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17-18 Season
Big Comeback Propels Buckeyes to 2-0 Big Ten Start 
December 4, 2017

Ohio State, less than 48 hours removed from a big road win at Wisconsin, dug out of a huge first half hole, rallying to defeat Michigan 71-62 to move to 2-0 in Big Ten play and 7-3 overall. It was a game of big runs on both sides as Michigan could do no wrong early turning a 6 point lead at the 8 minute mark into a 16 point advantage just 5 minutes later, utilizing their quickness and hot shooting from deep to build a big lead. That lead quickly stretched to 20 and it looked like it would be a tough night for Ohio State. Just when you thought they were out of it and mentally exhausted from the quick turnaround, a Keita Bates-Diop 3, combined with a foul in the post put Kaleb Wesson to the stripe and he buried both and the Buckeyes in one possession cut the lead to 15. A thunderous slam from Jae’Sean Tate from the right baseline capped off a 7-0 run that left Ohio State with momentum but still trailing 43-30 as both teams went to the locker room.  

The momentum carried over into the second half as a quick 5-0 run cut the Michigan lead to just 8, forcing coach John Beilein to take a timeout with just under 18 minutes remaining to try an stem the tide. That didn’t happen. Keyed by suffocating defense, Ohio State kept the foot on the gas and heading into the under 16 timeout, the lead was cut to just 5. When Michigan finally did hit a 3 from the left corner, it ended a 16-0 run spanning both halves and had cut the lead to just 4. The Buckeyes finally took their first lead of the game at the 12:29 mark on Bates-Diop’s two free throws and that lead was stretched to 5 with 9 minutes to go, forcing Michigan to call another timeout. Each team traded baskets before Michigan went on a 9-0 run of their own, turning the Buckeye 5 point lead into a 4 point deficit. That lead would be short lived as Ohio State clamped down on defense again and after a Tate runner in the lane got the Buckeyes within two, a Kam Williams jumper with just under 4 minutes to go tied the game and the Buckeyes would not trail again. The rest of the damage by Ohio State came at the free throw line, burying 11 of their final 12 attempts and playing lock down defense to secure the win. Bates-Diop led Ohio State with 18 points and 9 rebounds and C.J. Jackson, who once again came off the bench, added 17 and Tate chipped in 14 for the winners. Michigan, who was led by Moritz Wagner’s 14 shot just 17% from the floor in the second half as Ohio State ramped up the intensity, not only guarding better on the perimeter, but frustrating Michigan with active hands in the post as well. Ohio State also did a much better job taking care of the ball in the second half, turning it over just 3 times compared to 7 in the opening 20 minutes.  

I’ll take a show of hands from those of you who thought Ohio State would be sitting at 2-0 and tied for first in the Big Ten going into January. I bet even the most die-hard Buckeye fans wearing scarlet and gray glasses wouldn’t have expected this, but that’s exactly what we have. This is a fun basketball team to watch. They play with tremendous energy and have no quit in them. It’s a refreshing style of basketball after the last few years of having some complacency in the program. There will be some ups and downs with this team because it is a young group but enjoy what they have done and will continue to do as the season progresses. For now, enjoy first place Buckeye nation, it may not last all season but it’s fun being back on top again, if only for a few more weeks.

The Buckeyes head back out of conference for the rest of December, hosting the William and Mary Tribe on Saturday in the Schott. Tip for that game is high noon.
 ​- Jason Harris​
Buckeyes Return To Non-Conference Schedule With Another Win 
December 9, 2017

The Ohio State Basketball Buckeyes played a couple of bigs down but it didn’t matter as Ohio State rolled past William and Mary 97-62. Playing without Micah Potter and Kyle Young. The depth of Ohio State was challenged and despite looking a little sleepy early on the defensive end, they woke up and ran past the Tribe, locking down their defense and getting whatever they wanted in the paint against a combination man and zone defense employed by William and Mary. With both bigs out, the lone post player was Kaleb Wesson so Keita Bates-Diop was forced to play both the 4 and 5 and although he struggled at times defensively, broke out with a career high 27 points, hitting 11 of his 16 attempts, with many of them coming from the middle of the zone.  

