Buckeyes Blast Nebraska for 7th win in 9 games
The 23rd ranked Ohio State basketball Buckeyes went on the road and despite being shorthanded dominated the host Cornhuskers 75-54 to move to 19-9 and 9-8 in Big Ten play. Playing without D.J. Carton for the 8th straight game and without the injured Kyle Young and sick Alonzo Gaffney, the Buckeyes, suiting up just 8 scholarship players, were not fazed controlling the game from start to finish, to sweep the season series from the undermanned Cornhuskers who dropped their 14th straight game, falling to 2-15 in the Big Ten and 7-21 overall. Kaleb Wesson led Ohio State with his 25th double figure scoring game of the season, scoring 16 and pulling down 18 rebounds. C.J. Walker added 15 and Duane Washington Jr. scored 14. E.J. Liddell came off the bench to score 8 points, pull down 5 rebounds and had a career high 5 blocked shots. The Buckeyes shot just 40% from the floor, cooling off mightily in the second half, missing all 8 3 point attempts to finish 6 of 25 for the game, but it was moot as the Buckeyes were well in control. Ohio State controlled the backboard all game long, outrebounding the smaller Huskers 48-33 and holding Nebraska to just 35.6% from the field, making just 21 field goals for the game.
Ohio State’s Duane Washington, Jr. got the Buckeyes off to a fast start, burying 3 triples in 3 attempts to give the Buckeyes a 9-4 lead just 3 minutes into the game. The Huskers kept it close by utilizing dribble penetration in the lane for a pair of scores, but four straight from Kaleb Wesson, including a step back jumper from just beyond the free throw stripe put Ohio State ahead 13-8 at the first media timeout. Out of the timeout, Luther Muhammad buried a 3 from the right wing but the Huskers came right back, turning defense into offense, forcing an Ohio State turnover into a transition score to cut the lead to 6. However, a 10-2 Buckeye run forced Nebraska to call timeout with Ohio State leading 26-12 and 10:52 left in the first half. A pair of Kaleb Wesson free throws gave Ohio State a 16-point bulge but suddenly the once red-hot Buckeye shooting went ice cold, missing 7 consecutive shots enabling the Huskers to go on a mini 4-0 run to cut the lead to 28-16 at the under 8 media timeout. The Buckeyes would answer thanks to lock down half-court defense, going on a 6-2 run over the next 4 minutes to enjoy an 18-point bulge at the final media timeout of the half. Washington drilled another triple, this time from the left wing to put the Buckeyes up 21 but a 7-0 Nebraska run cut the lead to 39-25 forcing Chris Holtmann to call timeout with 1:14 left to play in the first half. C.J. Walker ended the Husker scoring run, bagging a pair of free throws but Nebraska came back quickly, scoring off a dribble drive to cut the lead to 41-27. On the next possession, Walker took the ball on the perimeter, putting it on the deck and getting to the rim, scoring off the window to put Ohio State back ahead 43-27. Nebraska held for the final shot and with the game clock running low, a long jumper attempt was blocked by Ibrahima Diallo and at the horn, the Buckeyes held a 43-27 advantage. Duane Washington Jr. led Ohio State in the first 20 minutes with 14 points, 12 of which came from behind the arc, and C.J. Walker added 11. The Buckeyes shot 48% from the field in the first half which included 6 of 13 from deep and also winning the battle of the backboard, 21-16. Nebraska made just 37.5% of their shot attempts and missed all 6 of their three attempts as Ohio State enjoyed a comfortable margin at the break.
Nebraska opened the second half scoring but a pair of Kaleb Wesson free throws and a Walker steal and score put Ohio State back up 18. 4 straight Cornhusker points cut the lead back to 14 but Andre Wesson rebounded his own miss and scored to halt the Husker run. On the next possession Luther Muhammad drove the right side and finished off the glass with the left hand to give Ohio State a 51-33 lead at the first media timeout of the second half. Ohio State extended the lead to 55-34 following a Muhammad short jumper off the bounce forcing Nebraska to call timeout with just over 14 minutes to go in the game. A Nebraska 3, their first of the game cut the lead to 18 and after the Buckeyes failed on 3 straight shot attempts thanks to a pair of offensive rebounds, the Huskers scored in the paint and at the under 12 media timeout, Ohio State’s lead was trimmed to 59-43. A 5-0 Buckeye run bumped the margin back to 21 but a Nebraska triple cut the lead to 18 at the under 8 minute timeout with Ohio State enjoying a 64-46 lead. Muhammad ended a nearly 4 minute Buckeye drought without a field goal, knocking down a short jumper to put Ohio State back up 20 and at the final media timeout of the game, Ohio State was cruising to the finish, leading 69-50. Ohio State outscored Nebraska 6-4 to finish it out and complete the win.
Every road win in this conference is a good win. Nebraska, despite their record, plays well at home but Ohio State blitzed the Cornhuskers early with hot shooting and took the crowd out of the game from the jump. That’s exactly the recipe for winning on the road. Ohio State was active on the defensive end, dominated the backboard, and seems to be peaking at the right time. While this game was one they definitely had to have, nothing is ever taken for granted on the road in the Big Ten. They get to come back home for a pair before finishing the season on the road in East Lansing. They need to hold serve at home to position themselves for a high seed in the NCAA tournament.
Ohio State comes back home for a Sunday late afternoon tip, hosting Michigan at 4pm and airing on CBS.