Men's hoops: Re-watching the ESPN broadcast of Ohio State's comeback win at Notre Dame

Adam Jardy
Buckeye Xtra
Dec 8, 2020; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Players on the Ohio State Buckeyes bench celebrate in the second half against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the Purcell Pavilion.

The No. 22 Ohio State men’s basketball team improved to 4-0 on Tuesday night with a 90-85 win at Notre Dame. It was the first high-major game of the season for the Buckeyes and provided their biggest challenge yet.

Here’s what the ESPN broadcast featuring Karl Ravech on play-by-play and Dan Dakich on color commentary told us. If you want to read analysis on which lineups led the Buckeyes to victory, you can click here.

*First possession of the game, the Buckeyes worked it to Kyle Young on the left block. He spins, goes up, has his shot altered and misses. It’s starting to become a theme for Young, who is struggling to score without Kaleb Wesson helping draw so much attention.

More:Ohio State's E.J. Liddell responds to Chris Holtmann's challenge with career-high game

*The Buckeyes got an early out-of-bounds play from under their basket. They got it to E.J. Liddell, but he was bodied off the left block and after running some offense Duane Washington Jr. stepped into an open three-pointer. “He’s a human bucket, that guy,” Dakich said. “He came to Ohio State to score points.”

*One possession after CJ Walker was called for a charge on a fast break, Liddell forced a Notre Dame turnover by bodying up his man and causing him to travel.

*Twenty one of the first combined 23 points were on three-pointers. Wild.

*Walker had a second turnover barely seven minutes into the game when he attempted to force a pass to Zed Key as he was falling away from the basket in the heart of the Notre Dame defense.

*Key followed that with a tough defensive possession. After getting beaten on the glass, he got matched up with a guard on the perimeter and allowed a drive to the basket that gave Notre Dame a 16-13 lead. His evening would be over soon thereafter.

*Former Ohio State commitment Dane Goodwin drove the lane, beat Young to the right block and scored to force an Ohio State timeout at 18-13. Once he scored, Goodwin yelled something in the direction of the Ohio State bench and pumped his fist to his chest while heading back down the court.

*Out of that timeout, the Buckeyes got a wide-open three for Justin Ahrens who buried it. Pretty good execution.

*Ohio State’s early turnovers weren’t good ones. Walker had the charge, Justin Ahrens lost the ball along the baseline and Washington just lost it out of bounds when it slipped out of his hands on a drive. Big part of the reason why the Buckeyes fell behind early.

More:Men's basketball notebook: E.J. Liddell, Musa Jallow spark Ohio State in Notre Dame win, but work remains

*Ball-screen defense has been an issue at times this season, and with 8:30 left in the first half Liddell and Young left Cormac Ryan wide open for a three after a screen that gave the Irish a 25-18 lead.

*Ahrens told me during the preseason he’s worked on adding to his game. He gave a head fake, drew the defender into the air, took a dribble to his left and then calmly hit the three to pull Ohio State with 25-23. It might be the first time I can remember Ahrens hitting a three off a dribble.

*One possession later, Washington buried a tough three with a defender in his face to give the Buckeyes the lead. “If you give him a split second, he’s lifting up and most time delivering,” Dakich said. Then, on the next possession, Washington tried to drive into a pair of Notre Dame defenders and was fortunate not to be called for a turnover when he forced a tough shot in traffic. Then two possessions later, he launched a deep three fairly early in the shot clock and Chris Holtmann subbed him out for Ahrens.

*Freshman Gene Brown had a heads-up defensive play when he tipped a Notre Dame pass for a turnover that led to Walker drawing a foul on the fast break.

*Young really struggled with his perimeter defense at times. Trailing 29-28, Young was late on a closeout and fouled Ryan on a three-pointer. This would manifest itself later in the game, when he would sit for most of the second half.

*Sueing took a charge and, after the whistle, made a snow angel on the court. Then he turned it over at the other end.

*Notre Dame was able to exploit Ohio State defensively and hit a pair of mid-range jumpers during the final two minutes that helped it close the half with a flourish. At this point, the Buckeyes struggled to stay in front of their man on the perimeter and they paid for it.

*The big swing came after Washington turned the ball over trying to dribble behind his back through two defenders, leading to a fast-break dunk at the other end to set the score at 42-34. Washington came out of the game for Jimmy Sotos, who had to try and initiate the final offensive possession. It ended with Ahrens forcing a three and Liddell putting his offensive rebound high and off the glass.

*Liddell battled with Juwan Durham on a defensive rebound early in the second half after the Notre Dame center missed a put-back attempt. Liddell’s elbow drew contact with Durham’s head, but no foul was called on the sophomore. At the other end of the court, the two started bumping each other.

