Ohio State men's basketball | Rewatching the Syracuse game

Adam Jardy
Ohio State Buckeyes guard C.J. Jackson (3) goes up for a lay-up against Syracuse Orange guard Tyus Battle (25) and forward Elijah Hughes (33) during the 1st half of their game at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio on November 28, 2018. [Kyle Robertson]

With Karl Ravech on the call and Dan Dakich providing insight, here’s what the broadcast told us about No. 16 Ohio State’s loss to Syracuse on Wednesday night. To dig into how Ohio State's different lineups performed, click here.

*Ohio State could not have enjoyed a better start to the game. First four possessions: Luther Muhammad baseline jumper, Kyle Young alley-oop slam, Kaleb Wesson left-handed hook shot in the paint and a C.J. Jackson three-pointer that didn’t even move the net. The first basket made Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim made a substitution only 28 seconds into the game to send a message, and the second came 1:16 into the game. Dakich: “C.J. Jackson is as clutch a player as there is in the country. I’m telling you. Late against Cincinnati, it didn’t matter he hadn’t scored, it didn’t matter that he had missed shots, he just knocks them in.”

*Wesson’s basket with 18:16 to play in the first half was his only made field goal of the night.

*The Buckeyes were much better on the glass in the early going. Ohio State had a 5-0 offensive rebounding advantage in the first four minutes, even as it went from hitting its first four shots to missing six straight.

*Muhammad drew a second foul on Oshae Brissett before the first media timeout, and he immediately knew it.

*Ohio State’s first two turnovers were preventable. An errant pass sailed out of bounds, and then Jackson had a careless pass from the left wing that was easily picked off. That led to a possession where Syracuse missed a shot, grabbed an offensive rebound and then scored.

*Andre Wesson hit two foul-line jumpers in the first eight minutes, finding a little bit of open space in the zone and knocking the shots down.

*Keyshawn Woods passed up an open three-point look on a possession that led to a contested, deep three-pointer from Duane Washington that didn’t fall. Woods only took four shots in the game.

*The Buckeyes got a taste for Syracuse’s length when Young got the ball at the elbow and immediately threw a bounce pass to a cutting Musa Jallow. That normally is a layup, but it was knocked away by a defender. The possession ended with a shot clock violation when Woods threw up a prayer that drew only backboard. Dakich noted that Syracuse was starting to do a better job of getting into the ball and pressuring the Buckeyes.

*Jaedon LeDee and Young both took a charge on the same play, and Woods was right there too. LeDee didn’t get much playing time as Holtmann tightened his rotations significantly, but you could have made a case for more time for the freshman.

*Kaleb Wesson’s second shot was blocked, and his third was altered at the rim. Dakich noted that he’s not going to go over a 7-footer, or even a 6-11 guy. “He’s not that guy,” he said. “He’ll power you, but he won’t go over you.”

*Hustle play for Young, diving for a loose ball after getting a deflection and giving Brissett a third foul in the process. And then a moment later, on the same type of play, Young picked up a foul.

*Kaleb Wesson had a nice defensive stop where he followed a guard from the top of the key, got to the block, bodied him up and drew a turnover when the opposing player jumped up and had nowhere to go but into Wesson. He also got whistled for a foul where the replay seemed to indicate a clean block, and he stomped his foot in frustration with about eight minutes left in the half.

*Dakich pointed out that neither Young nor Kaleb Wesson is a great finisher over length, leading to a number of missed shots in the paint. “The second things is, I think (Syracuse) has done a really good job of getting into the ball.”

*Syracuse was hitting about 20 percent of its threes entering the game. Once a few started to fall, you could really see the Orange get confident. Ohio State clearly wasn’t applying enough pressure on the perimeter, possibly because they were too worried about how guys were driving around them.

*Muhammad took a charge as the shot clock was winding down with about five minutes left in the half.

*Duane Washington gave Ohio State a 26-24 lead with a no-doubt-about-it three-pointer from straight on. That ball was good the moment the pass hit his hands, and he was wide open.

*Dakich, on Thad Matta: “Thad Matta did such a great job here. He elevated the program and he did it in a class way. The kids that played for him absolutely loved him.”

