by Quinn Peterson / @QwinFNP
One-seed Ohio St. vs. Sixth-seeded Penn St.
After knocking seventh-seeded Michigan St. last night, Penn St. makes their first title game appearance ever, where they’ll meet Ohio St., who is looking to win their second straight Big Ten Tournament title. To get here, the Nittany Lions have beaten Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan St. The Buckeyes have taken out Northwestern and Michigan. At 31-2, they’ve locked up a 1-seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. A win over the Buckeyes would, obviously, guarantee post-season berth for the Lions, but even should they lose, coach Ed DeChellis believes they’ve already done enough, with a Top 50 RPI and Top 10 SOS. Losing, however, will only leave them with 19 wins. Long story short: they need to win this game.
Talor Battle, who had been struggling in this tournament , finally shook his woes last night, erupting for 25 points and six 3’s against the Spartans. The biggest challenge for the Lions, as it has been for most every other team in the country, will be finding a way to contain Jared Sullinger. Ohio St. won both regular season meetings, winning 69-66 in Columbus, and 82-61 at University Park.
Tip off in 25 minutes!
— Probably an 8-to-2 ratio of Ohio St. fans to Penn St. fans. All Buckeye red here.
— OSU wins the tip, turns it over on the first play. Battle picks up where he left off and gets the Lions on the board first with a 3.
— PSU comes out in a 2-3 hoping to slow down Sullinger. Dallas Lauderdale gets OSU’s first bucket with a left-handed hook, then blocks a Jeff Brooks shot to force a shot clock violation.
— William Buford knocks down a 3 to give Ohio St. their first lead of the game.
— Battle responds with another trey.
— Diebler answers with one of his own. 8-6, OSU. Conseco Fieldhouse is live!
— Every time Diebler lines one up, OSU fans get anxious — and rightfully so.
— Aaron Craft now in to guard Battle. Should be a good matchup.
— Battle’s got all eight for PSU right now.
— Sullinger with a quick spin along the baseline., gets fouled. Footwork is so sharp. OSU leads it, 10-8, 11:55 left in the half.
— Quick 6-0 run forces PSU to call TO. 16-8, OSU.
— OSU mixing in some 3/4 court pressure.
— Sullinger gets his first field goal of the game around the 10:30 mark.
— Craft doing a nice job on Battle, so far. Making him work for everything.
— PSU trying to guard Sullinger one-on-one now. Not gonna work. Hits another right hook.
— Jeff Brooks picking up scoring slack for PSU. Scored their last 5. OSU leads, 22-15, 7:44 to play.
— Craft is mature far beyond his years. Great defender and decision maker. Gonna have an excellent four years at OSU.
— Couple stops, couple scores, PSU right back in good shape. Trailing by 3 now.
— 22-19, OSU, 3:58 to go.
— Two Jermaine Marshall has the deficit down to 1.
— David Lighty picks up his second foul on a charge.
— Huge Lauderdale block brings fans to their feet and leads to a Diebler layup.
— Lauderdale with another block. He’s been great patrolling the paint for OSU today.
— With Buckeye fans roaring, and the game clock running down, Battle drives and gets fouled with 8.9 seconds left. Key play to try to get himself going again and slow down OSU momentum — until Diebler drills a 3 with a defender all over him as the clock runs out. 29-23, OSU leads at the half.
— Diebler and Battle leading respective teams at the half with 10 each.
— Like yesterday, Diebler starts the second half instead Lauderdale.
— Diebler right back it, starts the half with a 3 after a Tim Frazier airball.
— OSU starts the half on a 7-2 run. Danger zone for PSU, starting to look fatigued. Frazier, who balled out yesterday, is scoreless today.
— Hard foul on Sullinger by DJ Jackson. Matta pleading his case to the ref. OSU up, 38-29. 14:06 on the clock.
— OSU takes biggest lead of the day on a Buford 3. 43-29.
— Craft follow up with another. Starting to get out of hand here. Ed DeChellis immediately calls timeout.
— BIG stepback three by Talor Battle to stop the run and O-H-I-O cheers.
— Sullinger maybe a little tired, as well. Come up short on last few FTs.
— 46-32, OSU. Just under 12 to play.
— Sullinger seems exhausted. Leaves the floor for a quick breather to a nice, well-deserved applause.
— Lauderdale has given the Buckeyes a huge lift today. Great minutes.
— Frazier finally gets on the board with a 3. OSU responds with a quick hit-ahead to Lauderdale for a lay-in. PSU comes back and answers with a Jeff Brooks 3, then calls timeout. 57-44, OSU, 6:28 to play.
— Bad pull-up 3 by Buford leads to a good pull-up by Battle, who’s got 20 now. 57-47, 4:51 to play.
— Big And-1 for Sullinger to get things back under control.
— Turnover by PSU. 60-47, OSU, 3:55 to go.
— Great take and finish by Craft. He’s been superb all day.
— Brooks gets the and-1 for PSU cuts the lead back to 12.
— Every time Battle comes off a screen, two or three guys are hedging to clogging the lane.
— Anothe nice take by Craft after running some clock. Sullinger fouls DJ Jackson after grabbing an offensive board.
— Wide-open Sullinger dunk should seal the deal, but PSU keeps fighting, gets to the foul line. 68-56, OSU, 1:05 left in the game.
— Frazier gets a layup, PSU calls timeout. 68-58, OSU. 40 ticks to play.
— Sullinger exits to a standing O from many Buckeye fans.
— Battle gets a quick layup after Craft misses the front end of a 1-and-1. PSU does a poor job fouling, eventually send Lighty to the line, who splits, but Buford grabs the offensive board and gets fouled.
— He makes both. 20 seconds left, 71-60, OSU.
— Frazier misses final layup and OSU runs the clock out. Buckeyes win 71-60. Buford led OSU with 18, while Diebler and Sullinger had 15 each. Battle had 24 for the Lions, Brooks had 19. Penn St. will now wait 35 minutes to hear their NCAA Tournament fate, while OSU just cemented overall #1 seed. .