*Durham split Young and Liddell for a three-point play off an underneath in-bounds play.

*Young kept a stagnant offensive possession alive that led to a Walker three-pointer with 17:33 to play that pulled the Buckeyes within 45-39. Walker shot this one from the left wing with confidence and a hand in his face. Then Walker helped pop the ball loose defensively, leading to a Washington fast-break layup.

*Ohio State had a habit in this game of leaving somebody open from three, and Notre Dame was good at making the Buckeyes pay.

*After Young had another attempt partially blocked at the rim, Durham fouled Sueing to give the Buckeyes possession after he shouldered the Cal transfer out of the way. Prentiss Hubb then somehow soundly rejected Liddell on a layup attempt from the left block.

*Another ball-screen miscommunication leads to Nate Laszewski being fouled at the rim and hitting the ensuing free throws, giving Notre Dame its game-high lead at 55-44.

*Nice defensive play by Washington to strip the ball from the much bigger Durham when matched up one-on-one in the post to help force a shot-clock violation with 13:14 to play. On the next possession, Sotos hits a three to pull within 55-51.

*Hubb had 11 points in the first 27 minutes of the game and 15 in the final 13 minutes, starting with a drive and finish over Young shortly before the senior subbed out for the remainder of the night.

*Ahrens got a flop warning for his defense against Goodwin, who at one time was part of his same Ohio state recruiting class.

*The Buckeyes only had two second-half turnovers. One of them came from Sotos with about 11 minutes to play, and he came out of the game shortly thereafter.

*I forgot that Ahrens’ fourth three of the game hit the base of the rim, died there and just fell in somehow.

*Down five, Washington made a great read to see Jallow open along the right block and threw him a lob from deep in the left backcourt for an easy dunk. It’s the kind of play Young used to get at least once a game. On the next possession, Washington read the defense on a pick and roll, spied Liddell making a cut and fed him the ball for a layup to make it a one-point deficit and led to a Notre Dame timeout.

*Jallow just ripped the ball from Durham underneath the Notre Dame basket for a steal. Then he fouled Walker on a drive to the rim, which fouled him out of the game with about 8:50 left and would be a significant blow to the Irish.

*Liddell started to make waves here, hitting two free throws and then going over Laszewski on the block for another bucket despite giving up three or four inches to the Notre Dame big guy.

*Walker took another charge, and then Washington with a rare two-bounce pass to Jallow that he drove from the left wing to the rim while being fouled for a three-point play.

*Liddell had another nice block on help defense to deny Hubb at the rim after he got around Walker with about 5:30 to play.

*Notre Dame got a putback from lightly used freshman Matt Zona, then survived a Washington wide-open three miss and had Goodwin at the line after Jallow committed a foul on the offensive rebound. The Ohio State lead was down to one, and this seemed like a chance for the Irish to reclaim momentum, but Goodwin missed the front end of a one-and-one with 4:30 left. Liddell then scored in the middle of the Irish zone. Big momentum swing.

*Out of the under-4 timeout, Jallow slipped and allowed Laszewski to drive the basket only to see him somehow miss the layup. Liddell couldn’t clean up the rebound, though, and Hubb then buried a three on the extended possession to tie the game at 75 with 3:10 to play.

*Washington then just buried “a tough shot that he made look easy,” as Dakich put it. Given the slimmest window, he found the opening and nailed a three. Dakich also said Washington battled COVID-19 during the summer.

*Liddell pulled down a tough rebound after a Goodwin miss with 1:20 to play and the lead at 83-80 before making what I felt was the play of the game. With the ball at the three-point line and the shot-clock winding down, Liddell wanted to get the ball back to Walker but couldn’t. So he put the ball on the deck, crossed over his defender, got to the left elbow and launched a jumper over Laszewski that fell as the buzzer sounded with the ball in the air. It pushed the lead to five points with 50 seconds to play.

“He just wins games for you,” Dakich said.

*Washington came up limping twice in the game, the second of which was during the final minute after he was tied up with the ball and fouled with 40.6 seconds left.

*When trying to break a press and also expecting to be fouled late in a game, Ohio State has to like its options with Walker, Washington and Sueing all in the backcourt.

*Ahead 86-82, Liddell got matched up with Hubb on the perimeter and when the smaller, quicker guard drove past him, Liddell them fouled him as he scored. The three-point play made it an 86-85 game with 22.4 seconds left.

*This game had too many clock issues.

*Walker was not going to let Hubb get a tying three-pointer off after he hit two free throws to give Ohio State an 88-85 lead, and when he got switched off of the Notre Dame guard it was Jallow who took over and forced Hubb to give the ball up. Walker then deflected the pass and hit two free throws at the other end to set the final score.

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy