#2 Duke Outlasts #4 Ohio State, Wins 73-68

Going into this, one of the marque match-ups of the B1G/ACC Challenge, I’m not sure we had any kind of idea what kind of team Head Coach Thad Matta is fielding this year at Ohio State.

But in true Matta fashion, they came out strong against Duke, taking the fight and physicality to them in the first half and played a solid game overall.

It was definitely a tale of two halves. The first half saw some solid defense all around from the Buckeyes, with Craft obviously leading the way but with both Shannon Scott and Lenzelle Smith, Jr. playing great defense. The Buckeyes dominated the boards in the first half, pulling down as many rebounds (20) as Duke had shot attempts. Half of Ohio State’s rebounds were of the offensive variety. Ohio State looked the better team and looked to be in control. Things looked promising for Ohio State, maintaining the lead without leading scorer Deshaun Thomas sitting on the bench for an extended period of time.

But, of course, it was all because Duke was playing their fourth game of the week, and they were le tired.

Duke came out in the second half and made numerous mini-runs, getting inspired played from Mason Plumlee and Rashard Salami-man. Ohio State weathered them all and maintained a lead deep into the second half.

Deshaun Thomas came out demanding the ball and made some MAN-sized jumpshots. But ultimately, it wasn’t enough. Duke’s defense picked up and Ryan Kelly’s barrage of threes really distanced Duke in second-half.

Even with the loss, there are a lot of things to be happy about this game. Cameron Indoor Stadium is not an easy place to play in. (The advantages for Duke extend beyond the raucous crowd, getting more than their fair share of calls from referees). They played extended minutes without their best scorer, Thomas and Ohio State proved it can hang with a top five team. This could be a potential future match-up in March and we Buckeye fans should have an exciting season to look forward too.


  1. I hate “moral victories” but this was one of the few examples of one. I thought Craft played his worst offensive game throwing up brick after brick (3-15 from the floor.) If he made a few more shots it could have been a different outcome. Also, I think LaQuinton Ross needs some more playing time as he is one of the few pure scorers on the team. He played only 11 minutes but scored 9 quick points and is probably the second or third best scorer on the team. Would have been nice to get this W after leading for most of the game but it’s not easy to go into Cameron Indoor against probably the second best team in the country and come out with a victory.

    • Yeah, Craft’s off shooting night together with DT’s foul trouble was a formula for disaster. I also agree that Ross needs more time on the floor. I wonder if Matta sees him as a defensive liability.

      I don’t think he’s that kind of guy, but I sure would like to see some aggression from Amir Williams, too.

  2. A lot to like about this loss which is a weird thing to say. I think we learned more from this loss then we did all the wins combined. OSU is a top 5 team and I don’t think I could say that before last night.

  3. “The advantages for Duke extend beyond the raucous crowd, getting more than their fair share of calls from referees…”

    Substitute “B1G opponents” for “Duke” and this is what the PSU mob says after every conference loss. The evidence for both complaints is thin to nonexistent. Ohio State fans should understand particularly well that irrational resentment of success skews perception.

    • Oh, my resentment of Duke’s success is quite rational, I assure you. If you could find an unbiased third party to look at the calls that went Duke’s way last night, I’m confident they would find that Duke received favorable treatment more than once.

      I hesitate to blame refs, believe me, but to claim that Duke doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt on their home court is naive, in my humble opinion. Whether it’s coming from fans or unbiased opinions, the sentiment is out there.


  1. […] we could have had a repeat performance this year in the B1G/ACC match-up. That was not to be had, unfortunately. Luckily, he’s still smarting from last year’s game that I think he won’t be […]

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