The Buckeyes knew they’d have to stretch the floor defensively due to the Tribe’s propensity to shoot the 3 ball and early they were exposed with dribble drive penetration. Once they shored that up, they blew the game open late in the first half. After trading buckets early and trailing by a point with just over 12 minutes left in the first half, the Buckeyes went on a 27-4 run that sealed the win, going into the locker room with a 16 point lead. For the game, they held the Tribe to just 5 of 16 from long range, well below their season average of 47%. The second half was more of the same as the Bucks hit 10 of their first 11 shot attempts and built the lead to 40 before finishing with the 35-point win. Bates-Diop led all scorers with 27 while Kaleb Wesson, who was very effective early, finished with 17 and C.J. Jackson, who was re-inserted into the starting lineup finished with 16 and Kam Williams added 13 for the Buckeyes who moved to 8-3 on the season.

Now the Buckeyes take a bit of a break to complete final exams, but riding a bit of a high, winning 3 in a row, including the 2 conference wins. This was a game that was challenging on paper due to the Tribe’s ability to shoot the basketball but to their credit, after the sluggish start, they rose to the challenge and will feel pretty confident about themselves going into the week off. They have demonstrated an ability to hit from deep, while the offense certainly flows best coming from the interior with Wesson and the length of Bates-Diop and strength of Jae’Sean Tate. They have a couple of tune-ups prior to the showdown in New Orleans with the defending national champion North Carolina Tarheels.

Next up is a home tilt with the Appalachian State Mountaineers next Saturday evening. Tip time for that game is 6pm. 
 ​- Jason Harris​
Buckeyes Battle but Fall to Tarheels 
December 23, 2017

The Ohio State basketball Buckeyes showed they belonged but fell short of the upset, falling to the hot shooting 5th ranked North Carolina Tarheels by a final score of 86-72. Carolina struggled to get anything going inside but the perimeter was a different story, scorching the nets for 13 three’s. The long range shooting, combined with a late first half run was the difference in the Tarheel victory. The Buckeyes creeped as close as 9 and had the ball with under 6 minutes remaining, but a couple turnovers and runouts from the Tarheels ballooned the lead to 19 with under 4 minutes remaining. The Buckeyes didn’t quit, cutting the lead to 12 after Keita Bates-Diop completed an old fashioned three point play with just under 2 minutes to go, and then to 9 after a Bates-Diop triple with a minute remaining, but they just had too big a hole to climb out of against a team as talented as the defending national champions. Ohio State was led in scoring by Bates-Diop who dropped in 26 and C.J. Jackson added 19.  Kaleb Wesson chipped in 12, all in the second half for the Buckeye attack. Jae’Sean Tate added 9 points and 9 rebounds as the Buckeyes fell to 10-4 with one more game in December. 

The first half went back and forth early but thanks to some poor officiating, 9 triples from the Heels and foul trouble to the two Buckeye leaders, Bates-Diop and Tate, the Tarheels went to the locker room with a 14-point cushion. Bates-Diop, playing several minutes with 2 fouls, hit a free throw, completing a 3 point play and tying the game at 23, then exiting for the half. Following his exit, the Tarheels finished the half on an 18-4 run and all but killing Ohio State’s hopes of an upset. Jackson, who scored Ohio State’s first 11 of the game, led the Buckeyes with 15 in the first half, while Bates-Diop in limited minutes, added 7.

A win in a game like this certainly would’ve helped the resume, but a loss doesn’t necessarily hurt it. There are plenty of positives to take from this game as well as some things they will need to shore up to win a game of this magnitude. They were most definitely hurt by some poor officiating and key players in foul trouble but it wasn’t necessarily the reason they came up short. Overall, this is looking more and more like a team that will belong in the dance in March but they will need to come up with some big wins in the conference to solidify their stance. Fortunately, this is an improving team and there are several opportunities for a signature win or two.

