Ohio State’s Season Ends in the Round of 32, Falling to 3rd seeded Houston
The Ohio State basketball team gave everything they had, but it would not be enough, falling to Houston in Tulsa 74-59, finishing the season at 20-15. C.J. Jackson, playing in his final game as a Buckeye led Ohio State with 18 points and Kaleb Wesson added 15. Keyshawn Woods, who played in his final game in his only season with Ohio State added 10. The Buckeyes downfall in this one was Houston’s ability to get into the paint and score near the rim, outscoring Ohio State 34-12. That edge combined with 14 Ohio State turnovers to just 5 for Houston allowed the Cougars to control the pace of play and ultimately win the game and advance to the Sweet 16.
3 turnovers on the first 3 Buckeye possessions allowed Houston to jump out to a 4-0 lead 3 minutes in. The Buckeyes answered with a Keyshawn Woods triple from the top and a Musa Jallow put back, but a Houston 3 and a layup in transition gave Houston a 9-5 advantage at the under 16 media timeout. Back to back Kaleb Wesson triples out of the timeout gave the Buckeyes a brief 11-9 lead but Houston answered with a quick 8-0 run to go ahead 17-11. The Buckeyes came right back with a 12-2 run after an Andre Wesson deep triple from the top to take a 21-19 lead forcing Houston to take a timeout with 10:25 to go in the first half. The game stayed even until a quick Houston burst gave the Cougars a 30-25 lead forcing Chris Holtmann to call timeout with 5:23 to go in the half and Kaleb Wesson going to the bench with his 2nd personal foul. A C.J. Jackson 3 stopped a 5 plus minute Buckeye drought in which they scored just 1 point and trimmed the deficit to 31-28 but a Houston answer gave the Cougars a 5 point lead at the under 4 media timeout. The Cougars upped their lead to 9 before a Jackson triple from the left wing trimmed the lead back to 6 with 1:30 on the clock. The Cougars ultimately took an 8-point advantage to the locker room. A little scuffle at the end of the half as Houston guard Dejon Jarreau and Ohio State guard Keyshawn Woods were assessed technical in a scrap clearly initiated by the Houston guard. Regardless, the Buckeyes trailed by 8 and in need of adjustments to get back in this one. Jackson led Ohio State with 11 first half points, a half in which the Buckeyes hit 8 triples to keep them within striking distance.
Ohio State scored the first 4 of the second half to cut the deficit in half as both teams struggled in the half court early. The Cougars increased their lead to 8 before a Luther Muhammad three from the short corner cut the lead to 5 at the 13:30 mark. A quick 5-0 Houston burst gave the Cougars their largest lead of 10 and 12:30 to go in the game. The Buckeyes wouldn’t go away, however, 5 straight Jackson points, the last being a triple from the left wing, cut the lead back to 5 at the under 12 media timeout. Houston increased the lead to 9 forcing Ohio State to call timeout with 8:24 remaining in the game. The Cougars upped their advantage to 11 as Ohio State had gone nearly 8 minutes without a field goal. The Cougar lead stood at 64-53 with 3:42 remaining and the teams heading to their respective benches for the under 4 media timeout. The Buckeyes got as close as 9 the rest of the way but could not get any closer.
So, the Buckeyes finish their season and with it the college basketball careers of 3 Buckeyes. First, C.J. Jackson who came here from junior college to play his final three years at Ohio State. Jackson was the epitome of an unselfish basketball player, playing out of position at the point for the duration when he came thinking he would play the 2. He struggled at times handling the basketball, but he came up big in many clutch moments over the past 3 years, especially at Indiana a year ago with a buzzer beater in overtime to beat the Hoosiers in Bloomington. He is a solid citizen and teammate and will forever be a Buckeye. Secondly, although he only played one year as a Buckeye, Keyshawn Woods found a home in Columbus. He had a very uneven year, but down the stretch really came into his own and helped Ohio State clinch the bid to the dance with his performance in the Big Ten tournament. Finally, the only 4 year Buckeye of the bunch, Joey Lane. Although Joey’s impact on the program was not his play on the floor, he was a leader in that locker room and the spirit on the sideline. He could’ve played at a smaller school but he came to Ohio State, walked on and earned a scholarship his final two seasons. His impact is not as easily measured as the other two, but if you talk to anyone in that locker room, they will tell you how much he meant to his teammates.
Some will say this team over achieved and they had no business playing in the NCAA tournament let alone advancing, however, they were exactly where they expected to be. They competed hard all season and left it on the court. That is a testament to the character of this team and coaching staff. All of Buckeye nation should be proud of this group and what they accomplished this season. As we look forward to the newcomers joining the program next season and the holdovers from this season, next year has a chance to be very special and the offseason work starts soon. Stay tuned in the fall for the next chapter in the long and storied history of Buckeye basketball.