No.21 Ohio State Buckeyes Win Nail Biter Against Butler Bulldogs

Samuel SicaAnalyst IDecember 13, 2008

After beating two ranked teams in Miami, FL, and Notre Dame last week, the Ohio State Buckeyes were faced with another formidable opponent in the Butler Bulldogs. Butler is 8-0 coming into the game against the Buckeyes with Ohio State at 5-0. This game was set up to be a good old fashion shootout between two undefeated teams.

Ohio State leads the all time series with 30 wins to Butlers' nine. These two teams met last season with the Bulldogs coming from a half time deficit to beat the Buckeyes by 19 points.

Butler, so far this season, averages nine three=pointers, 11.5 turnovers, and allows 55.2 points a game. Ohio State, on the other hand, averages 12.2 turnovers, force 16 turnovers, and only allows 50 points a game.

The game started out very sloppy with both teams turning the ball over six times in the first eight minutes. Altogether, Butler had 12 turnovers while Ohio State had 11 during the first half. At the end of the first half the score was 29-23 in favor of the Buckeyes.

Ohio States top scorers in the first half were David Lighty with seven points, B.J. Mullens with six points, and Evan Turner and Jeremie Simmons with five points a piece. Gordon Hayward and Matt Howard combined for 20 of the Bulldogs 23 first half points. Hayward had 14 points alone with 12 of those coming off three-point shots.

Butler shot a dismal 35 percent from the field in the first half while Ohio State managed to shoot 50 percent from the field.

As the second half began, the Buckeyes managed to open up a 13-point lead over the Bulldogs after leading at the half by only six. Butler would hang in there though keeping the game to around a seven to nine point deficit.

Butler managed to hang in the game for two reasons: Ohio State shooting poorly from the foul line and of the great play by Gordon Hayward. Ohio State ended up making just 16 of 28 free throw attempt in the game while Butler managed to shoot 13 of 15 from the foul line. Gordon Hayward also played a major role leading all scorers in the game with 25 points. Hayward scored 21 of his 25 points from three-point range. Butler ended the game 8-21 from three-point land while Ohio State was just 4-14 in three point attempts.

The game began to tighten when Hayward made his seventh three point shot to tie the game at 51 with just 3:38 remaining. The game remained tied after both teams missed easy opportunities to take the lead. Eventually, Evan Turner drove down the lane and scored to put the Buckeyes up by two with just minutes remaining.

Both teams struggled down the stretch but with just seconds left, Dallas Lauderdale, of Ohio State, was fouled and sent to the line. Lauderdale made one of his two shots putting the Buckeyes up by three with under a minute remaining. Butler moved the ball quickly down court but missed a three point shot, which handed the ball right back over to Ohio State.

The Buckeyes had the ball with about 38 seconds left in the game but unfortunately for them, Evan Turner missed a shot that would have put the Buckeyes up by five with under ten seconds remaining. Butler now had possession with just 9.7 seconds left on the clock. The Bulldogs needed a three pointer to send the game into overtime so naturally, they put the ball into the hands of their star Gordon Hayward. The opportunity was there but Hayward missed the three as time expired.

The Final score was 54-51 in favor of Ohio State. This puts the Buckeyes at a mark of 6-0 while the Bulldogs fall from the undefeated at 8-1.

My players of the game for Ohio State were Evan Turner who scored 14 points with five rebounds and Dallas Lauderdale who had eight points, seven rebounds, and four blocks as well as Gordon Hayward for Butler who had 25 points, leading all scorers.