Basketball Archives – 2015

Buckeyes Take Big Ten Opener, Cruising to Win Over Minnesota
December 30, 2015

​Ohio State took charge early and held off a furious Minnesota run to pull away in the second half, winning their Big Ten opener, 78-63, running their overall record to 9-5. The Buckeyes came out firing early, jumping out to a 19-5 early advantage, but Minnesota kept chipping away, cutting the lead to 3 at the break. However, after Minnesota took its first and only lead of the game early in the second half after a 3 from the wing by Carlos Morris of the Gophers, the Buckeyes took charge. The Buckeyes proceeded to go on a 20-3 run of their own to pull away and cruise to the win.

Marc Loving led Ohio State with a game high 20 points and Keita Bates Diop added 13, with Jae’Sean Tate adding 10 for the victors. The Buckeyes were sparked by their backcourt in this game. The freshman point guard duo of JaQuan Lyle and A.J. Harris combined for 17 assists, 13 of which were credited to Lyle as the Buckeyes assisted on 24 of their 29 made buckets. Carlos Morris led the Gophers with 18 points.

It was a tale of two halves in the first 20 as the Buckeyes held a 15 point lead midway through the first half, but a 9-0 run by the Gophers and a half ending 10-1 run trimmed the Buckeye lead to the aforementioned 3. Loving scored 10 and Tate and Bates-Diop added 8 and 7 respectively for the Buckeyes in the first half with Lyle dishing out 7 of his career high 13 assists.

For the game, Ohio State shot 51% from the floor and hit on 15-22 from the stripe and 5 of 15 from long range. Minnesota won the battle of the boards, ripping down 35 to Ohio State’s 33, but Ohio State’s stingy defense struck once again, holding the Gophers to just 36% shooting for the game.

Thad Matta liked what he saw early, but a stretch of about 15 minutes spanning the two halves, the Buckeyes struggled a bit. “Once we started creating, we are able to get the shots we wanted. A lot of credit to Lyle and Harris” said coach Matta after the game. “We gotta keep building.” The Buckeyes have now won 5 straight and continue to build some momentum at the right time as the conference schedule begins to heat up. This is definitely how you want to see a young team play, getting better each game and gaining a lot of confidence.

Ohio State will continue conference play in the New Year on Sunday as they host 8-6, 0-1 Illinois in the Schott at 5 PM.

-Jason Harris

 

Buckeyes Cruise to Fourth Straight Victory
December 27, 2015

​The Ohio State basketball Buckeyes used a workman like effort, dominating the glass, and using the hot hand of Keita Bates-Diop to roll to a 73-57 victory over South Carolina State finishing off their non-conference slate 8-5. The Buckeyes will head into the Big Ten portion of the schedule on somewhat of a roll, winning 4 straight ball games, including the big win over then #4 Kentucky.

Sophomore Keita Bates-Diop got the Buckeyes going early, hitting five 3’s in the first half as the Buckeyes used a 23-6 run to jump out to a 34-21 lead at the break. Bates-Diop led all scorers in the first 20 minutes and Trevor Thompson added 8 points and five rebounds.

The Bulldogs came out of the halftime break and jumped out to a 6-0 run to cut the lead to 7, but Ohio State answered with a 10-1 run of their own and it was never close again. The spark plugs of the second half were A.J. Harris and Kam Williams. “I thought we played pretty lethargic, especially the first half and the first few minutes of the second half” said Coach Thad Matta, adding that Kam Williams and A.J. Harris “brought us energy and a spark that we needed.” Harris finished with 5 points and 6 assists along with some lock down defense and Williams hit some big shots, many of them coming off of Harris passes, finishing with 12 of his own. A key play during the decisive run was a transition alley oop look from Harris to Daniel Giddens that gave Ohio State all the momentum it needed.

Bates-Diop finished with a double-double that included a career high 24 points and 10 rebounds.  Trevor Thompson also added a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the victorious Buckeyes. For the game, the Buckeyes out-rebounded the Bulldogs 50-32 and assisted on 19 of their 26 made buckets. Despite only forcing 3 South Carolina State turnovers, the Buckeyes held the Bulldogs to just 33% shooting from the field, while the Buckeyes hit on 46.4% of their opportunities.

So, that will put a ribbon on the non conference season for the Buckeyes. It was an up and down early season for the young ball club, but certainly Thad Matta has got to like how his guys finished. The Buckeyes are playing with much more confidence and defensively seem to have found their mojo a bit. They will need to continue to improve as the Big Ten schedule is always a difficult grind, but this team seems to be poised to do some good things if they can continue to improve.

Next up, the Buckeyes open Big Ten play at home on Wednesday evening at 7PM against the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the Schott.

-Jason Harris

 

Austin Grandstaff To Transfer From Ohio State Basketball Program
December 17, 2015

​The latest testimony of the ‘me first’ generation hit the Buckeyes basketball program.

Freshman guard Austin Grandstaff will transfer from the Buckeyes basketball program. Wes Grandstaff, Austin’s father, confirmed the news to cleveland.com. It is unfortunate he made this decision but as a Buckeye fan, if he doesn’t want to be here and is not willing to put in the work to get the playing time he wants, let him go.  It was clear he did not have a team attitude based on the comments from his father.

“He loved Ohio State, he loved his teammates, but it’s been kind of a roller coaster with him and minutes,” Wes Grandstaff said. “Some games it’s 17, 18 minutes. Against UConn, he gets beat on the baseline and gets taken out.”

Grandstaff played in all 10 games this season. He played a season-high 18 minutes in a win over Grambling State in the second game of the season. He played nine minutes in the loss to UConn, finishing with six points.

He signed as part of Ohio State’s 2015 recruiting class, along with friend Mickey Mitchell. Mitchell has not yet been cleared to play by the NCAA, but that had nothing to do with Grandstaff’s decision to transfer.

