnover in the second, while creating 10 for Miami. Due to the shortened bench, William Buford missed his only 2 shots in 6 minutes and I don't recall seeing Offut on the floor.
This team showed resilience and that's attributed to Thad and his coaching staff. I hope people really appreciate him as a coach, he is one of the best out there and he will get a chance to prove it again this Saturday when OSU takes on #7 Notre Dame in Indianapolis.