*Tough sequence. Syracuse misses a three, Washington doesn’t block out the shooter, the Orange get the offensive rebound and make the Buckeyes pay with a three. At the other end, Washington takes a quick, deep three-pointer that doesn’t fall.

*Starting with 1:26 left, here was Jackson’s close to the half: two free throws, dive after a loose ball, two more free throws, athletic defensive rebound, fouled in the open court, one of two more free throws. Those final two attempts came with 39.4 seconds left.

*Last possession of the half. Muhammad fouls with about 10 seconds left and is replaced by Jallow. He has to guard Frank Howard, who dribbles out the final seconds, attacks, spins through the lane and lays it in with two seconds left. As the Buckeyes went to the locker room, Jackson was seen on camera offering some support to the sophomore.

*First possession of the second half, Syracuse gets the ball right into the paint and Young can’t seal the baseline as the Orange tie the game at 31 on a basket that looked too easy.

*I forgot that Andre Wesson had a LeBron-like chasedown block early in the second half.

*Somehow, Syracuse was only credited for three blocks in this game. Not even two minutes into the second half, Kaleb Wesson was blocked, got his rebound, went up and appeared to be blocked again. One possession later, he got an offensive rebound, went up for a layup and had his shot altered. Ravech said, “He was looking for a foul.” Dakich followed with, “He needs to look to dunk. The length has really bothered Ohio State inside.”

*Young went in for a dunk on a baseline cut with 16:43 to play, lost the ball but had it fall while being fouled.

*Andre Wesson bodied up his man on the offensive end, Jackson came flying in to tie him up and Ohio State forced a turnover leading to the first media timeout. The older Wesson brother made a few impacts that weren’t present in the box score.

*After the timeout, though, Wesson was called for leaning into a screen. The turnover marked a rare example of the Buckeyes executing poorly out of a timeout.

*Trailing 41-33, Woods throws up a contested three-pointer from the left wing. “Bad shot,” Dakich says as it goes up. It finds the bottom of the net. “Good shot,” Dakich says.

*Ohio State forced two bad shots from Syracuse on one possession, and then Young got a layup to reward his activity along the baseline. He didn’t always finish, but Young had a pretty good game. Out of the timeout, he thwarted Syracuse with a steal off a post feed. “He’s undersized, but he’s not under-hearted,” Dakich said.

*The defensive effort was questioned after the game, but Syracuse had seven straight empty possessions during the second half as Ohio State took a 43-41 lead. Elijah Hughes then made the Buckeyes pay when Jackson left him to help elsewhere and he buried a three.

*Syracuse’s takeover at about the midpoint of the second half was impressive. Jump shots were falling, and defensively the Orange just looked quicker and bigger.

*Down 55-45, Ohio State had consecutive unforced turnovers. Andre Wesson threw a pass into the stands, and then Muhammad carried the ball when he hesitated on a pass.

*Doubled in the corner, Kaleb Wesson’s attempted cross-court pass to Washington is deflected. He gets the ball, but has to head back away from the rim, where he is also pressured and ends up throwing it upcourt and away. In the process, Woods is called for a foul trying to snag the pass. Two free throws ensued, and instead of maybe cutting the lead to five Ohio State now trailed by 10.

*Big-time shot by Woods to bury a three as Kaleb Wesson was being fouled to pull Ohio State within eight points with 5:45 to play.

*Ohio State actually threw some zone at Syracuse, but it wasn’t very effective.

*Jackson had three open, in-rhythm threes during this game that he missed. If he makes those shots, like he normally does, it’s a different game.

*After the 6-0 run made it a six-point deficit, Ohio State really manned up defensively and forced a bad Syracuse shot. Then Young’s shot wasn’t called a goaltend. Ohio State would still get the ball back down six, but Woods rushed an off-balance three that didn’t fall.

*Muhammad’s injury followed immediately as Syracuse sealed it to go ahead by eight points. Young collided with him as he came over to try and block the shot as both were around the rim, and he fell right on his left shoulder. You can hear him on the broadcast yelling and telling people it’s his arm.


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