Matta, Thompson, Both Go Off in OSU Tourney Win
By John Porentas
Six minutes and 45 seconds into the game it was clear there was something wrong with the Buckeyes.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers held a 14-6 lead. The Buckeyes were shooting it poorly, but even more exasperating to OSU Head Coach Thad Matta, the Huskers were getting open shots and easy baskets. Matta was not happy at all, so during the first media timeout he lit up his team. A very animated Matta let his team know just how unhappy he was. He also benched his star scorer, Deshaun Thomas.
Matta's outburst did the trick. The eight point lead Nebraska held proved to the largest they would hold the rest of the way. From that point on what had been a shoddy performance by OSU began to get better and better. It was sparked in part by Matta's outburst, in part by some effective play by the OSU bench, and to a very large part a career shooting night and scoring explosion for sophomore forward Sam Thompson.
Sophomore guard Shannon Scott began the turnaround by hitting a midrange jumper and then a three. The three cut Nebraska's lead to just four at 15-11. A three by Craft then made it 15-14, and the tide was turning.
"I thought our bench did a good job of coming in and getting us going and contributing," said Matta.
The Buckeyes finally wrestled the lead away when Craft made a layup with 9:54 remaining in the half to make the score 16-15
Nebraska never led again.
OSU closed out the half with a five point lead at 28-23. When the second half began they simply demolished the Huskers.
The Buckeyes scored the first 11 points of the second half to take a 47-28 lead, and that was the ball game. The run featured two spectacular dunks by Thompson and a three by him as well.
Nebraska finally stopped the run with a an old fashioned three point play by Shavon Shields. That only seemed to anger the Buckeyes. OSU responded with a basket by Thomas, three-consecutive threes by LaQuinton Ross, a layup by Scott and a dunk by Thomas. The score was 54-28 and what had once been a close game had been turned into a laugher with 12:01 left to play in the game.
Thompson finished the game with a career-high 19 points on eight of nine shooting from the field that included three of four from three point range. Thomas also had 19 to share scoring honors for the game. Ross ended with 11 and Craft and Scott each had 7.
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