Decade In Review: Ohio State Basketball's 10 Most Memorable Wins of the 2010s

By Colin Hass-Hill on January 20, 2020 at 12:47 pm
Jae'Sean Tate, Musa Jallow, C.J. Jackson
Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Our dissection of Ohio State athletics in the 2010s continues with the most memorable basketball games of the decade.

Decade in Review: The 2010s

With 256 victories, eight NCAA tournament bids, a Final Four appearance, three Big Ten regular season titles and three conference tournament championships littering the past 10 years, it was difficult selecting a clear-cut top 10 wins. Sifting through the options, we ended up with a list packed with game-winning shots and postseason victories. 

To begin this look back through the 10 most memorable games of the decade, let's open with the 2010 Big Ten tournament.

10. March 13, 2010: Ohio State 88, Illinois 81 (2-OT)

Just a day after Evan Turner’s game-winner against Michigan – scroll way down for that one – the Buckeyes found themselves in another tight game, this time with Illinois in the Big Ten tournament semifinals.

The Illini nearly topped Ohio State, with Mike Davis missing a layup as time expired in regulation. But the game moved to overtime, where a Turner layup tied it at 75 to send it to double overtime. There, the Buckeyes finally pulled off an 88-81 victory.

Turner pulled off the rare feat of a triple-double that included an important 31 points and 10 rebounds and a costly 10 turnovers. He did that twice as a Buckeye, with the other coming earlier in the year against North Carolina.

9. March 22, 2019: Ohio State 62, Iowa State 59

For a team that barely slid into the NCAA tournament after going 18-13 in the regular season, 8-12 in the Big Ten and 1-1 in the conference tournament, nothing was expected of Ohio State when it earned a spot in the postseason field. Many 11 seeds become sexy upset picks, but the Buckeyes weren’t one of them.

They pulled it off anyway.

Behind 21 points and 12 rebounds from Kaleb Wesson, 19 points in 40 minutes from an almost unrecognizable Keyshawn Woods and a strong defensive performance from the entire team, the Buckeyes managed a 62-59 upset of sixth-seeded Iowa State to send them to the second round.

Spoiler alert: This isn’t the only win against the Cyclones on this list. 

8. Dec. 21, 2013: Ohio State 64, Notre Dame 61

Not every year does Ohio State trail by eight points in the final minute and pull out a win. That’s exactly what happened, though, on Dec. 21, 2013.

Ohio State had a slight lead on Notre Dame for the majority of the game until Pat Connaughton hit a jumper with 11:05 remaining that gave his team a one-point edge. The Fighting Irish soon extended that advantage as the Buckeyes went cold on offense, scoring seven points during a stretch that began with 13:46 remaining and ended inside the final minute.

Then came a ridiculous 14-3 run in the last 50 seconds.

LaQuinton Ross hit a 3-pointer to to cut Notre Dame’s lead to five. Lenzelle Smith got a steal and a layup five seconds later. Five seconds after that, Shannon Scott stole the ball, got fouled and hit a pair of free throws to chop the lead to two points with 40 seconds left. After two free throws from Notre Dame’s Demetrius Jackson, Smith made a trio of free throws to cut the Irish lead just a single point. Following a missed free throw from Steve Vasturia, Smith made a go-ahead layup with 16 seconds remaining. 

A few more free throws from both teams and a missed 3-pointer from Jackson at the buzzer gave the Buckeyes a 64-61 victory at Madison Square Garden and kept them undefeated.

7. Beating No. 1 Michigan State in 2018

The first statement victory of the Chris Holtmann era came when an unranked Ohio State team blew out the No. 1 Spartans. Not a bad way to get the season ramped up.

The teams played a back-and-forth first half until the final two minutes before the break when the Buckeyes broke a tie to go on a 12-point run that they capped off with a Turner-esque 3-pointer from Andrew Dakich as time ran out. The lead only continued to extend in the second half, giving Ohio State plenty of time to enjoy its 80-64 upset win.

Keita Bates-Diop dropped 32 points, which was both his career high at the time and a hint of what was to come in the following couple months. Jae’Sean Tate, C.J. Jackson and Kam Williams also scored in double figures.

6. Feb. 7, 2018: Ohio State 64, Purdue 63

Exactly one month after topping Michigan State in 2018, the Buckeyes beat another top-five Big Ten opponent. This time, it came on the road at Mackey Arena in a one-point game.

After falling behind Purdue by 14 points with 10 minutes remaining, Ohio State mounted a comeback to pull ahead by two points on a 3-pointer from Andre Wesson with 1:16 remaining. An and-one converted by Vincent Edwards gave the Boilermakers a one-point lead. The Buckeyes, though, had the ball with time remaining and a chance to win.

Tate missed a driving layup, but Bates-Diop followed him, got the offensive rebound and scored a put-back under the rim that put Ohio State ahead by one point. A fadeaway shot from Isaac Haas as time expired missed, and the Buckeyes prevailed.

