The Ohio State Buckeyes aren’t quite the same team that won 9 straight to begin the season. The loss of starting junior forward David Lighty to a foot inquiry has hurt the team on defense and the loss of backup freshman point guard Anthony Crater to transfer has hurt them at times of the offensive side of the ball. Today in Minneapolis it was the loss of Lighty and the Buckeyes inability to stop big offensive runs by the Gophers that costs them the game.
By Steve Patterson
Early energetic play by Eric Turner and Dallas Lauderdale with Jon Diebler’s continued hot shooting from behind the arc led to a lead of 7 points with 4 minutes remaining in the first half. But Minnesota made the adjustments needed and went on a run of 19-2 and ended the half up by 10 points. The Gophers switched to a zone defense instead of playing man-to-man which made open shots for Ohio State rare. And the Gophers replaced one of their two big men with a smaller shooter which provided additional offense and led to the run.
Minnesota Runs at the End of the Half
Ohio State’s first half shooting percentage was a poor 26.3% while Minnesota made 40.4% of their shots from the field. The Gophers played 12 different roster members and rotated them regularly with scoring shared among all the team members. Ohio State stay with an 8 man rotation that they have showed before with Diebler scoring 12 points, Buford totaling 6 and Turner also putting in 6 points in the half.
Gophers Continue Push
Minnesota began the second half with the same lineup that completed the first half and was able to increase the lead to 18 deep into the second period. Ohio State did show poise with 6 minutes remaining going on their own run. They pulled with 8 points with about two minutes remaining but were not able to get any closer. Putting the Gophers at the foul line with deliberate fouls helped close the gap but did not provide the same benefit in the final minutes of the game.
Turner finished with 21 points playing all but one minute of the game. Diebler had the second most points with 15, 3 assists, and 4 rebounds. Buford was as active in the second half with PJ Hill, Kyle Madsen, and BJ Mullens seeing additional minutes.
Ohio State may fall out of the top 25 nationally but will look to redeem themselves at Michigan State on Tuesday early next week. Michigan State recently beat Minnesota on the road by 12 points, so the Buckeyes have an uphill battle in the near future.