The Big Ten isn’t easy and Ohio State is finding that out the hard way. The Buckeyes had a chance to get back into the win column today on the road at Rutgers, but the Scarlet Knights didn’t give in and defeated the visitors 68-64.
It is the fourth straight loss for Chris Holtmann and his squad, putting their record to 10-7 overall and 2-4 in Big Ten play. It has been a horrendous 2023 showing for this team, as they have started the new year 1-4, with their only win coming over two weeks ago at Northwestern.
It wasn’t a pretty game for the Buckeyes as evidenced by the score. Here is what we learned after another loss for Ohio State.
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Why not call a timeout with the game tied and 12 seconds left
With the game tied at 57 and possession of the ball, the Buckeyes had a chance to end the game in regulation. Brice Sensabaugh took a forced three that was very long and gave Rutgers a chance to end it with their own three. Luckily the Scarle Knights missed it, but the sequence to get there should never have happened.
Holtmann should have taken a timeout and drawn up a play, reminding his team to take a shot with two seconds left to not give Rutgers a chance for the win. It was another confusing coaching decision by Holtmann, something that has plagued this team up to this point.
The press still bothers this team
It’s not hard to notice that this team struggles when put into pressure situations. Rutgers would full-court press the Buckeyes at times during the first half and the offense looked discombobulated. It wasn’t just getting the ball past half-court, the press would throw the whole offensive flow off.
You’d think by now after multiple teams have pressed this team that an adjustment would have been made but it hasn’t. Another issue with this team that inexplicably continues to compound as the losses keep coming.
Holtmann switched up this starting lineup to try and spark the team
Isaac Likelele and Felix Okpara got the start, with Zed Key and Sensabaugh coming off the bench. Early on, Holtmann’s move didn’t work out well, as the Buckeyes struggled through the first seven minutes of the game, with just four points. Luckily, the Ohio State defense held their end of the bargain, holding Rutgers to just four points. The idea made plenty of sense but it wasn’t until the bench players came in that the offense started to get going.
The losing streak continues
After defeating Northwestern and taking a very close loss to Purdue, many of us thought this team would get back to their winning ways. Well, that hasn’t happened and four losses in a row later, this team could very well be going into a tale spin. The Buckeyes are on the road against a solid Nebraska team next before hosting Iowa then back on the road against Illinois and Indiana is what lies ahead.
I mentioned this a few weeks back, the schedule wasn’t going to give this team any easy outs. The conference is a grind and this team hasn’t responded. For a squad that looked like it would be a lock to make the NCAA tournament, it might be fighting for its tourney lives over the next few weeks.
Sensabaugh gets back on track
The one good thing to come from this game was Sensabaugh finding a rhythm on offense again. Against Maryland and Minnesota, the freshman struggled a bit, shooting under 40% from the field in both games. Today was different, as Sensabaugh shot 6-of-11 and showed how efficient he can be.
It wasn’t about the points, he’s been scoring plenty, it’s has been about his effectiveness and he was on point today. Sensabaugh even chipped in 11 rebounds in another very good showing for the Buckeye star.