Basketball Preview: Ohio State
Mitch Stewart, Ron Redden and Zach Kaplan break down this week's matchup against the Buckeyes.
After a 81-71 loss to Minnesota on the road Saturday night, Penn State will face Ohio State Tuesday for the first time this season.
The Buckeyes are riding high, entering this matchup with a 83-73 win against top Big Ten contender and No. 16 Wisconsin.
Ohio State played arguably one of their best games this season against the Badgers. They pulled ahead 41-33 at halftime and shot 63 percent from behind the arc, factors that helped the Buckeyes break their previous three-game losing streak.
On the opposite end, Penn State is looking to snap their three-game losing streak in their final home game of the regular season.
Penn State needs to do what Ohio State did against Wisconsin and build a solid lead in the first half, and Tony Carr is likely the man to help with that.
Tony Carr has been on a shooting hot streak in recent games, scoring 20 points against Minnesota and 21 points at Purdue. If the freshman guard can continue the momentum into this matchup, it could be crucial to help the Nittany Lions find success.
Penn State must also focus on rebounding in this game as Ohio State did against Wisconsin, dominating the Badgers by outrebounding them 38-23.
Ohio State’s Jae’Sean Tate had a double-double in rebounds and points in the first half alone, finishing with 15 points and 12 rebounds against Wisconsin.
As a team that was outrebounded 28-21 against Minnesota, Penn State must get bodies down low in the paint to secure second chance shots on offense and hinder Ohio State’s opportunities when on defense.
Penn State also had only six points in the paint in the first half compared to Minnesota’s 16.
The Nittany Lions will look down low for Mike Watkins to get some shots off the glass and hope Lamar Stevens will deliver through drives to the hoop and pull-up shots.
Ohio State’s point guard C.J. Jackson had himself a game against Wisconsin. The sophomore had a career high 18 points and went 4-4 from the three-point range.
If Jackson can assist Tate and JaQuan Lyle in points, Penn State could be in trouble.
However, if either Shep Garner or Payton Banks can get on a three-point hot streak, it could help boost the Nittany Lion’s points and momentum significantly.
The problem with relying on Garner and Banks to shoot from beyond the arc is their lack of consistency. Banks had a monstrous game against Illinois, scoring a season-high 24 points, but then went 0-5 on three-pointers and 0-6 on field goals in the overtime game against Purdue.
Garner has proven to be a little more consistent in shooting the past couple of games. He scored 10 points against Purdue and Minnesota as well as averaging 11.9 points per game.
Penn State’s ability to shoot consistently and show aggression on rebounding will either make or break the Nittany Lions and factor into Penn State’s standing for the start of the Big Ten Tournament that begins March 8.
Will the Buckeyes secure their second straight win, or will Penn State’s home court advantage help them successfully snap a three-game losing streak?
Ellie French is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email email@example.com.