Grandstaff was originally committed to Oklahoma State before signing with Ohio State. He also had offers from Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Alabama and others.
Ohio State Grinds Out Hard Fought Victory Over Northern Illinois
December 16, 2015

​The Ohio State basketball Buckeyes, coming off their worst loss of the young season at Connecticut, used tough defense and timely shooting to pull away from the Northern Illinois Huskies, winning 67-54, evening their record at 5-5. Ohio State used a 10-2 run midway through the second half to pull away from a pesky Husky team on its way to the final margin.

Ohio State (5-5) led 33-31 at the half in a first 20 minutes that didn’t see much flow in the as the both teams got into foul trouble, combining for 24 fouls with Northern Illinois hitting 14 of its 16 free throw attempts and the Buckeyes going 12 of 18 from the stripe. Neither team shot the ball very well from the floor as the Huskies shot 31%, including just 1 of 10 from deep. The Buckeyes weren’t much better, hitting on 36% and just 3 of 9 from long range.  Trevor Thompson led the Buckeyes at the break with 10.

With the game tied midway through the second half, Jae’Sean Tate converted a key 3 point opportunity and Kam Williams followed with a long 3 and Marc Loving hit on a dribble drive that gave Ohio State the momentum and a lead they would not relinquish.

Jae’Sean Tate led Ohio State in scoring with 17 while also adding 10 boards for his second double-double of the year and Keita Bates-Diop also secured a double-double of his own, scoring 14 points and pulling down 10 rebounds, while adding 3 blocks. Trevor Thompson also entered the double figure scoring column, scoring 10 and adding 8 rebounds to his totals.

Overall, a good bounce back effort for Thad Matta’s young group as they are able to get back to .500 and more importantly gain a little confidence. Next, they will face their toughest challenge of the young season in Brooklyn, NY against the Kentucky Wildcats in the CBS Sports Classic on Saturday afternoon.

-Jason Harris
Ohio State Jumps Out Early, Hangs on Late to Stun 4th Ranked Kentucky
December 19, 2015

​The young Ohio State basketball team grew up in a hurry, using some hot shooting and stifling defense early to jump out to a big lead and held on late, despite a furious Kentucky rally to get its biggest win of the young season, defeating the 4th ranked Kentucky Wildcats in Brooklyn 74-67 to up their record to 6-5.

Ohio State used their size and athleticism to frustrate Kentucky on both ends of the floor jumping out to a big first half lead. The Buckeyes survived a 6 minute and 35 second scoring drought late in the first half and when JaQuan Lyle drilled a long 3 at the horn, the Buckeyes went to the locker room with a 35-27 lead and all the confidence they needed to pull off what many thought was impossible.  Kam Williams came off the bench and hit a couple of big shots to lead the Buckeyes in the first 20 with 7 and Trevor Thompson and Keita Bates-Diop had 6 apiece as the Buckeyes led the for all but a little over 2 minutes in the first half. A 20-9 run midway through the half allowed the Buckeyes to build their lead. Utilizing dribble drive penetration and kick outs the Buckeyes were able to get good looks from the outside, going 7 for 12 from long range for the half.

The Buckeyes continued their scrappy play in the second half, leading by as many as 16. That’s when Kentucky, and in particular, Jamal Murray went to work. The Wildcat’s star guard hit 7 of 8 from long range during the stretch to make things interesting late as the Wildcats clawed to within 3 at the 3:34 mark. But, clutch free throw shooting, first from Daniel Giddens, then by Keita Bates-Diop sealed the victory. Keita Bates-Diop led Ohio State in the scoring column with 14 points with Marc Loving adding 12. JaQuan Lyle and Trevor Thompson chipped in 11 and 10 respectively for the Buckeyes. Jamal Murray led the ‘Cats with a game high 33 but it wouldn’t be enough on this afternoon.

The Barclays Center was certainly pro Kentucky on this afternoon, but the Buckeyes were the aggressor from the outset, playing their best game of the season upsetting the favored Wildcats. Thad Matta, after the game said he just kept stressing “gameplan, gameplan, gameplan.” The young Bucks certainly got the message, showing tremendous effort and poise late to gain a much needed confidence building victory. “The guys made some big time plays for us,” said Coach Matta after the game, and they certainly did, diving on the floor for loose balls and playing with the sense of urgency necessary to pull off the win. This could certainly be a season changer for this young group as they play 2 more winnable games at home prior to Big Ten play.

It’s been a tumultuous week for Thad Matta’s group as standout freshman Austin Grandstaff announced his intent to transfer due to lack of playing time, but on the positive side, freshman forward Mickey Mitchell got word from the NCAA that he is now eligible to play. Although he didn’t see the floor in this one, he will certainly help with depth on the wing going forward.

The Buckeyes will next see action on Tuesday, when they play host to the Mercer Bears in the Schott.

-Jason Harris
Buckeyes Overcome Poor Shooting, Pull Away From Mercer
December 22, 2015

​Ohio State, coming off its biggest win of the season Saturday over Kentucky, came out of the gate sluggish, but pulled away in the second half to defeat the Mercer Bears 64-44 in the Schott to up their record to 7-5. Donning their throwback, silver uni’s, the Buckeyes got off to a ragged start and combined with very poor shooting, struggled to get anything going in the opening 20 minutes. The Buckeyes hit just 1 of its first 11 from the field, falling behind by 7 midway through the first half, but finished the half on a 12-4 run, led by JaQuan Lyle’s 6 points, to take a 1 point lead into the break.

Ohio State couldn’t find it from deep, going 0-9 from long range and turning the ball over 12 times. Despite also going 3 of 7 from the line, the Buckeyes utilized 9 offensive rebounds and an overall 20-15 rebounding edge, to lead at the half. JaQuan Lyle led the Buckeyes in the first half with the aforementioned 6 and Jae’Sean Tate added 5 points and 3 boards, with Trevor Thompson contributing to the rebounding edge, ripping 5 boards of his own to go with 4 points.

