Penn State - 60
Ohio State - 68
I got home last night and sat at the computer to check email. I looked at the clock and see it's a little past nine o'clock. "Oh yeah. Penn State is playing Ohio State tonight," I thought. So I clicked on ESPN.com to see the score. Imagine my surprise when I saw Penn State winning 45-43 with eight minutes to go. "Oh my God. They might pull it out!" I said.
Then Ohio State went on an 8-0 run to take a six point lead. As time ticked away, the Lions had to start fouling to save the clock. The Buckeyes made their free throws and Oden started taking over. Ohio State made the free throws. Despite 12 second half points from Mooch and some three point theatrics from Claxton and Morrissey, the Lions came up short once again.
Free throws were the difference in the game. Penn State was right there in rebounds and kept the turnovers low, but Ohio State had 33 attempts from the charity stripe while Penn State only got 13. Home court advantage? I think probably a bit so, although the Lions had to commit a lot of fouls down the stretch to preserve the clock.
Well, so ends the brutal stretch of four out of five games against top 5 opponents. When I looked at the schedule at the beginning of the year I had these all penciled in as losses. So no surprise there. The only question would be how bad would we lose. Overall, we did pretty well I would say. They played Wisconsin tough for
two-and-a-half halves three quarters of the game (ed. note: Math fart! Me much betters at English!) at home and got blown out on the road. They put a major scare in Ohio State twice but came up short in both contests.
Losing sucks, but I think the team proved they are probably only one or two players away from being competitive in the Big Ten. So now we have three games left before the Big Ten tournament and seemingly nothing left to play for. We'll see if they can scratch out a win or two. If they can I think it will go a long way toward building confidence going into the off season and hopefully provide a little momentum going into next fall.