Nobody handles their business against the bad teams better than Thad Matta’s Ohio State basketball squad. The Buckeyes, who led the nation in average margin of victory coming into their contest with Penn State Wednesday night, dismantled the Nittany Lions 78-54.
The Scarlet and Gray jumped ahead 38-18 by the half, before ultimately putting it into cruise control and extending the nation’s second largest home winning streak to 37.
Jared Sullinger led the Buckeyes with 20 points and 13 rebounds, his 436th career double-double (all numbers approximate), despite not playing in the final ten minutes. William Buford added 15 points and Aaron Craft chipped in 11.
On the same night that the Lakers took on the Clippers, the crowd at the Schott did its best Los Angeles impression – streaming in well after the game had started and filing out with a couple minutes still remaining on the clock. It’s almost as if 6:30 is not a great time to start a big time college basketball game (ahem, Big Ten Network, ahem), since people who work don’t even get home until around six (I can only assume this is the case, after all I’m in grad school so I’m not sure what a real job is).
Some of the positive developments I noted in the Nebraska game continued today. Buford’s stroke looked smooth as ever while knocking down a couple of threes, and Deshaun Thomas drew another offensive foul in the lane. Clearly, the team is taking to heart everything my posts have to offer.
The game got slightly strange for a minute late in the first half. Craft floated an alley-oop attempt to freshman Sam Thompson, but the pass ended up going into the hoop for three points, proving that even when Craft messes something up good things happen. A couple of possessions later, Penn State took a timeout after scoring a basket. However, when the timeout ended, Penn State was awarded the basketball right back. Eventually, after Matta kindly reminded the refs that’s not how the rulebook is written, the error was fixed (the refs may disagree with the kindly part).
Interested in adding some instant excitement to the second half of a blowout basketball game? Simply add a tablespoon of Sam Thompson to the mix, then sit back and enjoy. In the course of three minutes, the high-flying freshman kept the crowd involved as he finished a thunderous alley-oop, swatted away an errant Nittany Lion shot attempt, and fired a beautiful pass into the paint for a Sully dunk.
While Penn State struggled mightily and was clearly outmatched, it was a nice touch to see the players pay tribute to the late Joe Paterno by wearing black bands on their jerseys. The legendary coach passed away on Sunday at the age of 85.
As for the Buckeyes, they did what they had to do in a proverbial warm up game. You know how the football team always seems to play Akron or Youngstown State before things really get going? Well, this was the basketball team’s warm up game (minus the awesome Akron kangaroo or Youngstown penguin). The upcoming slate includes Michigan, Wisconsin, and Michigan State each twice, as well as a trip to ‘the barn’ in Minnesota and a rematch against Illinois.
In the contest’s final moments, Ohio State’s student section sang everyone’s favorite tune – “We Don’t Give A Damn for the Whole State of Michigan.” They clearly know who is next.