The second half was a different story as the Buckeyes opened with a 19-6 run and led by 14 at the under 12 timeout and it was pretty much all Buckeyes from then on. Ohio State turned up the defensive intensity in the second half, forcing Mercer into 25 turnovers for the game. For the game, Ohio State shot 43% from the floor, but a dismal 3-22 from behind the arc and just 9 of 17 from the line. The Buckeyes won this game with defense, creating 17 steals and creating transition points, scoring on several and one opportunities. JaQuan Lyle was a difference maker in this one, scoring a game high 18 points, while Jae’Sean Tate added 13 and 6 rebounds.  Keita Bates-Diop chipped in 12 points to go along with 8 rips to lead the Buckeyes to a much needed win, avoiding a potential let down.

Overall, a good win for the Buckeyes over a very solid Mercer club who will be a potential NCAA tournament participant. Despite a slow start offensively, the Buckeyes clamped down defensively and forced Mercer into some bad shots and turnovers. After Ohio State settled in and stopped taking early possession 3’s and attacked the rim, they were able to get into a bit of a rhythm and pull away. One more game prior to conference play and it will be an important tune up before most of the team faces the rigors of the Big Ten for the first time.

Ohio State will next take the floor Sunday evening at 6PM in the Schott, hosting South Carolina State.

-Jason Harris

Ohio State Jumps Out Early, Hangs on Late to Stun 4th Ranked Kentucky
December 19, 2015

​The young Ohio State basketball team grew up in a hurry, using some hot shooting and stifling defense early to jump out to a big lead and held on late, despite a furious Kentucky rally to get its biggest win of the young season, defeating the 4th ranked Kentucky Wildcats in Brooklyn 74-67 to up their record to 6-5.

Ohio State used their size and athleticism to frustrate Kentucky on both ends of the floor jumping out to a big first half lead. The Buckeyes survived a 6 minute and 35 second scoring drought late in the first half and when JaQuan Lyle drilled a long 3 at the horn, the Buckeyes went to the locker room with a 35-27 lead and all the confidence they needed to pull off what many thought was impossible.  Kam Williams came off the bench and hit a couple of big shots to lead the Buckeyes in the first 20 with 7 and Trevor Thompson and Keita Bates-Diop had 6 apiece as the Buckeyes led the for all but a little over 2 minutes in the first half. A 20-9 run midway through the half allowed the Buckeyes to build their lead. Utilizing dribble drive penetration and kick outs the Buckeyes were able to get good looks from the outside, going 7 for 12 from long range for the half.

The Buckeyes continued their scrappy play in the second half, leading by as many as 16. That’s when Kentucky, and in particular, Jamal Murray went to work. The Wildcat’s star guard hit 7 of 8 from long range during the stretch to make things interesting late as the Wildcats clawed to within 3 at the 3:34 mark. But, clutch free throw shooting, first from Daniel Giddens, then by Keita Bates-Diop sealed the victory. Keita Bates-Diop led Ohio State in the scoring column with 14 points with Marc Loving adding 12. JaQuan Lyle and Trevor Thompson chipped in 11 and 10 respectively for the Buckeyes. Jamal Murray led the ‘Cats with a game high 33 but it wouldn’t be enough on this afternoon.

The Barclays Center was certainly pro Kentucky on this afternoon, but the Buckeyes were the aggressor from the outset, playing their best game of the season upsetting the favored Wildcats. Thad Matta, after the game said he just kept stressing “gameplan, gameplan, gameplan.” The young Bucks certainly got the message, showing tremendous effort and poise late to gain a much needed confidence building victory. “The guys made some big time plays for us,” said Coach Matta after the game, and they certainly did, diving on the floor for loose balls and playing with the sense of urgency necessary to pull off the win. This could certainly be a season changer for this young group as they play 2 more winnable games at home prior to Big Ten play.

It’s been a tumultuous week for Thad Matta’s group as standout freshman Austin Grandstaff announced his intent to transfer due to lack of playing time, but on the positive side, freshman forward Mickey Mitchell got word from the NCAA that he is now eligible to play. Although he didn’t see the floor in this one, he will certainly help with depth on the wing going forward.

The Buckeyes will next see action on Tuesday, when they play host to the Mercer Bears in the Schott.

-Jason Harris

Austin Grandstaff To Transfer From Ohio State Basketball Program
December 17, 2015

​The latest testimony of the ‘me first’ generation hit the Buckeyes basketball program.

Freshman guard Austin Grandstaff will transfer from the Buckeyes basketball program. Wes Grandstaff, Austin’s father, confirmed the news to cleveland.com. It is unfortunate he made this decision but as a Buckeye fan, if he doesn’t want to be here and is not willing to put in the work to get the playing time he wants, let him go.  It was clear he did not have a team attitude based on the comments from his father.

“He loved Ohio State, he loved his teammates, but it’s been kind of a roller coaster with him and minutes,” Wes Grandstaff said. “Some games it’s 17, 18 minutes. Against UConn, he gets beat on the baseline and gets taken out.”

Grandstaff played in all 10 games this season. He played a season-high 18 minutes in a win over Grambling State in the second game of the season. He played nine minutes in the loss to UConn, finishing with six points.

He signed as part of Ohio State’s 2015 recruiting class, along with friend Mickey Mitchell. Mitchell has not yet been cleared to play by the NCAA, but that had nothing to do with Grandstaff’s decision to transfer.

