Greetings Hoops Fans! This is Dave Horning for Fan Podcast with a post-game review of the Ohio State Buckeyes loss to the Penn State Nittany Lions in the Big Ten Tournament quarter-final game played on Friday, March 2nd in Madison Square Garden – Final score: Penn State 69 Ohio State 68.

This was a game that the Buckeyes could have and should have won. Unfortunately, the loss marks the third time that Ohio State was beaten by Penn State this year. With the victory, Penn State enhances their resume for a possible NCAA invitation, but they are on the bubble and will likely not be invited.

So, if Penn State is not invited, and they beat the Buckeyes, then that marks Ohio State as a team that will have a tough time in their first game, no matter who the opponent is. I’m not taking anything for granted from here on.

The Buckeyes will have a week off to practice and get healthy before their next game which will be in the NCAA tournament to be played on Thursday, March 15 or Friday, March 16.

We will need this practice time to improve on the fundamentals – things which broke down against Penn State:

● We’ve lost the habit of blocking out on defensive rebounding – Penn State gathered 14 offensive rebounds and got more second chance points than we did – they were leading at half-time 14 to 3 on second chance points. And this was without their Big Man, Mike Watkins, playing. We’ve stopped backing into our offensive man and keeping him away from the boards.

● We’ve stopped shooting free throws well – we missed two one-and-one opportunities in the second half – giving up critical points.

● We’ve lost the aggressive defense that forced opponents into bad shots or shot clock violations. That did happen a few times against Penn State this third time, but not often enough.

● We’ve lost the movement on offense that works to get an open shot. CJ Jackson was lost in the shuffle and had no good looks at the basket finishing 1 for 5 on his 3-point shots. Kaleb Wesson took a 3-point shot – really?

●We need better ball movement on offense. With about 12 minutes left, Keita Bates-Diop made a great drive and dunk to cut the lead to 2. On the ensuing Penn State inbounds play, Andrew Dakich made a great steal and called time-out. Coming out of that time-out, the Buckeyes set up a great play and Kaleb Wesson made a great pass and assist to the driving Kam Williams who scored don a reverse layup. This s great offense and great ball movement out of a time-out.

However, at the end of the game, with 47 seconds left, Ohio State holding the ball and a one-point lead, we did not run a good offensive play, and Keita Bates-Diop was left dribbling the ball at the foul line under heavy pressure, and he was stripped of the ball and Penn State went on to make the final basket and win the game. It was disappointing to see Ohio State lack the killer instinct and not perform well at the end of the game.
The good news was that Keita Bates-Diop did step up and aggressively control the offense at the end of the game for the Buckeyes, if you ignore that last play. Keita made two nice baskets in the final minutes, and at the 12 minute mark, made that drivng layup and dunk to ignite the Buckeyes come back. So, it is good news that our star player is seeking the ball and stepping up. He is the horse that we will be riding in the NCAA tournament.

Final Score: Penn State 69 Ohio State 68

This is Dave Horning for Fan Podcast. Now, it’s on to the NCAA Tournament and let’s see who we play next! The season is not over! That’s the best news.