Buckeyes Stage Epic Fail in Minneapolis
By Rob Ogden
The Buckeyes had a lot of issues Thursday night in Minnesota, all of which contributed to a 63-53 loss, Ohio State's third straight.
The most glaring of the problems were the turnovers – 10 in the second half – and the poor shooting percentage – 35.3 percent. But equally as detrimental was Ohio State's post play – or lack there of.
The Buckeyes (15-3, 2-3 Big Ten) received a grand total of 3 points and 6 rebounds combined from centers Amir Williams and Trey McDonald.
That's never going to cut it in Big Ten play unless the guards can shoot lights out, which we've already established they didn't come close to doing.
Minnesota (14-4, 3-2) outscored Ohio State 38-22 in the paint, getting major contributions from Elliott Eliason and Oto Osenieks.
You won't find Eliason's name in any mock drafts, and chances are you had never heard of him before Thursday night, but the 6-foot-11 junior provided the Gophers with exactly what Ohio State needs, and hasn't gotten, out of its big men in Big Ten play.
Eliason finished with 12 points and 13 boards, while Osenieks added 8 points and 4 rebounds. Both were aggressive around the rim, and played the gritty, blue-collar style of post play required in the Big Ten.
The 13 turnovers were costly, but weren't the only reason the Buckeyes lost. Minnesota had 18, but the Gophers shot nearly 70 percent from inside the paint.
The loss marked the first time Ohio State has dropped three-consecutive games since February 2009 when the Buckeyes dropped consecutive games to Wisconsin, Northwestern and Illinois.
It's the first time the Buckeyes have been beaten by double digits in back-to-back games since the 2008-2009 season, as well.
The one bright spot for Ohio State was junior forward LaQuinton Ross, who led all scorers with 22 points. Sam Thompson had 12, and was the only other Buckeye in double figures.
Guards Aaron Craft, Shannon Scott and Lenzelle Smith Jr. combined to shoot 5-for-18 from the field for 16 points.
Craft and Scott combined for nine turnovers to only five assists.
During the three-game losing streak, the pair have combined for 34 points, 26 assists and 26 turnovers.
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