Grandstaff was originally committed to Oklahoma State before signing with Ohio State. He also had offers from Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Alabama and others.
Ohio State Grinds Out Hard Fought Victory Over Northern Illinois
December 16, 2015

​The Ohio State basketball Buckeyes, coming off their worst loss of the young season at Connecticut, used tough defense and timely shooting to pull away from the Northern Illinois Huskies, winning 67-54, evening their record at 5-5. Ohio State used a 10-2 run midway through the second half to pull away from a pesky Husky team on its way to the final margin.

Ohio State (5-5) led 33-31 at the half in a first 20 minutes that didn’t see much flow in the as the both teams got into foul trouble, combining for 24 fouls with Northern Illinois hitting 14 of its 16 free throw attempts and the Buckeyes going 12 of 18 from the stripe. Neither team shot the ball very well from the floor as the Huskies shot 31%, including just 1 of 10 from deep. The Buckeyes weren’t much better, hitting on 36% and just 3 of 9 from long range.  Trevor Thompson led the Buckeyes at the break with 10.

With the game tied midway through the second half, Jae’Sean Tate converted a key 3 point opportunity and Kam Williams followed with a long 3 and Marc Loving hit on a dribble drive that gave Ohio State the momentum and a lead they would not relinquish.

Jae’Sean Tate led Ohio State in scoring with 17 while also adding 10 boards for his second double-double of the year and Keita Bates-Diop also secured a double-double of his own, scoring 14 points and pulling down 10 rebounds, while adding 3 blocks. Trevor Thompson also entered the double figure scoring column, scoring 10 and adding 8 rebounds to his totals.

Overall, a good bounce back effort for Thad Matta’s young group as they are able to get back to .500 and more importantly gain a little confidence. Next, they will face their toughest challenge of the young season in Brooklyn, NY against the Kentucky Wildcats in the CBS Sports Classic on Saturday afternoon.

-Jason Harris
Buckeyes Struggle in First Road Game, Fall to Connecticut
December 12, 2015
​The young Ohio State Buckeyes basketball team went on the road for the first time this year, and struggled mightily falling to the Connecticut Huskies, 75-55, running their record to 4-5 on the young season.   UConn went on a 12-2 run midway through the first half to stretch a 4 point lead to 14 and took advantage of cold shooting from the Buckeyes to stretch it to 21 at the break.  Ohio State went over 8 and a half minutes scoring just one bucket allowing UConn to take charge and never look back.  The Huskies shot 63 percent from the floor in the first half including 5 of 8 from deep and outscored the Buckeyes 24-10 in the paint.

To Ohio State’s credit, they came out with a lot more intensity in the second half, cutting the deficit to 12, but UConn answered that run, making 10 straight field goals during one stretch to pull away.  Ohio State struggled to find any offensive rhythm, shooting just 36 percent for the game and just 5 of 22 from long range.
UConn was led by Omar Calhoun’s 14, while Rodney Purvis scored 13, and Shonn Miller, Amida Brimah and Jalen Adams all added 11.  The balanced effort from UConn led to 60 percent shooting from the floor for the game.
The Buckeyes (4-5) downfall, however, came in the second half of the first 20 minutes, taking poor shots and passing on open looks and not getting the ball to the rim with any consistency.  This will be another learning effort for Thad Matta’s bunch as they experienced a true road environment for the first time.  They didn’t respond well early, getting out of sync offensively and allowing easy transition buckets on defense. Overall, the Buckeyes were led by Jae’Sean Tate’s 15 points and Marc Loving added 14.

The Buckeyes will look to bounce back on Wednesday night as they play host to the Northern Illinois Huskies in the Schott.

-Jason Harris

Basketball Bucks Dominate On Both Ends, Cruise to Win Over Air Force
December 8, 2015
​Ohio State used stifling defense and an efficient offense to soar past the Falcons of the Air Force Academy 74 – 50, which evens their record at 4-4. The Buckeyes held the Falcons to just 5 field goals in the first 20 minutes and led the entire way, en route to a 37-16 first half advantage. Ohio State was led for the game by junior Marc Loving, who posted his second-consecutive double-double and third on the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman JaQuan Lyle added 12 points and sophomore Jae’Sean Tate added 11.

The Buckeyes dominated in the paint scoring had 38 points from the inside. For the game, the Buckeyes shot 47 percent from the field, but hit only 6 of their 22 attempts from beyond the arc. Ohio State won this game with defense forcing 18 turnovers and making Air Force take tough shots, holding them to just 33 percent from the floor for the game.

Ohio State’s defense was clearly evident during the last 14:30 of the first half, holding the Falcons to only 2 field goals over that time. Marc Loving and Keita Bates-Diop led the way in the first 20, scoring 8 apiece, including a nifty 3 off the dribble by Loving as time expired in the first half. Jae’Sean Tate, despite going to the bench early with some foul trouble early also added 7 in the first half.

The Buckeyes, despite playing lesser competition the past couple games, are showing signs of improvement, turning the ball over only 10 times in this one and improving in all facets. Over the past two wins, combined with the Virginia loss, the Buckeyes are beginning to show glimpses of the talent they are putting on the floor. Although they are young, they are continually improving and will be a much different team come February and March. Coach Matta liked what he saw defensively, “We did a good job for the most part being in the right position and we were able to force some turnovers,” adding “We’ve just got to keep bringing them along. We’re getting better.”

The Buckeyes next head to Storrs, CT for a battle with the Connecticut Huskies on Saturday afternoon.

-Jason Harris

Buckeyes Bounce Back, Cruise To Easy Win Over VMI
December 5, 2015
​In front of a sparse crowd at the Schott, Ohio State rolled to a 89-62 victory over VMI, breaking a 4 game losing streak. The Buckeyes put four players in double figures, led by Sophomore Jae’Sean Tate’s 19 to go along with double doubles from Marc Loving and Trevor Thompson, with Loving scoring 17 and pulling down 10 boards and Thompson adding 13 points and 10 rips for the Buckeyes.  Keita Bates-Diop also added 12, all in the first half, for the victorious Buckeye squad. Utilizing a big size advantage and despite being without Freshman center Daniel Giddens, the Buckeyes outscored VMI 40-14 in the paint and out rebounded the Keydets 48-27.

