Court Report: Buckeyes face Minnesota on Thursday, look to avoid three-game losing skid

The No. 11 Ohio State Buckeyes look to avoid a three-game losing skid as they travel to Minneapolis to take on Minnesota on Thursday night. Tip-off at Williams Arena is scheduled for 9:05 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised on ESPN2 with Joe Tessitore and Sean Farnham. On your terrestrial radio dial, WBNS-FM 97.1 The Fan is the flagship station for the 56 outlets on the Ohio State IMG Sports Network. Paul Keels will call the play-by-play with analysis from Ron Stokes. The game can also be heard live via satellite on Sirius 85 and XM 85.

Aaron Craft #4 of the Ohio State Buckeyes is fouled by Wally Ellenson #3 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers as he drives to the basket in the second half on February 20, 2013 at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Minnesota 71-45. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Aaron Craft #4 of the Ohio State Buckeyes is fouled by Wally Ellenson #3 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers as he drives to the basket in the second half on February 20, 2013 at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Minnesota 71-45. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

The Buckeyes enter Thursday’s conference match-up with a 15-2 overall record and are 2-2 in Big Ten action with wins over Morgan State (89-50), Ohio (79-69), at then-No. 17 Marquette (52-35), American University (63-52), Wyoming (65-50), North Florida (99-64), Maryland (76-60), Central Connecticut State (74-56), Bryant (86-48), North Dakota State (79-62), Delaware (76-64), Notre Dame (64-61), Louisiana-Monroe (71-31), Purdue (78-69) and Nebraska (84-53). The two losses were to No. 5 Michigan State (72-68, OT) and No. 20 Iowa (84-74).

In Ohio State’s last game against Iowa, the Buckeyes led by as many as nine points with 12:51 left in the contest following a three-pointer by Amedeo Della Valle, but then the bottom fell out.

It was a back and forth affair in the first half as there were 12 lead changes and Iowa led 37-35 at intermission.

With 18:15 to go, Aaron White’s layup gave Iowa a three point edge. But then Ohio State went on a 15-3 run in the next three-plus minutes as LaQuinton Ross made two three-pointers and four free throws. Della Valle capped the rally with a triple that made the score 53-44 in favor of the Buckeyes.

Iowa’s Devyn Marble was able to stop the bleeding with a pair of free throws before Mike Gesell, White and Jarrod Uthoff sank three-pointers on consecutive possessions as the Hawkeyes tied the game at 55-all with 10:26 remaining.

Ohio State led 65-62 with 5:54 left when Iowa scored eight straight to pull in front 70-65. The Buckeyes’ Amir Williams followed his own miss with a dunk plus a foul at 3:22 to make it a one-possession game, but Melsahn Basabe’s tip-in and White’s runner made it 74-68 and that was the ball game.

Minnesota is 13-4 overall and is also 2-2 in conference play with wins over Lehigh (81-62), Montana (84-58), Richmond (74-59), Coastal Carolina (82-72), Wofford (79-57), Chaminade (83-68), Florida State (71-61), New Orleans (80-65), South Dakota (75-59), Nebraska-Omaha (92-79), Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (65-44), Purdue (82-79) and Penn State (68-65). The four defeats were at the hands of No. 8 Syracuse (75-67), Arkansas (87-73), Michigan (63-60) and No. 5 Michigan State (87-75, OT).

In the Gophers’ last game against the Spartans on Saturday, Andre Hollins totaled 24 points and Malik Smith posted 17 but it wasn’t enough as Minnesota lost to No. 5 Michigan State, 87-75, in overtime at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.

Keith Appling poured in 24 points, including eight in OT, for the Spartans.

The Gophers led 41-36 at the break, and after Maurice Walker’s bucket, Minnesota held a 53-43 advantage just over four minutes into the second half.

But the momentum swung in the other direction from there as Branden Dawson’s tip-in with 8:24 remaining capped a 15-0 surge and the Spartans went up 58-53.

With Michigan State still leading by five at 71-66 with 21 seconds to play, Smith drained a trey to cut it down to two. After Gary Harris bricked a pair of free throws for the Spartans, DeAndre Mathieu converted a layup with just over one second left to send the game into overtime.