Ohio State will finish 2017, hosting the Miami Redhawks in the Schott, next Saturday. Tip time is high noon.

 ​- Jason Harris​
Buckeyes Down Mountaineers 
December 16, 2017

Ohio State coming off a week layoff didn’t miss a beat, rolling to their 4th straight victory, defeating Appalachian State 80-67, moving to 9-3 on the season. The Buckeyes opened up a somewhat close game early, going on a 6-0 run late in the half, capped off by a great hustle play by Keita Bates-Diop. He dove on the floor near the midcourt stripe, scooping the loose ball and having the presence of mind to pitch it to Andrew Dakich, who drove to the rim, spun and found a streaking Jae’Sean Tate for the slam, stretching the lead to 10 and ultimately to a 13-point Buckeye lead at the break.  

Ohio State exploded out of the gate in the second 20 minutes, stretching the lead to 17 before App State converted an and one opportunity, cutting the lead to 15 before alarms began sounding throughout the Schottenstein center causing both teams to leave the floor and ending up emptying the arena. The delay lasted approximately 15 minutes when fans came back out and play resumed on the floor. Apparently, a smoke alarm was tripped in a concession area causing a bizarre turn of events within the Schottenstein Center.  

Following the delay, the Mountaineers went on a bit of a run of their own, cutting the Buckeye lead to just 9, which was the closest they would get as the Buckeyes stretched the lead to as many as 20 before settling with a 13 point win. Utilizing a strong inside game, and length defensively on the perimeter, the Buckeyes were able to impose their will on the Mountaineers. Tate led the Buckeyes with 19 and Bates-Diop added 18 and 8 rips while Kaleb Wesson continued to be a force in the paint for Ohio State, scoring 16 and pulling down 9 boards.  Kam Williams also chipped in 11 for the winning Ohio State attack.  

The Buckeyes showed little rust after their week long break of games for final exams beating an athletic group of Appalachian State Mountaineers who despite their poor record, will most likely prove to be a solid win at year end. The schedule will now get back to normal, playing a couple games per week to finish December before jumping back into conference play in January.  

The Buckeyes next host The Citadel on Tuesday night at the Schott with tip coming for that one at 7pm. 
 ​- Jason Harris​
Buckeyes Run Away From The Citadel 
December 19, 2017

In a final tune-up prior to the big showdown in New Orleans with defending national champion, #5 North Carolina, the Ohio State men’s basketball team dispatched The Citadel Bulldogs in short order by a final score of 94-65. The Buckeyes led from wire to wire, taking a 22-point lead into the locker room at in large part due to a 15-0 run late in the half. It was a game where Coach Chris Holtmann was able to get a lot of time for his bench with no player playing more than 18 minutes and 11 of the 13 players reaching the scoring column.  

The Buckeyes as a team assisted on a season high 27 of 37 made field goals and outscored the Bulldogs 22-0 in fast break points. The Citadel plays and up and down style of basketball and the Buckeyes to their credit did a great job in their transition defense, which limited the Bulldogs’ opportunities. The Citadel, one of 7 Division 1 schools without a senior on the roster and struggling with limited size in the post, settled for long jumpers all evening, attempting a season high 42 threes, making just 13.  Keita Bates-Diop and Kam Williams led Ohio State in scoring with 17 apiece, while C.J. Jackson added 13 and 7 assists and Andrew Dakich chipped in a career high 10 to go along with 5 dimes.  

After playing limited minutes in recent games of late, both Kyle Young and Micah Potter saw significant minutes and both pulled down 8 rebounds in the win. For the game, Ohio State shot 50% from the floor and hitting 13 of 35 3-point attempts with a handful of those attempts coming in the waning minutes from the walk-ons looking to get in the scorebook. 