The Buckeyes(3-4) utilized a 17-3 run midway through the first 20 minutes to pull away after VMI had tied it just after the under 12 timeout. The Buckeyes took care of the basketball in the first half, a change from much of the season, only turning it over 3 times while forcing 7 VMI turnovers.

For the game, Ohio State hit 15 of 19 from the stripe, a far cry from what they had been shooting through 7 games in this young season, but struggled behind the arc, hitting only 8 of 26. The Keydets attempted 31 of their 57 shots from behind the arc, hitting 12. Of the 48 rebounds Ohio State pulled down, 17 were of the offensive variety, leading to 29 second chance points.

Overall, a solid win for a Buckeye team looking to find some confidence early in this season and they did a nice job of being patient on offense and utilizing their size and athleticism to their advantage. So, a deep breath for Thad Matta’s bunch and a bit of relief to chalk one up in the left column for a change and a chance to get on a bit of a roll when the Buckeyes host Air Force on Tuesday at 8PM at the Schott before they head on the road again next Saturday for a big tilt in Storrs, CT against the UConn Huskies.

-Jason Harris

Ohio State Shows Improvement in 6 Point Loss to 10th Ranked Virginia
December 1, 2015

The Basketball Buckeyes for much of this game looked like the talented bunch many expected to see this season, but ultimately falling 64-58 to 10th ranked Virginia for their 4th consecutive defeat and slipping to 2-4 on the young campaign. Cavalier guard Malcolm Brogdon scorched the nets for a game high 22 which included 6 from deep.  Marc Loving led the Buckeyes with 19, while Keita Bates-Diop chipped in with 15 and Jae’Sean Tate added 12 and 8 rips.

Ohio State utilized a late 7-0 run in the first half to close to within 2 at the break and the game went back and forth in the early second half with 6 lead changes. After a Virginia timeout at the 7:25 mark, the Cavs went on a 7-0 run to take a 1 point lead up to 8 and Ohio State never led again, getting as close as 3 late, but Virginia made their free throws down the stretch to ice it.

The Buckeyes(2-4) showed tremendous patience on the offensive end in this one against statistically the best defense in college basketball over the last couple of years. The Achilles heel in past games has been the turnover bug, and the Buckeyes did a much better job of controlling the basketball and becoming much more efficient on offense.

In the first half, the Bucks only turned it over 5 times, but a few down the stretch of the game ultimately were costly. For the game, Ohio State shot 50% from the floor and 8 of 21 from deep while hitting 8 of their 12 free throw attempts. Virginia shot just 44% from the field but hit 8 of 16 from deep and 10 of 13 from the charity stripe. A key statistic was the 10 offensive rebounds for UVA to only 3 for the Buckeyes. Overall, this was probably the best 40 minutes we’ve seen from the young Buckeyes and if they can continue on this trajectory, they will win a lot of ballgames.

The Buckeyes will be back at it and looking to get back in the win column on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. when they host the VMI Keydets at the Schott.

-Jason Harris
Buckeyes Show Youth Once Again Falling in OT to Memphis
November 27, 2015

The Ohio State fell for the third consecutive game, this time falling to Memphis 81-76 in OT in Miami. The Buckeyes battled back from 4 down in the final few minutes to force overtime, but that was before the Buckeyes held a 67-63 advantage that was followed by a 9-0 Memphis run. The entire game was littered with whistle after whistle sending Memphis to a whopping 28-36 from the foul line compared to 11-19 for the Buckeyes. Both Buckeye centers, Trevor Thompson and Daniel Giddens were disqualified with 5 fouls each.

The Buckeyes continued to shoot themselves in the foot with careless, unforced turnovers, totaling 19 for the game. In the overtime, the Buckeyes did not have a FG and only 1 FT, while Memphis hit their lone FG and 4 FT’s for the final margin. JaQuan Lyle led the Buckeyes with 18 points and added 8 dimes, while Marc Loving had 17 points and 7 boards. Ohio State, for the game shot the ball ok, hitting on 46% of their shots, while assisting on 17 of their 28 made baskets.

If games are going to be officiated like this all season, the Buckeyes certainly need to shoot it better from the stripe, but it will limit their aggressive defense as well. Thad may need to look at going to a 2-3 matchup zone type of defense, with Giddens and or Thompson in the middle as the erasers. Tonight’s game was officiated very one sided but the Buckeyes could’ve still come out on the plus side if they just avoided careless mistakes. Matta and company have its work cut out for it in order to make this basketball team a contender in the Big Ten. The talent is there, but so far only flashes of it appear on the floor. To be fair, we are only 5 games in, but it doesn’t get any easier as Ohio State hosts 10th ranked Virginia on Tuesday at 7:30 as part of the ACC/Big Ten challenge.

-Jason Harris

Young Buckeyes Struggle to Find Momentum in Loss to Talented Louisiana Tech Team
November 24, 2015

The Basketball Buckeyes took the floor looking to gain some momentum before heading on the road for this first time this season, but sadly it wasn’t meant to be. Louisiana Tech, picked to win Conference USA, answered any run OSU had with some hot shooting from beyond the arc to send Ohio State(2-2) down to their second consecutive defeat 82-74 in the Schott.