Bates-Diop dropped a team-high 18 points and grabbed 11 boards in the win. Andre Wesson, who had 13 points in 36 minutes, also had to spend time as an undersized forward guarding Haas.

5. March 24, 2012: Ohio State 77, Syracuse 70

In the 2010s, the Buckeyes made the Final Four once, and to do so they had to get by Jim Boeheim’s top-seeded Syracuse Orange in the Elite Eight.

Though it didn’t come down to a game-winner, like the next four on this list, it was as tight as a game as anybody could expect from two of the most talented teams in 2012. The Orange was within two points with five minutes remaining and got within four points with two minutes left. 

But strong performances from Jared Sullinger (19 points, 7 rebounds), Lenzelle Smith Jr. (18 points) and Deshaun Thomas (14 points, 9 rebounds) allowed the Buckeyes to come out on top. 

4. March 28, 2013: Ohio State 73, Arizona 70

Less than a week after Craft’s game-winner against Iowa State, the Buckeyes needed another. Tied at 70 with Arizona in the Sweet 16, time ticked away with the shot clock turned off. 

Again, Craft had the ball in his hands. Against the Wildcats, though, he wasn’t the shooter. LaQuinton Ross feigned a pick with six seconds remaining then popped out a couple feed behind the 3-point line. Craft hit him with a pass and he launched up a triple.

“Ross, for the lead…”

The explosion of sound from the Staples Center crowd drowned out Marv Albert shouting, “Goooood,” as Ross’ shot went through the basket with 2.1 seconds remaining. It sent Ohio State to the Elite Eight.

Deshaun Thomas led the Buckeyes with 20 points in 40 minutes, and Ross scored 17 points in 18 minutes off the bench. Craft had 13 points, five assists and five rebounds.

3. March 4, 2012: Ohio State 73, Michigan State 70

William Buford, Ohio State’s only senior in 2012, ensured Michigan State’s senior day at the Breslin Center wouldn’t be enjoyable for those repping the other school’s colors. Making 8-of-14 shots in a 25-point performance, he was already the game’s leading scorer when the ball found his hands in the final seconds. 

With just seconds remaining in a game tied at 70, he took a handoff from Craft and launched a contested jumper from just inside the 3-point arc at the top of the key, burying it with 0.8 seconds remaining. The game-winning bucket not only allowed the Buckeyes to end the regular season on a high note, but it gave them a share of the conference title for the third year in a row.

Jared Sullinger had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and  Deshaun Thomas scored 12 points. Draymond Green led the Spartans with 19 points, but he attempted 18 shots, including a missed fadeaway from the wing on the possession before Buford ended Michigan State’s hopes.

2. March 24, 2013: Ohio State 78, Iowa State 75

Throughout Aaron Craft’s time at Ohio State, the majority of reputation was gained on the defensive end of the floor. However, he had a number of memorable offensive performances in his four years, with none more significant than the shot he hit to send Ohio State to the Elite Eight in 2013.

At the free-throw line, Craft tied the game at 75 points with 1:15 remaining. Deshaun Thomas, who scored a team-high 22 points, knocked away an Iowa State pass with a minute remaining, setting Ohio State up for a chance to take the lead. Craft’s shot from the top of the key missed with 29.9 seconds remaining, but Iowa State knocked the ball out of bounds, giving the Buckeyes one last shot.

After running out the game clock, Craft got Georges Niang switched onto him, waved off Thomas and tossed up a 3-pointer from just outside the arc, drilling it with 0.2 seconds left to give Ohio State a 78-75 win. 

Craft played all 40 minutes, had 18 points and six assists, and he won the game for his team.

1. March 12, 2010: Ohio State 69, Michigan 68

Ohio State had nine years to top what happened in the quarterfinals of its first Big Ten tournament appearance of the decade, but nothing rose above Evan Turner’s dagger.

As the top seed in the conference tournament, the Buckeyes were expected to roll Michigan, which entered the day with a 15-16 record. In the second half, though, what was once a 10-point halftime lead disappeared as Manny Harris, who finished with 25 points, led the Wolverines on a slow yet effective comeback. 

A 3-pointer from Stu Douglass knotted the game up at 64 points apiece with 1:04 remaining. Just 36 seconds later, following a miss from Turner, a jumper from Harris gave Michigan a two-point lead. David Lighty’s bucket tied it up again with 14 seconds remaining before John Beilein’s Wolverines pulled ahead on another make from Harris with 2.2 seconds remaining.

Then came Turner’s heroics.

Having to go the length of the court in just a couple seconds, Ohio State had Lighty throw an in-bounds pass to Turner, who was already racing up the court. He took two dribbles, gathered, pulled up, launched a running jump shot and...

“Turner at midcourt, inside it, at the buzzer ... GOT IT.”

“Are you kidding me, Dave O'Brien?”


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