The Buckeyes run of cupcakes ends with promotion to the adults table on Saturday and they will go in with a lot of confidence. They have done a much better job of taking care of the basketball and lead all of college basketball in field goal percentage since the calendar turned to December. They will be challenged in the post but if they can stay fundamental, not try to make the big play, but make the smart play, they will have a chance to compete against Carolina. Either way, it is a no lose situation for the Buckeyes. If they lose, they were supposed to, but if they can pull the upset, then they will have the biggest win on their resume in several years which will go a long way in determining their fate in March.  

Next up, Ohio State heads to New Orleans, where they will take on the 5th ranked North Carolina Tarheels in the CBS Sports Classic. Tip time on CBS is scheduled for 1:30pm. 

 ​- Jason Harris​
Ohio State Finishes 2017 Slate With a Win 
December 30, 2017

Ohio State, who hadn’t played since the loss to North Carolina a week ago, came out flat, but mustered enough energy to pull out a 72-59 win over a pesky Miami Redhawk squad. The Buckeyes controlled most of the first half and on several occasions looked like they were going to pull away but Miami answered with some big shots that kept the Buckeyes within arms length. Neither team shot the ball particularly well early and despite hitting just 3 of their first 16, Ohio State began to pull away, doubling Miami up at 18-9 forcing the Redhawks to call a timeout with just under 9 minutes remaining in the first half. Miami would answer, closing to within a hoop, but Ohio State closed the half with a run of their own and after a Redhawk buzzer beater from mid court rimmed just out, the teams went into the locker room with the Buckeyes leading just 35-28.  CJ Jackson and Keita Bates-Diop led Ohio State in the first 20 minutes with 8 apiece. 

The second half went back and forth early until a 12-2 run gave the Buckeyes their largest lead of 17 and it looked like Ohio State would run away with it, but Miami once again answered, going on a 13-1 run to cut the lead to 5 at the midway point of the second half. Ohio State would pull away a little again, stretching the lead to 9 at the under 8 timeout, but Miami would fight and claw and would not go away and behind some timely 3 balls, they closed to within 3 with 6 minutes remaining. That would be as close as they would get as Ohio State cranked up the pressure on the defensive end and finished the game on a 15-5 run to complete their 11th win on the season. Bates-Diop led the Buckeyes with 19 points and 9 boards and Jackson added 16 and 6 assists.  Kam Williams also hit some timely shots down the stretch and finished with 15 while Jae’Sean Tate added 11 for the victorious Buckeyes.  

That will complete the non-conference portion of the schedule for the 2017-18 Buckeyes and sitting at 11-4 is probably the best even the most optimistic of Buckeye fan could’ve hoped for. The unusual mix of a pair of conference games early, means the Buckeyes will head into January not only 11-4 overall, but 2-0 in Big Ten play and playing with some confidence. If I had to assign a letter grade to the so called ‘1st season’, I would give them a B+. They have played about as well as I expected but at the same time, there are some areas that need cleaning heading into conference play. They are improving at taking care of the basketball but there are times when they try to make the perfect play or pass instead of just making the smart play. They also must do a better job on the glass. They are allowing teams way too many opportunities on the offensive end and Big Ten teams will make them pay. Having said that, this team has the capability and potential to finish in the top half of the conference and threaten to gain a bid into the NCAA tournament in March. The return of Keita Bates-Diop from injury has been a big boost for this team both offensively and his ability to defend with his length and the emergence of C.J. Jackson as a scorer has been a big boost for this basketball team in its attempt to find that 3rd and 4th scoring option. Stay tuned for a wild ride throughout January and February in Big Ten play. It all starts next week and it should be a lot of fun. 

Ohio State will resume Big Ten play next Thursday in a winnable road game at Iowa. Tip for that one is set for 7 p.m.  

 ​- Jason Harris​
Buckeyes Move to 3-0 in the Big Ten 
January 4, 2018

Ohio State kicked off 2018 with a solid road win utilizing some hot shooting early to pull away from Iowa, defeating the Hawkeyes 92-81 moving to 3-0 in conference play. The Buckeyes were able to pull away in the first half and held off a couple Iowa runs in the second half, answering each time and walking away with a comfortable victory.  

