Despite its defensive deficiencies, elite offense was Ohio State’s calling card via the first 15 video games of the season.
Take that out of the equation and it is no marvel the Buckeyes are one loss away from tying the longest shedding streak in the Chris Holtmann period.
Even two video games into their four-game skid, Ohio State possessed the No. 1 offense in the nation, per KenPom’s adjusted effectivity metric. Since then, the Buckeyes have turned in their two worst taking pictures performances of the season in back-to-back contests. Losses to Minnesota and Rutgers had been decided by a complete of seven factors, and Sunday’s defeat in New Jersey took an additional interval to determine. But in phrases of consequence, there is a superb line between a win and a loss.
Ohio State completed with its first sub-40% taking pictures evening of the season in Thursday’s loss to Minnesota, then the solely crew in the convention with out a Big Ten win. It was an uncharacteristically poor displaying for the often dynamic Buckeye offense, significantly by itself house flooring. After the truth, Holtmann referred to as it “our poorest offensive recreation of the yr,” and nobody disagreed.
Needless to say, Ohio State wanted an improved effort in its rematch in opposition to Rutgers. That figured to be laborious to return by in opposition to the greatest defensive crew in the Big Ten, particularly given the New Jersey backdrop. Not to say the controversial ending to the first matchup, which solely added extra motivation for the house crew.
To that finish, an 0-for-7 begin from the subject was a foul omen for the Buckeyes. It appeared Ohio State discovered its rhythm throughout a subsequent 15-0 run from 14:55 to 11:08 of the first half, however the momentum was brief lived. Immediately after taking a double-digit lead close to the halfway level of the opening interval, the Buckeyes closed the half with 15 misses on their subsequent 17 photographs.
It did not get higher to begin the second half when Ohio State misfired on its first 5 subject targets whereas Rutgers took a slim lead. Combining these two stretches, the Buckeyes shot 2-for-22 from the last 11 minutes of the first half via the first three minutes and alter of the second half.
But Rutgers by no means ran away with it. The Scarlet Knights shot even worse than Ohio State on the day (33.9%), and the Buckeyes had been in the recreation the complete manner. After Brice Sensabaugh tied issues up with 49 seconds left in regulation, he even had an opportunity to hit a go-ahead bucket with two seconds on the clock. It did not go down.
Throw out all the pieces that occurred in the 40 minutes prior and Ohio State nonetheless had an opportunity to win. In truth, the Buckeyes had a one-point lead with 1:50 to play in extra time. Allowing back-to-back Rutgers buckets on the subsequent two Scarlet Knight possessions sank Ohio State’s possibilities greater than something, however the Buckeyes’ extra time shot chart could also be simply as damning.
Ohio State hit simply two of its eight makes an attempt from the subject in extra time, together with a stretch of 5 straight misses, for a 25% mark that cemented Ohio State’s poorest single-game share of the season (34.3%). Move over, Minnesota.
The Buckeyes’ Sunday struggles cannot solely be attributed to their opponent’s stellar protection. In the Dec. 8 matchup with Rutgers, Ohio State shot 46.4% from the flooring and 42.1% from 3-point vary. At the time, that was Ohio State’s worst collective taking pictures efficiency in 5 video games. After the outcomes of the final two video games, although, the Buckeyes would take that in a heartbeat.
Nine gamers tried no less than one shot for Ohio State on Sunday, however solely three of them (Sensabaugh, Tanner Holden and Felix Okpara) completed with a field-goal share at or above 50%.
Justice Sueing shot simply 3-for-10 on the heels of a 4-for-13 efficiency in opposition to Minnesota. Sueing entered the weekend as Ohio State’s second-leading scorer with a mean of 14.1 factors per recreation, however completed the Rutgers loss with simply seven factors.
Sean McNeil tied Zed Key as Ohio State’s second-leading scorer on the day (11 factors), however he knocked down solely three of his 12 makes an attempt. Bruce Thornton logged the most minutes of any Buckeye (36), however completed with simply 4 factors on 2-for-7 taking pictures. Isaac Likekele, who made his first begin in properly over a month, missed all 5 photographs he tried.
Sueing, McNeil, Key, Thornton, Likekele and Eugene Brown mixed to shoot simply 12-for-46 (26%) from the flooring.
Frankly, that is not going to get it accomplished. Not if the Buckeyes hope to finish their shedding streak in brief order and make noise in the postseason after a promising begin to the 2022-23 season.