Five Things We Learned in an Amazing Comeback Win Over Nebraska
By John Porentas
1) LaQuinton Ross has found some toughness. Q used to be mainly a shooter, but now he is a scorer, and there's a difference. He's scoring in the paint, and maybe most importantly of all, he's able to score through contact and doesn't shy away from it. His shoving incident when the Buckeyes were teetering on the brink of defeat ignited the Buckeyes. He sent the message to his teammates that they shouldn't let themselves be pushed around or bullied, and the message got through.
2) This team has a lot of warts, but they are finding some answers right now. Sure, they have problems on offense, but so do a lot of teams. Just look at the scores of the games in this year's B1G tournament. What the Buckeyes are finding is that will to win, to not knuckle in when things get tough. Their last three games required toughness to win, both physical and mental toughness, and the Buckeyes came out on the winning side of all three. If you think about it, Ross' development as a scorer is a cure for that scoring wart. Success begets success.
3) Amedeo Della Valle finally showed what Thad and the coaching staff have seen in him at practice. His image is that of a shooter, but against Nebraska he played well at both ends of the floor. He had three blocks and two steals in 21 minutes of play and was on the court during OSU's comeback. He did knock down a three, but three of his four baskets were of the two point variety. He also made five of eight free throws, four of them in the last five seconds of the game and under to seal the win.
4) When OSU's press is working it's devastating. Nebraska simply wilted when OSU went to the press in the second half. The Buckeyes turned them over and took them out of all offensive flow with their defensive pressure. No doubt about it, the press won the game. If you are wondering why the don't press all the time, it's because it doesn't always work as well. Aaron Craft pointed out that they tried to press Michigan State and the Spartans were able to break their press and score fast break points against it. Craft also mentioned how much energy it takes. It was the perfect tool at the perfect time against Nebraska, but it has a time and a place and doesn't work all the time.
5) The Buckeyes Really Don't Like the CornHuskers. The pushing incident involving Ross was just an example of something that became apparent during the post-game locker room interviews. The Buckeyes and CornHusker basketball teams don't like each other very much. The Buckeyes spoke about how chippie the game was, how much talking there was on the court, and felt like the CornHuskers were trying to bully and intimidate them them with physical play and contact after the whistle. They also talked about how the Cornhusker fans rushed the court when the Huskers beat them in Lincoln earlier in the year, and didn't like how the Husker bench was acting during the game in Indianapolis. When asked if there was a rivalry evolving, Sam Thompson wouldn't say there wasn't on the grounds that the Huskers hadn't beat them enough to earn/warrant that status. He didn't want to give them that much respect.
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