There was only one game tonight as Ohio State hosted Penn State in a must win for Thad Matta's Buckeyes. Luckily for the Buckeyes, they were able to knock off Penn State and keep their hopes of a postseason bid alive for now.
Game of the Night: Ohio State 66 Penn State 46
The Buckeyes jumped out over Penn State and opened up a double digit lead early in the first half, extending their lead to 15 points about 15 minutes into the game (29-14). Luckily for Penn State, though, the Nittany Lions were able to close the half on a 8-2 run to keep things within reach, only down by seven points at the half even though they were only able to convert on two of their 16 three point attempts and shot a poor 36.7% from the field. On the other side of the ball, Ohio State took advantage of Keita Bates-Diop, Jae'Sean Tate and Marc Loving scoring 28 points in the first half on 10 of 17 shooting. Unfortunately for Ohio State, though, no one else scored more than three points and the teams 10 turnovers allowed Penn State to keep things within reach at the break.
Fortunately for the Buckeyes, the second half returned to how the beginning of the first half went, with Penn State's inability to shoot the ball allowing for Ohio State to quickly open things back up and cruise to an easy win. The Nittany Lions have had their fair share of issues scoring the ball throughout Big Ten play and it's a big reason as to why the team is now sitting at 11-10 and 2-6 in Big Ten play. While the team has a strong recruiting class set to come in and plenty of young talent at hand, eventually Chambers is going to need to show improvement and start winning games as Penn State is falling into the same traps once again.
Coming in to tonight's game Penn State was ranked 312th in three point shooting percentage (30.8%) and hasn't shown the ability to hit from outside. So for some reason the Lions repeatedly relied on perimeter shooting against the Buckeyes, even when the shots weren't falling. When you're a bad three point shooting team it's never a good sign when about 42% (25) of your field goals (60) are three pointers, especially when you only hit on 16% of them. Shep Garner had a particularly difficult night, going 1 of 8 from deep, while the other four Penn State starters were 2 of 11 from beyond the arc.
As for Ohio State, Keita Bates-Diop led the team with 22 points and 8 rebounds while Jae'Sean Tate and Marc Loving both reached double digits. Ohio State was able to cut back on turnovers in the second half, hit over 42% of their three point attempts and only committed 12 fouls on the night. Mix that with the fact that an ice cold Penn State team could only muster 46 points on the road and you have an easy enough win for Thad Matta's team.
Up next for the Buckeyes will be a winnable road game against Illinois before they have a shot at some revenge when they host Maryland this Sunday. If Ohio State can win both games this week it'll go a long way to strengthening their shot at a NCAA Tournament bid in March. As for Penn State, Pat Chambers squad will face a difficult stretch with Michigan, Iowa and Indiana all coming up.