Talk about pressure for the Buckeyes. The Bradley Center was rocking; they were playing another ranked team on the road and were trying to prove that they can beat a team that, like themselves, is one of the best in the country. Despite playing at home, Marquette must’ve felt that same type of pressure. They know Ohio State is good, and playing the Buckeyes on their home court wasn’t necessarily going to guarantee them a win.
Both teams were plagued by mistakes in the first half, so much so that they went into halftime with the score tied at 19-19. Those 38 total points were the lowest halftime total in Division I this season. In the first half both teams made less than 30 percent of their field goals, while neither made more than 20 percent of their three point attempts. Both of them also struggled with turnovers.
Ohio State was lucky. Marquette was making just as many mistakes as they were and it kept the Buckeyes in the game in the first half. If Ohio State was making these mistakes and Marquette was playing at their best then it would’ve been a whole different game for the Buckeyes. They need to learn how to handle pressure better, especially with teams like the Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, and Wisconsin Badgers on their schedule this season and the likelihood that they will be participating in the NCAA Tournament come March.
Ohio State looked considerably better in the second half. At the halfway point they already had about the same amount of points that they had total in the first half. What was the difference? They weren’t making as many mistakes and playing more like themselves.
Ohio State’s ability to overcome pressure and cut down on mistakes as a result is the reason why they won this game. They need to continue to play like themselves this season and not succumb to the pressure that they will face. The Buckeyes may not be able to overcome mistakes like this against other top teams.
Ohio State proved their point today, and this 52-35 win over a fellow ranked team on the road should look great on Ohio State’s NCAA Tournament resume.