After taking care of Nebraska and Michigan State in their first two games of the Big Ten tournament, Ohio State ran into trouble on the offensive end of the floor in the Big Ten title game against Wisconsin.
Deshaun Thomas scored a team-high 17 points but he needed 19 shot attempts to do so, going 0-of-6 from beyond the arc, and as a team the Buckeyes (26-7) shot just 38.5% from the field (1-of-16 3PT).
So how did they manage to beat the Badgers 50-43, resulting in the program’s fourth Big Ten tournament crown under Thad Matta?
Wisconsin (23-11) shot 38.3% on the afternoon and scored just two points over the final 7:03 of the game, which proved to be the Badgers’ downfall as Ohio State received key baskets from Aaron Craft and LaQuinton Ross down the stretch.
Essentially the Buckeyes provided a blueprint of what they’ll need to do in order to have success in the NCAA tournament. It’s no secret that outside of Thomas the Buckeyes lack consistent scorers, and even Thomas can go cold on occasion. Ohio State will need more offense from players such as Ross, whose playing time has fluctuated throughout the season due in large part to defensive issues.
With two of the Big Ten’s best perimeter defenders in Craft and Shannon Scott leading the way it will be Ohio State’s ability to put together stops that will determine how far they advance.
And if their eight-game win streak is any indication, Ohio State is more than capable of advancing deep into the tournament.
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.
The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:
Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.
UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.
Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.
All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.
The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.