The first half story was reserve Andrew Dakich who came off the bench to replace C.J. Jackson who had to sit with foul trouble for much of the half. Dakich came in and became a stabilizing force, dropping 5 assists during his 14 first half minutes without turning it over despite some full court pressure applied by the Hawkeyes. The Buckeyes opened up a tight game early with a 12-4 run midway through the half to take control and after a Keita Bates-Diop driving layup late in the half, the Buckeyes enjoyed their largest lead of 17. Mr. Inside, Jae’Sean Tate and Mr. Outside, Kam Williams each had 11 points as Ohio State hit the locker room with a comfortable 14-point lead at the half.

Out of the gate in the second 20 minutes, the Hawkeyes were the team with energy and the Buckeyes looked out of sorts, as the Hawkeyes cut the Buckeyes lead down to as close as 5. Ohio State would then go on an 8-0 run, led by Keita-Bates Diop who scored the first 6, scoring from the dribble drive and the pull up jumper to kill any momentum the Hawkeyes were feeling. Iowa would not get it back to less than 9 the rest of the way but the Buckeyes answered every run Iowa would make and the 9 point lead quickly was right back up to 14 after a Jae’Sean Tate bucket and free throw for the old fashioned 3 point play. The Buckeyes held steady the rest of the way to win their 2nd road game in 2 tries early in the Big Ten season. Bates-Diop led Ohio State with his seventh double double of the year, finishing with 27 points and 13 rebounds. Overall, the Buckeyes put 5 guys in double figures. In addition to Bates-Diop, Tate added 18, Williams scored 13, Jackson 12 and Kaleb Wesson chipped in 10.

Iowa tried to force Ohio State to beat them from the outside early by showing zone, but the shooting of Kam Williams and the gap action of Tate and Bates-Diop forced them to move out that defense quickly but it was too late. The Buckeyes did a much better job of taking care of the basketball, only turning it over 10 times for the game and they faced a lot of full court pressure from Iowa. The Buckeyes continue to gain confidence and are playing at a pretty high level so far and sitting 3-0 in the conference already, they sit in pretty good shape early. The road gets tougher as the Buckeyes head home to face Michigan State and Maryland in back to back games. Hopefully the Schott is packed and loud on Sunday and the Buckeyes rise to the challenge. This is the type of game that can be a season changer if the Buckeyes can pull the upset. It will take a monumental effort but one they are certainly capable of. They will need to play solid fundamental basketball, get after it on the glass and shoot it well to get it done. It will be fun to watch.

The Buckeyes will next hit the floor on Sunday as the #1 Michigan State Spartans invade the Schottenstein Center. Tip time for that game is set for 4:30 pm.

 ​- Jason Harris​
OSU Shocks #1 Michigan State With a 80-64 Win In Columbus 
January 7, 2018

Ohio State gained their biggest victory of the season, controlling the final 25 minutes, in route to an 80-64 win over #1 Michigan State. The win marked the first win for Ohio State over the nations #1 ranked team since upending #1 Wisconsin 49-48 in 2007. The win also puts them in a flat-footed tie with Purdue atop the conference standings at 4-0. It looked like Sparty would dominate early, running out to a quick 11-4 lead but an 11-0 run gave the Buckeyes a 4-point advantage heading into the under 12 media timeout. The game would go back and forth for much of the remaining minutes of the first half until the Buckeyes took control. The Buckeyes would go on a run forcing Tom Izzo to take a timeout at the 1:05 mark with Ohio State up 2. The Buckeyes would continue their run out of the timeout. They would up the advantage it to a 9-0 run, capped off by Kaleb Wesson and Kam Williams executing a perfect 2 man game for a give and go, finished off by a thunderous slam by Williams to put Ohio State up 8. Izzo would take another timeout to try to finish the half with points with 14 seconds remaining. The plan would backfire as the Spartans shot a bit too early and the Buckeyes raced up floor and as the horn sounded Andrew Dakich banked in a long 3 from 30 feet to put Ohio State up 11 as both teams headed to the locker room.  

