Ohio State Drops Second Straight
Ohio State fell to 5-3 on the young season, dropping their second straight and third in four games, this time to Clemson in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge by a final score of 79-65. For the second straight game, the Buckeyes blew a double-digit lead in the second half. Early, it looked like it might be Ohio State’s night as they rushed out to a 22-11 lead entering the under 12 timeout. After the Buckeyes stretched the lead to 13, Clemson went on a 10-0 run before the Buckeyes stretched it out again and when Kaleb Wesson drained a 3 from the top of the key, the Buckeyes went into the break with a 37-30 lead and all was well.
The Buckeyes were able to stretch the lead to 11 early and forced Clemson to take a timeout with 17:35 to go in the game. The Tigers came out of the timeout roaring, cutting the lead to just 3 at the 14 minute mark. The Buckeyes clung to a 2 point advantage with a 11:49 to go as the teams went to the benches for the under 12 timeout. From there it was all Clemson, taking their first lead since 3-0 at the 11:05 mark and never trailed again, outscoring the Buckeyes 42 to 18 the rest of the way, as the Buckeyes looked lethargic on both ends of the floor. Some of that could be due to the recent travel schedule, as they seemed to run out of gas. Keita Bates-Diop led Ohio State with 21 and Kaleb Wesson added 15 for the losing Buckeyes.
Ohio State has a lot of work to do. That much is obvious. They struggle handling the basketball. They have little movement on offense and if they aren’t hitting shots, they struggle to put the ball in the basket. Couple that with the poor free throw shooting and it’s a recipe for disaster. Tonight was a microcosm of their struggles thus far this season. They must do a better job of getting the ball in the paint and working the offense from the inside out. The second half the Buckeyes were clearly worn down, turning the ball over 9 times, hitting just 7 of 15 from the stripe and 1 of 6 from deep. Chris Holtmann and company better figure it out quick because it doesn’t get any easier from here as conference play begins Saturday.
It gets real for the Buckeyes as they start Big Ten play, travelling to Wisconsin to play the Badgers at 5PM on Saturday, a few hours before the Buckeyes and Badgers get after it on the gridiron in Indianapolis.
– Jason Harris