Ohio State - 64
Penn State - 62
Last night Penn State did the best rope-a-dope bit since Ali and George Foreman. It was ugly in the first half. Real ugly. Like 33-4 run ugly. Like 40-19 at halftime ugly. Like shooting 23% from the field ugly. Many fans got up at halftime to use the restroom and decided to not return. Many of the students were there on free tickets handed out by the university, so it's not like they had anything to lose anyway.
But you know what? The rope-a-dope worked. Mighty Ohio State tuned out and started to think about getting home and collecting their paychecks and Penn State started coming back. Ohio State stretched the lead to as much as 33 points in the second half. Then they quit. Their shots went cold and Penn State heated up. Ohio State shot 2-of-11 from behind the arc in the second half while Penn State shot 7-of-12. The Buckeyes turned the ball over and Penn State capitalized. And then, with a few seconds left the Lions found themselves down by two points with the ball and a chance to shock the Big Ten and make some noise.
They drew up a perfect play and almost executed it to perfection. Penn State fed the ball inside to Claxton who drew the defense. He kicked it out to a wide open Mike Walker, arguably Penn State's best clutch shooter, at the top of the key. Walker took the shot as the seconds ticked down. But the shot rimmed out, and Penn State felt like this.
Oh No! We suck again!
So we've played Wisconsin tough and now we've played Ohio State tough. Is this a sign that the team has perhaps turned the corner and is starting to get better? Or is this just a case of a couple juggernauts taking the Big Ten doormat a little too lightly? I lean toward the latter, but we'll get a better idea when Penn State gets a second chance at Wisconsin on Saturday. You know after almost being upset by the Lions the Badgers and Buckeyes will not take them lightly again. If Penn State keeps these next two games close I'll be convinced they are playing better basketball. If they get blown out I will be convinced we're still not good.