The second half was all Buckeyes, as the lead swelled to 18 on a 6-point possession. Kam Williams hit a 3 and a Spartan foul battling for position in the paint gave the Buckeyes the ball back and when Keita Bates-Diop drove to the hole, he scored and was fouled and subsequently hit the free throw completing the 3 point play and giving the Buckeyes a quick 6 without Michigan State touching the basketball. The lead would grow to 23 at the under 12 media timeout and the Schott was rocking. The Buckeyes would build the lead to as many as 25 before Michigan State carved into the lead a little but could not get it closer than 15 and the Buckeyes would cruise. Keita Bates-Diop is beginning to make a name for himself nationally, currently the Big Ten leader in scoring, only upped his 19 points per game average today, scoring a career high 32 points on the national stage to lead all scorers.  C.J. Jackson added 14, Jae’Sean Tate scored 13 and Kam Williams 10 for the winning Buckeye squad.

That performance most definitely took everyone nationally by surprise and Chris Holtmann’s team will now have to be taken seriously as a contender for an upper tier finish in the Big Ten. What seemed coming in as a serious deficiency for Ohio State was the distinct advantage in the post of Michigan State but Kaleb Wesson was certainly up to the challenge defensively, holding Spartan leading scorer and Gahanna native, Nick Ward without a field goal and just 3 points. They Buckeyes had to shoot it well and take care of the basketball to make a game of this one and they did just that, hitting 7 of 15 from deep and only turning it over 6 times which limited the Spartans ability to score in transition. A lot of kudos to go around in this win and Bates-Diop deserves a ton of credit but it was a full team effort and they will need to play with that kind of energy on Thursday when Maryland comes to town but for now, enjoy this one and refocus for the grind that is the Big Ten season.

Ohio State will now have a target on its back as they hit the floor to try to continue their excellent play on Thursday, playing host to Maryland. Tip time scheduled for 7 pm in the Schott.  

 ​- Jason Harris​​ 
Next Game:  January 20, 2018
vs. Minnesota    12:00 pm   BTN
Buckeyes Roll Past Terps 
January 11, 2018

Ohio State started slow, but turned it on midway through the first half, drilling the visiting Maryland Terrapins 91 – 67. With the win, the Buckeyes remain unbeaten and in a tie with Purdue at the top of the Big Ten standings at 5-0. Coming off a big win over #1 Michigan State, the Buckeyes hoped to avoid the big win hangover and early it looked like they would fall into that all so common trap. Ohio State looked flat offensively and slow to rotate defensively and the Terrapins took advantage, jumping out to a 20-13 lead forcing Coach Chris Holtmann to call a timeout at the 10:15 mark. Enter Andrew Dakich and the energy of the game changed. Ohio State would go on a mini-run to tie it at 22 at the under 8 timeout and that’s the last time the game would be tied. Behind the hot shooting of Dakich and Keita Bates-Diop, Ohio State would finish the first half on a 31-12 run and go into the locker room up 14 and would not look back. Bates-Diop led the Buckeyes in the first 20 minutes with 12 and Dakich added 11, including 3 triples, a career high.  

The second half was all Buckeyes, building their advantage to as many as 28 before settling on the 22 point victory. Maryland, playing with a short bench, tried to zone Ohio State, but the Buckeyes took advantage moving the basketball inside and out, finding open spots on the floor and to their credit they hit the open looks to the tune of a conference school record 17 triples for the game. Bates-Diop hit 6 threes of his own on his way to a game high 26 points to go along with 8 rebounds.  C.J. Jackson hit a pair of threes and added 14. Andrew Dakich, off the bench, hit two 3’s as well, scoring all 11 of his points in the first half.  Jae’Sean Tate played one of his best floor games, scoring 13 points to go along with 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 blocks. Kaleb Wesson also scored 11 and pulled down 5 boards to give Ohio State 5 in double figures. Michal Cekovsky led Maryland with 18 points while Anthony Cown and Kevin Huerter each dropped in 12 and Joshua Tomaic added 11. Unfortunately, for the shorthanded Terps, they only got 16 from the remainder of the basketball team. 

