January 29, 2008

Bucks use late run to pull away from PSU

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - For the first 26 minutes of Tuesday night's game it appeared that the game between the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions was following the script of the past handful of games with the Buckeyes playing nip and tuck with a supposedly overmatched opponent. But a 16-0 run and a near 11 minute scoring drought by [tm]Penn State[/tm] (10-10, 2-6) turned a tie game into a 68-56 road win for the Buckeyes (15-6, 6-2).

Jamar Butler (20 points, 6 assists, 3 steals) led all scorers with 20 points while both Kosta Koufos and Matt Terwilliger chipped in ten points a piece. Talor Battle led the Nittany Lions with 15 points. Penn State found early success from beyond the arc in the first half but things cooled off for the home team in the second half and between that a better defensive effort Ohio State managed to outscore PSU by 12 in the final 20 minutes.

"We played a little bit harder and were more of in a stance," Ohio State head coach Thad Matta said. "We were able to string some stops together."

Ohio State did a good job in the paint of slowing down Penn State with seven blocks on the evening including a pair from Koufos, Evan Turner (5 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists) and Othello Hunter (8 points, 7 rebounds).

David Lighty scored all eight of his points in the first half and helped keep the Buckeyes close despite a seven point Penn State lead at the 12 minute mark. Rarely used bench player Dallas Lauderdale saw three minutes of playing time and had a big dunk for the Buckeyes off of the offensive rebound to cut the lead to four and then a deep Butler three ball cut it to one.

Ohio State would open it up to a two point lead off of an 11-2 run and would trade the lead back and forth with Penn State. Danny Morrissey kept Penn State close with several clutch three pointers and ended up with 12 points off a 4-11 night from beyond the arc.

A Terwilliger drive in the final five seconds of the half would knot things up at 34 and give the home crowd plenty to cheer about after a tough season that saw the Nittany Lions lose their best player Geary Claxton just a few games ago. The Buckeyes had plenty to work on allowing Penn State a 15-2 edge on fast break points. Not a good sign for a team that lives and dies in the transition game.

Hunter would get the Buckeyes going in the second half scoring Ohio State's first four points of the half but Ohio State would trail once again by four points after a Jamelle Cornley jumper over Koufos to give PSU a 44-40 lead

Penn State would not score again for more than ten minutes as the Bucks ran off a 16-0 run that was started by a Butler three pointer and ended with a Butler assist finding its way into Jon Diebler's hands on a two on one break. When the smoke cleared the Bucks were up 56-44 and the game was essentially decided.

The riddle of rebounding was not solved for Ohio State with the Buckeyes getting out rebounded 34-30 but more importantly getting hit with a 15-8 mark on the offensive glass.

The Buckeyes will keep their bags packed with a Saturday evening game in Iowa City against the Hawkeyes on deck before coming home to face the Wolverines on February 5th.

Stat leaders
Scoring
Ohio State - Butler 20, Terwilliger 10, Koufos 10, Hunter 8, Lighty 8
Penn State - Battle 15, Morrissey 12, Jones 11, Pringle 6

Rebounds
Ohio State - Turner 7, Hunter 7, Koufos 5
Penn State - Jones 10, Jackson 5, Morrissey 5

Assists
Ohio State - Turner 7, Butler 6
Penn State - Pringle 5, Battle 5

Blocks
Ohio State - Turner 2, Hunter 2, Koufos 2
Penn State - Jackson 1


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