Ohio State fell to Houston in the second round of the NCAA Tournament tonight. Chris Holtmann’s Buckeyes fought, but couldn’t outlast Kelvin Sampson’s exceptional squad despite their best effort. The Cougars will move on to the sweet sixteen.
Ohio State came to play in the first 20 minutes and gave the Cougars fits from the start. C.J. Jackson would start off hot hitting threes and making plays for the Buckeyes on offense. With five quick points, he eclipsed the 1,000 point mark for his college basketball career. Coach Holtmann also made a key decision in allowing Keyshawn Woods to handle the ball much more and initiate the offense. His great scoring efforts as of late forced Houston to pressure him and opened up lanes for other Buckeyes on the floor. Kaleb Wesson also did a solid job early of adapting to how he was being defended. He was doubled in the post and left open on the perimeter. Instead of rim-running in transition, he would trail to take advantage of his and hit a couple outside shots. The Cougars did however manage to score at a high volume with their first seven points coming off Ohio State turnovers. When forced to slow it down, they would set screen after screen to get their star scorer and shooter open in Corey Davis. This mixed with solid performances from other Houston role players lead to a 39-31 Houston lead at the half.
Both squads struggled to score in the opening minutes of the second half. The scoring got going quickly after the drought and the teams began to trade buckets. Houston continued shooting well as Ohio State began to attack the paint more. The aggressiveness of the Bucks would put them in the bonus with over 10 minutes left. They took advantage by attacking the rim, but they failed to consistently make free throws and only closed the gap a little for the time being. Galen Robinson also began to kill the Buckeye defense by exploiting Keyshawn Wood’s inability to keep up with nagging injury he suffered early in the second half. The screens by the Cougars were also phenomenal and gave them open looks. Ohio State’s offensive production exclusively came from the free throw line with Kaleb Wesson knocking down some big time foul shots to keep them within striking distance. He then had a made layup that broke the eight minute stretch without a field goal to cut the lead back to single digits. They could not however close the gap any further and would lose 74-59.
OHIO STATE STANDOUTS
C.J. Jackson: 18 points, 3 assists
Kaleb Wesson: 15 points, 6 rebounds
Corey Davis: 21 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals
Galen Robinson Jr: 13 points, 5 assists, 6 steals
OHIO STATE STATS
The Buckeyes managed to put a successful season together and got a win in the NCAA Tournament that nobody thought they would come out with. They just could not slow down and out-play the Houston squad that has been extremely impressive all year. Coach Holtmann and the Bucks fought all year and proved doubters wrong time and time again. The season ended on a loss, but the team put everything out there and will look to make a deeper run in 2020.
In Holtmann we trust.
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