Ohio State’s Big Ten lead just got pulverized in University park
The Buckeyes gave back their one-game advantage in the conference Thursday night as Penn State completely and utterly dominated them in a 79-56 loss at the Bryce Jordan Center.
It was just an awful showing for the Buckeyes, who had only just taken over first place in the Big Ten over the weekend. They’re now tied with Michigan State and a game ahead of Purdue.
Penn State led by as many as 30 points in the second half. Pat Chambers group made 9 of 20 3-pointers and got 30 points from guard Tony Carr, who was 9 of 15 from the floor with five rebounds and three assists as well. The Nittany Lions blitzed the Buckeyes from the start and never looked back
Meanwhile, Ohio State was just brutal. The Buckeyes shot 38.9 percent for the game despite connecting at a 52 percent clip in the second half thanks to going 8 of 29 (27.6 percent) from the floor in the first half. They were 2 of 15 from the 3-point line and assisted on just nine of their 21 made field goals. Keita Bates-Diop, a sure-fire All-American and as responsible as anyone for Ohio State’s resurgent season, had his worst game in months, going 4 of 11 from the floor to score 10 points.
After knocking off Purdue last week, this is a serious step back for the Buckeyes. Maybe it’s just a weird matchup deal with Penn State, which gave Ohio State its only other Big Ten loss of the season last month in Columbus, but to be so thoroughly manhandled while simultaneously giving up first place is an opportunity lost. Especially with Purdue suffering the same fate just an hour earlier.
What a night for Penn State, though. The Nittany Lions continue to bolster their NCAA tournament resume as they’re riding a four-game winning streak that includes victories over the Buckeyes and Maryland. Their defense has always been sound, but it’s been especially good during this run with opponents failing to reach 60 points in three of the four victories.
While much of the Big Ten will struggle to move the needle much over the final week of the regular season with the conference mired mostly in mediocrity, if Penn State can extend its hot streak, they have some room to run with Purdue, Michigan and Nebraska still on the schedule ahead of the conference’s convergence at Madison Square Garden.