Form there, though, it was all Michigan State in the extra period.

Ohio State leads the all-time series against the Gophers 80-55. Minnesota owns a 37-30 edge in Minneapolis. Thad Matta is 10-5 overall vs. the Gophers since taking over the Ohio State program in 2004-05, and the Buckeyes have won the last six games in the series.

2013-14 TEAM STATISTICS

NO. 11 OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
15-2, 2-2 Big Ten
OSU
OPP
Points Per Game
75.1
57.6
Field Goals Made-Att.
438-935
362-950
Field Goal Pct.
.468
.381
3-Pt. Field Goals Made-Att.
115-337
76-283
3-Pt. Field Goal Pct.
.341
.269
3-Pt. FGs Made Per Game
6.8
4.5
Free Throws Made-Att.
286-416
180-263
Free Throw Pct.
.688
.684
FTs Made Per Game
16.8
10.6
Rebounds Per Game
36.8
34.4
Assists Per Game
13.6
8.6
Turnovers Per Game
11.4
14.9
Assist-to-Turnover Ratio
1.2
0.6
Steals Per Game
7.4
3.3
Blocks Per Game
4.7
2.6

MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS
13-4, 2-2 Big Ten
MINN
OPP
Points Per Game
75.9
67.1
Field Goals Made-Att.
422-975
389-937
Field Goal Pct.
.433
.415
3-Pt. Field Goals Made-Att.
136-388
99-327
3-Pt. Field Goal Pct.
.351
.303
3-Pt. FGs Made Per Game
8.0
5.8
Free Throws Made-Att.
311-412
263-360
Free Throw Pct.
.755
.731
FTs Made Per Game
18.3
15.5
Rebounds Per Game
37.0
34.0
Assists Per Game
14.5
12.8
Turnovers Per Game
11.4
13.4
Assist-to-Turnover Ratio
1.3
1.0
Steals Per Game
8.2
5.4
Blocks Per Game
5.0
4.7
PROBABLE LINEUPS & INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. MPG PPG RPG APG FG% 3FG% FT%
C 23 Amir Williams 6-11 250 Jr. 24.4 9.6 6.7 0.4 .653 .000 .667
F 10 LaQuinton Ross 6-8 220 Jr. 25.6 13.6 5.8 0.8 .428 .397 .710
G 32 Lenzelle Smith Jr. 6-4 210 Sr. 27.1 12.2 4.9 1.5 .486 .366 .780
G 4 Aaron Craft 6-2 195 Sr. 34.2 9.1 3.4 5.1 .472 .280 .708
G 3 Shannon Scott 6-1 185 Jr. 28.0 8.3 4.2 4.1 .459 .308 .676
Key Reserves:
F 12 Sam Thompson 6-7 200 Jr. 22.9 7.6 3.2 0.9 .423 .265 .667
F 2 Marc Loving 6-7 215 Fr. 13.4 7.0 2.4 0.4 .434 .306 .824
G 33 Amedeo Della Valle 6-5 190 So. 13.1 5.2 2.1 0.4 .387 .373 .611
MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. MPG PPG RPG APG FG% 3FG% FT%
C 55 Elliott Eliason 6-11 240 Jr. 26.1 6.5 8.6 0.8 .500 .000 .659
F 10 Oto Ošenieks 6-8 220 Jr. 21.1 6.8 3.2 0.9 .473 .355 .613
G 20 Austin Hollins 6-4 190 Sr. 32.4 12.1 6.7 2.5 .393 .316 .720
G 1 Andre Hollins 6-2 195 Jr. 31.8 16.3 4.1 3.1 .405 .344 .835
G 4 DeAndre Mathieu 5-9 165 Jr. 28.8 11.4 2.7 4.4 .489 .474 .810
Key Reserves:
G 30 Malik Smith 6-2 200 Sr. 21.3 10.1 1.9 1.3 .393 .400 .872
F 24 Joey King 6-9 225 So. 18.1 6.8 2.4 0.4 .439 .303 .771
F 15 Maurice Walker 6-10 250 Jr. 12.8 4.8 3.2 0.4 .545 .000 .654