Louisiana Tech, who led the entire ballgame, utilized a 7-0 run after the Buckeyes tied it at 25 midway through the first 20 minutes to take a 4 point lead into the intermission. The Bulldogs shot 6-17 from beyond the arc during the first half and took advantage of seven Ohio State turnovers. They Buckeyes continued their early season free throw shooting woes, hitting only 10 of 17 from the line in the first half.  JaQuan Lyle hit 6-6, totaling 8 points but his teammates combined for only 4-11.  Marc Loving led all first half scorers with 11, while the Bulldogs’ LeAntwan Luckett led Louisiana Tech with 10.

For the game, Louisiana Tech used a balanced attack, putting 4 in double figures, led by Alex Hamilton’s 24 and many of those came from getting to the rim off the bounce, something Ohio State just could not contain. Eric McCree added 17 and Jacobi Boykins dropped in 16, while LeAntwan Luckett finished with 10 for the victorious Bulldog squad. Ohio State had some bright spots in the game as Marc Loving finished with a career high 25 points to go along with six rebounds. Keita Bates-Diop had 12, while Jae’Sean Tate and JaQuan Lyle each had 10. Tate also picked up 12 rebounds as the Buckeyes shot 46 percent from the field.

Louisiana Tech looked like the more seasoned team from the jump and it showed with their patience offensively. Ohio State tied it midway through the second half, but once again, the patient Bulldogs answered with an 8-0 run to pull away. Ohio State got as close as 3 down the stretch, but missed free throws and the inability to get stops when needed ultimately cost the Buckeyes in this one. The young Bucks will continue to learn and get better, but on this night, they weren’t the better team.

There won’t be much time to dwell on this game as the Buckeyes will go on the road and play a neutral site game against Memphis in Miami on Friday at 7:30PM as part of the Hoophall Miami Invitational.

-Jason Harris

Lackadaisical Effort Plagues Buckeyes In Upset Loss To UT-Arlington
November 20, 2015

For only the second time in the Thad Matta era, the Buckeyes lost to an unranked non conference opponent, falling to the visiting UT Arlington Mavericks 73-68. The Mavericks utilized a 12-2 run at the start of the second 20 minutes to turn a 2 point deficit into an 8 point lead and never trailed again to upset the young Buckeyes. Playing their third game in six days, the Buckeyes looked like a team running on fumes as they were outrebounded 46-37, allowed 19 points off turnovers.

Ohio State led by a deuce at the break thanks to 6-12 shooting from long range led by Keita Bates-Diop’s 8 and the overall play of Daniel Giddens who chipped in 4 points to go along with 5 boards and 5 blocked shots. Even with the lead, the Mavericks were the aggressor, getting to all the loose balls and dominating in the post.

The second half wasn’t much different as UT Arlington kept attacking the glass to the tune of 34 points in the paint. The game could’ve still gone the Buckeyes way had they shot free throws with any consistency, hitting just 13 of their 27 attempts. The Buckeyes also struggled from long range in the second half finishing the game just 6 of 23 beyond the arc. Kevin Hervey of the Mavericks led all scorers with 18 and Erick Neal added 17, while Bates-Diop led the Buckeyes with 16 and Jaquan Lyle and Marc Loving chipped in with 15 and 12 respectively.

The scheduling probably wasn’t friendly this early in the season with such a young team playing so many games in such a short time frame, but the mental toughness will develop. As with any young team, patience is key. So it’s back to the drawing board for the Buckeyes. A good early season wake-up call perhaps and a good teaching moment for Thad Matta and his staff as the Buckeyes schedule ramps up in the coming weeks beginning with Memphis a week from tonight in Miami.

First, the Buckeyes take on Louisiana Tech in the Schott on Tuesday night at 8PM.

-Jason Harris

Buckeyes Cruise Past Tigers
November 17, 2015

The Basketball Buckeyes took the floor for the second time in 3 days, and showed little rust, using a 14-0 run midway through the first half to pull away and dominate the outmanned Grambling Tigers 82-55 to up their early record to 2-0. Ohio State capitalized on 7 Grambling turnovers in 9 possessions during the decisive run and took advantage jumping out to a 44-20 halftime lead.

Using hot shooting, the Bucks hit 5 of its first 7 from downtown and were led in the first 20 by Keita Bates-Diop’s 12, while Marc Loving and Kam Williams added 10 each. The Buckeyes finished the half shooting at a 59% clip and holding the Tigers to just 29%.

While the Buckeyes are still dealing with a bit of the turnover bug, which is to be expected with the mixture of rotations that coach Thad Matta employed throughout and such a young squad, the Buckeyes turned it over 17 times, but aggressive defense, jumping in the passing lanes, and relentless on the ball defense forced Grambling into 21 of their own.

The hot outside shooting continued in the second half with Kam Williams hitting from deep and Freshman Austin Grandstaff knocking down a couple of his own, the Buckeyes extended the lead and led by as many as 34 before finally finishing with the 27 point margin. As hot as the shooting from the floor was on the evening for the Buckeyes, they struggled mightily at the line, shooting only 50%, knocking down just 13 of 26 attempts. But talent prevailed on this night, led by Kam Williams, who scored a Buckeye and game high 22, while Keita Bates-Diop and Marc Loving each added 14.

The Buckeyes tip off their 3rd game in 6 days on Friday as they play host to UT-Arlington at 7PM in the Schott.

-Jason Harris

Buckeyes Use Size To Outclass Pesky Mountaineers
November 15, 2015

Ohio State opened the 2015-16 season cruising to a 76-54 victory which enabled Thad Matta to win his 300th game as the Buckeye front man. The Buckeyes utilized a 17-0 run midway through the first half and from there put it on cruise control, using superior size and athletic ability to run away from a Mountaineer team playing its second Big Ten opponent in 3 days. Mount lost to Maryland in College Park on Friday 80-56.