Another statement win for the Buckeyes and they are firmly planting themselves as a serious contender in the Big Ten Conference. Not only have they played two of the conference’s elite already and got W’s in the process, they don’t play return games to either Michigan State nor Maryland. As we look forward and try not to get too far ahead of ourselves, the schedule sets up nicely with just one game, albeit on the road against conference co-leader Purdue. With the state of the Big Ten conference at the moment, Ohio State has an opportunity to head into February and make things interesting. If they can continue to play at a high level, they have a real chance to be in this thing all the way to the end. They have the elements you want in a winning basketball team. They have a space eating center, a good shooting point guard, a gritty floor leader, several guys with the ability to shoot from distance and despite not getting named as a Naismith finalist earlier today, they have a potential All American as well. There’s a lot of basketball to be played and all of Buckeye nation should get on board and enjoy the ride. 

Ohio State will head on the road Sunday to Piscataway, N.J., where they will try to keep the momentum alive against Rutgers. That game is scheduled to tip at 7 pm on the Big Ten Network.  

 ​- Jason Harris​​ 
Scarlet and Gray Defeat Scarlet Knights 
January 14, 2018

Ohio State moved to 6-0 in conference play, rolling on the road at Rutgers, defeating the Scarlet Knights 68-46. Utilizing lockdown defense, the Buckeyes forced Rutgers into tough shots and limited second shot opportunities, holding the Scarlet Knights to just 29 percent shooting for the game. In what was a slow start to the game for both teams, it took the Buckeyes a little bit of time to get things rolling, but a 13-2 run just beyond the midway point of the first half, forced Rutgers into a timeout at the 5:31 mark of the first half with the Buckeyes leading 21-11. The Buckeyes would finish the half with a 7-4 run to open a 28-15 lead at the end of the first 20 minutes.  Keita Bates-Diop would key the late surge with a pair of 3’s and a fast break lay in to lead the Buckeyes with 10 points in the first half. The 15 points from Rutgers was the lowest total from a Big Ten opponent against Ohio State since 1997 when the Buckeyes held Wisconsin to 11.  

The start of the second half was more Buckeyes. Ohio State started the second half with a 20-3 run, opening up a 30 point lead led by Kam Williams who scored 8 of the 20 during the run. To Rutgers credit, they kept battling and cut the 30 point lead to as close as 17 after a 13-0 run of their own but Ohio State would end the run with a Kaleb Wesson post dip and under and an arena that was beginning to come alive had the air taken out of it once again. The Knights would battle Ohio State fairly even the remainder of the basketball game but the lead was just too great and they would never get the deficit closer than 18 the rest of the way. Bates-Diop once again led the Buckeyes with 20 points, 9 rebounds and 5 blocks. Williams added 11 and Kaleb Wesson added 10 points and 9 rebounds in the 5th straight win for Ohio State.

Count that one as a nice road win and any win on the road in the Big Ten conference is one to be cherished. With the Michigan win over Michigan State yesterday, the Buckeyes and Purdue open up a two game lead in the standings with a road game at Northwestern and a neutral site game at Madison Square Garden against the beat up Minnesota Golden Gophers next week. The win moves Ohio State to 15-4 on the season and should most likely enable them to see their name pop up in the top 25 when the rankings are released tomorrow afternoon. No time to relax as it doesn’t get any easier but they are continuing to position themselves for a February run at the top of the Big Ten standings.

The Buckeyes will attempt to continue the winning streak, heading on the road again Wednesday evening, playing Northwestern at Rosemont, Illinois. The game is scheduled to tip at 9 pm on the Big Ten Network.   

