Strong Finish Provides Another Road Win For Buckeyes
Ohio State used a 13-0 run to finish the game and earn a 69-60 win over Creighton. CJ Jackson came into the night averaging 19 points a game but was held scoreless most of the evening. Yet with 2:06 remaining, he made his first basket to give the Buckeyes a 62-60 lead, an advantage they never relinquished. The victory moves the Buckeyes to 3-0 on the season and brings an exciting hope for things to come for OSU fans.
This season, Ohio State started by helping the Cincinnati Bearcats open their newly remodeled facility, tonight they participated in the Gavitt Games. Dave Gavitt was the force behind the founding of the Big East Conference in 1979 and the league’s first commissioner when it emerged as a national collegiate basketball powerhouse.
The Buckeyes found themselves playing in the CHI Health Center in Omaha, NE and if you happen to be in the neighborhood in search of something to do, tickets were going for as low as $2 at game time. In spite of the bargain prices, there were plenty of empty seats. And the Buckeyes were able keep the fans quiet for most of the first half, as they built a 12 point halftime lead.
OSU did not open the game well as they had two turnovers on their first two possessions. Kaleb Wesson opened the Buckeye scoring with a 2-foot basket but that was a they could manage and at the first media time out Creighton had a 5-2 lead. Ohio State continue to struggle to find their range and were quickly down 10-2. Then Wake Forest graduate transfer Keyshawn Woods came off the bench and hit a three to make it 10-5 and end a 4-minute scoring drought for the visiting team. The Buckeyes had opened 1-of-7 shooting. Then at the 12:44 mark Duane Washington hit a second three making it 12-8.
Neither team seemed to be able to generate a lot of offensive rhythm, and at the next time-out Creighton held a 14-10 lead. The first big break for the Buckeyes came about a minute later when the Bluejays stars Ty-Shon Alexander and Damien Jefferson both had committed 2 fouls and found themselves on the bench at 10:18 mark. This was the point where OSU took control. The Scarlet and Gray went on an 11-2 run, lead by ten points from Woods. By the 2:46 mark Ohio State held to a 30-21 lead which they expanded to 37-25 as the teams headed to the lockers for halftime.
The Buckeyes were 7-of-13 from behind the arc and Creighton who started the game shooting 6-of-10, ended the half shooting just 1-of-7.
The Bluejays are too good of a team to just pack it in for the night and they came out of the break as a team on a mission. Now full strength, getting Alexander and Jefferson inserted into the line-up. Creighton played with a lot of energy and intensity in the second half, quickly closed the gap to 39-32. Andre Wesson hit basket to stop the bleeding some but a combination of 3 quick Buckeye fouls and an 8-0 scoring tear by Creighton and the margin was only 46-42 OSU at the 11:52 mark.
Shortly after the return to play, a drive up the middle by Creighton’s Marcus Zegarowski, closed the score to 48-45. A quick shot and miss by Woods led to a fast break and a three by Alexander in the corner to tie everything at 48-48 with 9:38 to go in the game. The Bluejays were on a 14-2 run and in the process OSU used up all but one of their time outs. Musa Jallow goes hard and draws foul, but could only get one of the foul shots. Then in the next possession Creighton was taking shot after shot, drawing two more fouls out of the Buckeyes including Luther Muhammad’s 4th. The home team was really playing hard but in the end it turned into no points and a huge defensive stop for the Bucks. But they were still struggling in the second half to find points CJ Jackson was having a bad game this night. At this point in the game he had no points and 5 turnovers.
At this point in the game, Creighton was getting a lot of second chance points with Kaleb Wesson on the bench. and with 5:43 to play they finally took the lead on a quick putback. Then at the 5:05 mark Damien Jefferson picked up his fourth foul and you could just feel the change in the air.
At this point the refs started to play a role as they called two straight very questionable foul calls against the Buckeyes and then a double foul which really didn’t make much sense when you watched it back on replay.
With just under 3 minutes, the home team was clingy to what would prove to be their last lead of the game at 60-59. And at the 2:06 mark, CJ Jackson finally got his first basket and it was huge. Off a great assist from Woods, Jackson drained a three to put the Buckeyes back on top for good. From that point on it was all OSU. Creighton’s Martin Krampelj picked up a fifth foul and the Bluejays would not score again. It was a great comeback on their part but they may have used too much energy to do it and may have just ran out of gas in the end.
In the end, Ohio State ended on a 13-0 run and Creighton never scored after the 2:56 mark.
What Gives: Before tonight’s loss, Creighton had NEVER lost a home game before November 26th.
What Does It Mean: So far, each year of the Gavitt Games between the Big Ten and the Big East, the results have been a 4-4 tie. With the Buckeye victory, the BIG is now 5-1 this year with two games remaining.
What’s New: In the AP polls out this week, the Buckeyes received 14 votes which is good enough to put them in 34th place.
What’s Next: In a game to be televised on BTN, the Buckeyes next hit the hardwood Sunday, at 2:00pm when they take on South Carolina State in Value City Arena. The Bulldogs are currently 1-2 and play in the Mid-Eastern conference.
– Gregg Watson