During the first 20 minutes the Buckeyes used their size and unselfish play to run out to a 20 point halftime lead. During the decisive 17-0 run, Jae’Sean Tate had 11 of the Buckeyes’ 17. The bigger Buckeyes dominated the paint, outscoring the smaller Mountaineers 28-8 in the paint and having a decisive rebounding edge 29-8, led by Keita Bates-Diop and Marc Loving with 8 and 7 rips respectively. Utilizing some hot outside shooting, Tate led all scorers with 14, including 2 from beyond the arc.  JaQuan Lyle added 11 with his ability to slash and get to the rim.

Overall, the Buckeyes put five guys finish in double-figures led by Jae’Sean Tate’s game high 21 and nine boards. Marc Loving and Keita Bates-Diop both recorded double-doubles with Loving dropping 15 points and 11 rebounds and Bates-Diop adding 10 each. Freshman PG JaQuan Lyle added 12 and off the bench, freshman center Daniel Giddens had 11.

For the game, Ohio State hit 50% of its shots, including 6-15 from deep, while limiting Mount St. Mary’s to just 33% shooting and just 7-25 from long range. Ohio State turned the ball over 18 times, while only forcing 8, but were able to overcome that by getting many second chance opportunities, with 13 offensive rebounds and overall outrebounding Mount 50-22 for the game.

Game 2 on the schedule comes Tuesday as the Buckeyes host Grambling at the Schott at 7 PM.

University Decides To Expand Sale Of Alcohol
November 11, 2015

The next round is on me boys!

In the latest evidence that Ohio State is really about the buck instead of the Buckeyes, they have announced the expansion of alcohol sales at athletic events at Value City Arena.  Beginning with the men’s basketball game against Mount St. Mary’s on Sunday, alcohol will be available for purchase throughout the arena for sports.  It has always been available for concerts.  The sale of beer and wine at Ohio State athletic events had been limited to the club level.

There is no indication at this time if they will expand sales at Ohio Stadium.

Ohio State Outlasts Hot Shooting Walsh 92-82
November 8, 2015

The Ohio State basketball Buckeyes debuted its 2015-16 squad at the Schottenstein Center on Sunday afternoon and most who witnessed, came away impressed at the athleticism and shooting touch of this version of Thad Matta’s Buckeyes. In a game in which the Buckeyes led from start to finish, the Cavaliers came to play as it was neck and neck throughout thanks to some hot shooting by Walsh guard Jesse Hardin, Jr., who lit up the afternoon going 7 of 11 from deep on his way to a game high 27. His counterpart, guard Zac Carter, hit 5 of 7 from deep, scoring 21, keeping the smaller Walsh outfit close throughout.

Ohio State led 43-40 after the first 20 minutes in what was an uneven performance. The Buckeyes clearly had the edge in athleticism and size, but kept Walsh in the game by committing 15 fouls, 3 each by big men Trevor Thompson and Daniel Giddens, allowing Walsh outscore the Buckeyes 11-5 at the line. Ohio State was led in the first 20 by Kieta Bates-Diop, who splashed the nets with 3 from deep in route to a 15 point first half to lead all scorers. Marc Loving added 9, but it was the Cavalier shooting that was the story, hitting 8 from downtown, while only scoring 6 from inside the arc. Walsh’s hot shooting was led by Jesse Hardin, who knocked down 4 triples for 14 first half points to lead Walsh.

Ohio State maintained the lead throughout the second half and finally was able to pull away from the pesky Cavaliers late, led by Keita Bates-Diop who knocked down 4 from beyond the arc, including a couple in a row down the stretch, oh his way to a Buckeye high in scoring of 26. Marc Loving, the elder statesman of this year’s squad, chipped in 3 3’s of his own on his way to a double-double with 24 points and a game high 10 rebounds. Freshman guard JaQuan Lyle, who also started the game at the point for the Buckeyes chipped in 19 in his Ohio State debut showing his ability to put it on the floor and get to the rim on several occasions throughout the game. The Buckeyes playing without sophomore forward and emotional leader Jae’Sean Tate, out with a mildly sprained ankle, used their size to out rebound the smaller Walsh team 43-34, while both teams took care of the basketball only turning it over 9 times for Ohio State to 7 for Walsh.

Ohio State gets it started for real on Sunday, November 15 at noon when they host Mount St. Mary’s at the Schott.

-Jason Harris

Buckeyes Hold Open Scrimmage
October 19, 2015

The 2015-16 version of the Ohio State men’s basketball team was on display on Saturday afternoon in the Schott. Thad Matta’s boys held a live, officiated scrimmage in front of a sparse crowd. The Scarlet squad was coached by Greg Paulus, while Dave Dickerson directed the Gray squad. However, there was an occasional jersey color switch to get the matchups Coach Matta was looking for. Although it is tough to gain too much of a perspective from a scrimmage like this, the athleticism and potential depth Coach Matta will have at his disposal was evident.

The Buckeyes will have more depth in the post this year than they have had since Jared Sullinger left the program. All the bigs look athletic and active in the paint and run the floor very well. Redshirt sophomore transfer Trevor Thompson seems to have the leg up to start at the 5. He showed length and athleticism as well as some very nice post moves. Redshirt Freshman Dave Bell arrived on campus needing to put on some weight and by the looks of him, he’s done just that. He looked much stronger and showed a lot of confidence in the post and the ability to challenge shots around the rim. True Freshman Daniel Giddens may have the highest ceiling of the three. Giddens looks strong and lean and showed a tremendous leaping ability as well as a high basketball IQ which puts him in the right position both defensively and offensively. He will provide a shot blocking presence in the middle that Ohio State has lacked the last couple of years, which will enable Coach Matta to play the more aggressive perimeter defense he’s been unable to employ of late.

