After taking a four-point lead into halftime, the Buckeyes then came out weak to start the second half. They allowed the Nittany Lions to stay close and you can’t let bad teams hang around. After the under-16-minute TV timeout, the Buckeyes then started to put some distance between them and their Big 10 foes.
They opened up a seven point lead, and then Penn State promptly closed the gap back to three. Ohio State then opened up an 11-point lead and had a 10-point lead with 5:33 remaining. Again, the Nittany Lions closed the gap and forced overtime. In the extra period, Penn State overcame a three-point deficit with under a minute left to win on a made jumper with just two seconds left.
Ohio State has now dropped to 16-5 and 3-5 in the Big 10. Since starting the season 15-0, they’ve now dropped five of their last six, all in conference play. Just two of their three losses have come against ranked opponents, Michigan State and Iowa. Their three losses have come against teams with sub-.500 conference records.
The Buckeyes just couldn’t find a way to put the game away on Wednesday night in Columbus. Whenever they put some distance between themselves and Penn State, they allowed them to close the gap. This isn’t the first time they’ve blown a game like this, either. They had a five-point lead with 8:22 left against Minnesota before losing to the Gophers.
Ohio State has now lost games in which they had to come from behind and simply maintain a lead. It seems that Thad Matta’s bunch just doesn’t have the formula right when it comes to finding a way to win basketball games; their collapse against Penn State certainly proved that.
Aaron Craft can defend, but that’s about all he can do. LaQuinton Ross is way too inconsistent of a scorer and who knows what happened to Lenzelle Smith Jr. Amir Williams is their inside presence, but he’s not a very good one.
For Ohio State, the future doesn’t seem very bright if their current play continues. Their next two games will come at 14-ranked Wisconsin and at 15-ranked Iowa. They still have to play 10-ranked Michigan and they get one more crack and Michigan State.
If their current level of play keeps up, the Buckeyes could be flirting with arguably the worst collapse in college basketball history. At one point they were ranked third in the nation and undefeated. Come March, they could be on the outside looking in for the big dance.