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tBBC 2nd Thoughts: Ohio State > Iowa

Discussion in 'News' started by Ken, Mar 1, 2016.

  1. Ken

    Ken Guest

    2nd Thoughts: Ohio State > Iowa
    via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
    Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here

    (Image courtesy

    He did a lot of this on Sunday.

    The Buckeyes (19-11, 11-6) had one of their more inspired efforts Sunday afternoon. It was Ohio State’s last regular season game of the year and they went out in style with an exciting 68-64 win over (for now) #8 Iowa.

    Certainly not to take anything away from Iowa’s team performance, but the heart and soul of the Hawkeyes is guard Mike Gesell. The 6’2″ senior led the team in scoring (punctuated by two dunks on Ohio State) had 16 points, 5 assists, 2 steals, 2 rebounds and only 1 turnover. That is as solid of a line score you’ll see. Since Gesell averages 8 ppg for the season, his performance against the Buckeyes is noteworthy. For you younger players, if you want to see how the game should be played; Be Like Mike.

    Viewing Experience

    The first half was better than the second half. Aside from ESPN’s atrocious camera angles, this was a good experience. This game had some interesting statistics. For example:

    • Rebounds-Iowa 35,OSU 33. I’m still not going to get worked up over this too much. OSU held an edge in ‘points in paint’ (34-26) and ‘2nd chance points’ (14-10). It’s nice to out-rebound your opponent, but it’s nicer to do more with the opportunities that you generate.
    • Ball Handling – OSU 15 Turnovers, Iowa 15 Turnovers. This turned out to be a wash and Iowa outscored OSU on ‘points off turnovers’ 18-15, but; Ohio State played the last +15 minutes without a turnover. At the time, the game was tied 39 all, so playing an immaculate ball-handling game most likely provided Ohio State with enough offensive efficiency to pull this game out.
    • Live/Die By The Three (Iowa). Iowa typically scores 24 points er game from 3-PT shots. They make, on average, 8 of 21 attempts per game, a 38% clip. Against they shot 25%. They made only 3-12 (9 points). For whatever reason, the Buckeyes took Iowa out of their perimeter comfort zone.
    • Game of Thrones Runs (OSU). The Buckeyes seemed to figure out how to close end-of-half play against Iowa. In the last 4 minutes (3:55 actually) of the 1st half, Ohio State went on a 9-2 run to take a 35-30 halftime lead. In the last 4 minutes (4:07) of the 2nd half, they went on a 6-2 run to secure the win. Earlier in the season, Ohio State would let “end-of-half” play get away from them, which would either give their opponent momentum going into 2nd half, or lose the game. This taking control of the last few minutes by Ohio State is a positive step.

    The Thad Matta Factor

    I’m pretty sure that Thad thoroughly enjoyed the game. A conference win is always smile-provoking and Thad must have been truly pleased with the performance of his veterans (Loving, Bates-Diop), his younger players (Mitchell, Lyle) and, of course, Kam Williams.

    That’s it. Ain’t no mo’. Fortunately, Thad has some flexibility in his lineup to go”big” or “small”, depending on opponent matchup, player performance, etc. Granted, it’s late in the season, but it’s a series of positive steps like this that show me the team is pointed in the right direction.

    The Three Two Magi:

    In Jae’Sean Tate’s absence, Marc Loving and Kieta Bates-Diop stepped up to provide the impetus (see below) for an undermanned Ohio State team to get the win.

    Marc had an afternoon where he provided an efficient 25 points and 3 rebounds to steady the Buckeyes. He had a decent (7-13 FG, 4-6 3-pt, 7-9 FT) offensive game. And by “decent”, I mean he made baskets and free throws at key moments against Iowa. In the first half, Marc’s points seemed to be at a time to keep Iowa at arms length. In the second half, they came at times to keep OSU with a possession or two and keep OSU in the game. Of course, his closing two free throws iced the game for the Buckeyes.

    Kieta Bates-Diop had another stellar performance. He picked a good afternoon for it. Although maybe not as impressive as his Rutgers performance, Kieta was was efficient offensively, was an effective rebounder and his 4 blocks were significant. Especially his last one.

    Lineup Mix-n-Match:

    Freshman Mickey Mitchell looked somewhat comfortable in the starting lineup; much more so than he did against Michigan State. I’m sure the Spartans had something to do with it. In 25 minutes of play he scored a season/career high 6 points (3-3 FG) led the team with 7 rebounds and blocked a shot. This was a good “get on track” game for Mickey.

    Kam Williams (5-11 FG, 1-4* 3-PT, 2 offensive rebounds) scored 11 points in 21 minutes. He is fun to watch, isn’t he? He provides Instant Offense from the bench and provides Thad the lineup flexibility that he can rotate through the lineup in place of Mitchell/Loving/Bates-Diop.

    Freshman A.J. Harris had a pretty meh 17 minutes. No FG’s, 2-2 from FT line, 2 assists and 1 turnover. He didn’t set the world on fire, but things didn’t go to hell when he was on the court, either. He also provided JaQuan Lyle some time to rest.

    Speaking of JaQuan, he was scoreless (0-6), but he did have 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. If you can’t score, you need to find other ways to contribute and JaQuan certainly did that. Good game, lad.

    * Kam was actually 2-4, but …

    Ball Control:

    The Buckeyes had 15 turnovers, which matched Iowa’s 15 turnovers. Iowa “won” the ‘points off turnovers’ battle, 18-15. However, it was not all gloom & doom, by any stretch of the imagination.

    Iowa entered the game averaging 10.1 turnovers per game. The Buckeyes forced then into an “additional” 5 empty possessions on Sunday. Not that Ohio State was terribly efficient in “flipping” possession. but it’s tough to lose when your opponent comes up empty on more possessions that you do.

    The other observation is that Ohio State had only 4 turnovers in the 2nd half, 3 of them in the first two minutes of the half. The last OSU turnover was by Marc Loving at the 15:27 mark with the score tied at 39 all. The Buckeyes played the last 15 minutes, and overtime, without committing a turnover. That’s damn impressive.

    Interior play, Center(s) of Attention:

    The Buckeyes had ‘meh’ results with their center play. Trevor Thompson was scoreless in 20 minutes, (0-3) but did grab 6 rebounds. Daniel Giddens had 5 points (2-5), but did not get any rebounds in 18 minutes. David Bell had 2 rebounds in 2 minutes of play. So, it appeared the Ohio State centers could either score (somewhat) or rebound, but they couldn’t do both against Iowa.

    If nothing else, Ohio State’s Triple Towers do provide a bit of an inside defensive presence and can wear down an opponent’s center combination through sheer foul attrition. When you have 15 fouls to give at one position, you can provide some stress to an opponent.

    Up Next…

    The Buckeyes (19-11, 11-6) visit #6 Michigan State (22-5, 11-3) for a Saturday afternoon game. Tip off is scheduled for 12:00 noon ET. You can catch the game on ESPN, 97.1 or Gametracker. The Spartans rolled Penn State 88-57 on Sunday and travel to Piscataway on Wednesday to play Rutgers.

    The post 2nd Thoughts: Ohio State > Iowa appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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