On the perimeter, the Buckeyes have much more depth and shooting ability than in recent years. On the wings, the Buckeyes look to have athleticism and ability to attack the basket off the dribble. Jae’Sean Tate looks to be the leader on and off the court for this young squad. He showed a lot of confidence attacking the rim but did struggle when asked to shoot it from long range. In order to stretch defenses, the Buckeyes will lean on a trio of veteran players as well as one newcomer. The primary shooters the Buckeyes will lean on will be led by redshirt Sophomore Kam Williams, who also showed an ability to put it on the floor and get to the glass. Also adding a perimeter threat will be Sophomore Keita Bates-Diop, Junior Marc Loving, and Freshman Austin Grandstaff. All three showed an ability to knock it down from long range, with Bates-Diop also adding the ability to get inside and use his long arms to create offense. Adding depth to that group will be Freshman Mickey Mitchell who plays with a lot of confidence, but will rely on creating off the dribble and using his long frame to get to the rim and create contact.

Running the point will fall primarily into the hands of two true freshmen, JaQuan Lyle and A.J. Harris. Each player provides something a little different. Lyle has size and length and the ability to create and may be more of a pure scorer than his counterpart. Harris, while smaller in stature at 5’8″ looks to be more of a pass first point guard but did show the ability to knock down the long jumper if need be. A.J. looks to have lightening quick hands and will give opposing guards fits with his tenaciousness on the defensive end. Lyle is more of a score first guard, who can stretch defenses with his shooting ability but can also create off the dribble and get to the rim.

There are certainly a lot of new faces on this year’s team, but what they lack in experience, they make up in athleticism and depth. Don’t count this bunch out quite yet. There are a lot of unknowns and they will have a lot of learning to do, but with Thad Matta and company leading them, look for a lot of great things from this bunch this year and beyond. If anything else, they will be fun to watch.

-Jason Harris

Oden Signs to Play Professionally in China
August 13, 2015

According to multiple reports, former Ohio State center, Greg Oden will sign a one year, $1.2 million deal to play with China’s Jiangsu Dragons. Oden had previously worked out with the NBA’s Hornets and Mavericks this offseason and hasn’t played since spending the 2013-14 season with the Miami Heat. The Dragons play in the South Division of the Chinese Basketball Association and currently employ one other American on their roster in Arnett Moultrie, a 6’10” power forward from Mississippi State.

-Jason Harris

Russell Taken With Second Overall Pick of 2015 Draft
June 25, 2015

The Buckeyes and Thad Matta continue to supply NBA players into the first round of the draft.

The Lakers chose D’Angelo Russell with the second pick in the NBA draft, bypassing Jahlil Okafor.  Russell averaged 19.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists in his only season with Ohio State, and he surged to the front of his draft class in the past two months. Los Angeles chose the dynamic ball-handler over Okafor, the Duke big man considered the draft’s other elite prospect alongside Russell and top pick Karl-Anthony Towns.

Russell looks forward to the opportunity of playing and learning in a backcourt with Kobe Bryant, who will be 37 years old this fall when he returns from his second major injury for his 20th NBA season.

”I’m really looking forward to him taking me under his wing, if possible, and really just feeding me the most knowledge he can,” Russell said at the draft in Brooklyn. ”To be in this position on that franchise, on the West Coast, in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, is a great opportunity to really take my game to the next level.”

Coach Byron Scott was thrilled by the pick, praising Russell’s poise and leadership in his three-on-three workouts for the Lakers.

A Look Back : LeBron 2001 Interview
June 10, 2015

Buckeye fans in Columbus and around the nation are tuned into the NBA finals as LeBron James puts the Cavs on his back and tries to bring home a championship.  WBNS Channel 10 reposted an interview of James during his sophomore year in high school just after he won his second state title.  And how did the interview, none other than an up and coming reporter named Kirk. LeBron Interview

Next Season’s ACC-Big Ten Match-ups Announced
May 13, 2015

OSU will have basically a whole new team next season, and at least one of their nonconference opponents will be someone they have not seen for a long time.

The Buckeyes will host Virginia on December 1 in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, the game will be played on Wednesday night.  Other match-ups of note include Maryland at North Carolina, Indiana at Duke, Louisville at Michigan State and Wisconsin at Syracuse.

Ohio State is 3-1 all-time against Virginia. This will be the teams’ first meeting since 1981.

Buckeyes Await Decision From Gibbs
May 11, 2015

Sterling Gibbs, a 6’2” 185lb point guard from Seton Hall, rated the top transfer available by ESPN, visited Thad Matta and the basketball Buckeyes over the weekend and left with a scholarship offer in hand according to his father, Temple Gibbs.  As reported in the Columbus Dispatch, Sterling will visit UConn this week and decide between the Buckeyes, UConn and Pittsburgh shortly after that visit.

Last season with the Pirates, Gibbs averaged 16.3 points and 3.8 assists, while shooting 43.6% from behind the arc and finishing as a 2nd team All Big East selection.  Gibbs, played his freshman year at Texas before transferring near his New Jersey home to Seton Hall.  He has played the last two seasons there, blossoming into an impact guard.

Under the graduate transfer rules, he would be eligible immediately and could step in and become a floor general for the 2015-16 Buckeye team, who lack an experienced point guard with the defection to the NBA of D’Angelo Russell and the graduation of Shannon Scott.  He would also fill a leadership void for a team that lacks a senior.  As it currently stands, incoming freshmen, AJ Harris of Dayton, and Jaquan Lyle of Huntington, WV via IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL would be the probables to fill the point guard role.

– Jason Harris

Buckeye50 Basketball Coverage – Year 11
April 5 2015

For the eleventh straight year, Buckeye 50 will continue to bring you OSU basketball stories in addition to our extensive coverage of the football program.  In spite of Coach Matta’s huge success in Columbus, this will always be a football town.  But we know there are plenty of Buckeye basketball fans as well and we are thrilled that you continue to visit our site.  Our goal is to continue to bring you great coverage of  Buckeye Hoops and support  the boys on the hard floor.