 ​- Jason Harris​​ 
Buckeyes Back In the Top 25 
January 15, 2018

The success the Buckeyes have had on the hard court this finds them on top the Big Ten standings in mid-January. Coach Holtmann has the team focused working together as a group. Now they have one more reward for their season. For the first time in three years, Ohio State finds themselves ranked. Two straight years they failed to make the NCAA tournament and today the AP has voted them #22. The question now will be just how well they handle this success.   ​ 
Wildcats Tamed As OSU Improves to 7-0 in League Play 
January 17, 2018

The surprising men’s basketball Buckeyes continued their hot start to 2018, winning their 6th consecutive game, topping Northwestern in Chicago, 71-65. The Buckeyes struggled early shooting the basketball, but as they say, defense travels, and it proved true once again as the Buckeyes utilized solid half court defense, forcing the ‘Cats to 29.6% shooting from deep on 8-27 shooting, many of those came late as the Wildcats attempted a furious comeback.

It was a struggle early to generate offense and Northwestern came out hot, hitting their first four shots and led by 4 early. It was back and forth for much of the first 10 minutes and the Buckeye defense went to work, limiting Northwestern to one shot on multiple possessions which led to a 10-0 Buckeye run, forcing Northwestern coach Chris Collins to call a timeout at the 6:46 mark of the first half. Coming out of the timeout, Coach Collins drew up a nice backdoor play along the baseline for Wildcat star Scottie Lindsay, who slammed it home, ending a 1-10 drought from the floor. The Buckeyes kept coming and after Andrew Dakich drilled a long 3 from the left point, the Buckeyes led by 11. Back to back turnovers late in the half enabled Northwestern to cut the lead to 4 but the Buckeyes didn’t panic and after a tip in from Micah Potter late in the half, Ohio State went into the locker room up 8. The Buckeyes did not shoot it particularly well in the first half, just 41.4% from the floor, but an 8-0 advantage in second chance opportunities was the difference.

The second half was all Buckeyes early as Kam Williams scored a quick 5 points and Ohio State stretched the lead to 11. The Buckeyes kept the pressure on and when Dakich hit a 3 from the left corner off a side inbounds play with just 5 seconds on the shot clock, Ohio State led by 13. On the ensuing possession, Keita Bates-Diop forced a Wildcat turnover and followed it up with a layup and the lead stretched to 15 forcing Northwestern to call a timeout with 12:55 remaining in the game. The ‘Cats would keep battling, cutting the lead to as close as 8, but each time Northwestern got a little momentum the Buckeyes would answer. That is until late. Northwestern turned up the pressure and Ohio State struggled to advance the basketball and after a long 3 by Vic Law following a Buckeye turnover with 1 minute to go, the lead was just 3. Northwestern would foul C.J. Jackson with 27 seconds remaining and he would calmly knock in both to make it a two possession game. Following a Northwestern miss from long range, Jackson was fouled again with 14 seconds remaining. He would hit the first and rebound his own miss and Ohio State would run out the clock securing the victory. 7 Buckeyes scored at least 6 points in a balanced attack. Micah Potter led Ohio State with 13, while Jae’Sean Tate and C.J. Jackson added 12 apiece. Keita Bates-Diop, in a rare off night, contributed 10 points and 8 rebounds for the winning Buckeyes.

Once again, any road win is a good one. They showed they can win when their star is not playing well and when the outside shot wasn’t falling as consistently. They won this game with stifling perimiter defense and patient offense, sharing the basketball and finding the open man. The one big glaring weakness showed up late and that is the ability to handle the basketball in pressure. Northwestern made it a ballgame late with heavy backcourt defense and the Buckeyes folded a bit. To their credit, they made the plays they had to and escaped with a big road win.  

Ohio State will get back after it in a neutral site game, facing off against a talented but undermanned Minnesota team in Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday. Tip time is slated for high noon on the Big Ten Network. 

 ​- Jason Harris​​