Louisville over OSU: From the National and Buckeye Perspective

Posted on Dec 4 2014 - 9:16am by Ethan Moore
Photo - Adam Creech

Photo – Adam Creech

Louisville’s win over #14 Ohio State seems to have fallen largely unnoticed after the game finished up about 15 minutes until midnight on Tuesday.  However, we’ve got you covered from two different perspectives – national and from Columbus.

*ESPN’s Dana O’Neil broke it all down from the Yum! Center, highlighting Wayne’s big game.

For much of Wayne Blackshear‘s career, he’s been derided for what he hasn’t been instead of what Louisville fans hoped he could be. There have been reasons — a bum shoulder limited the former McDonald’s All-American the better part of his freshman year — but the cold truth is in big games, Blackshear just hasn’t been big.

Against nine ranked opponents last season, he played 130 minutes and scored just 27 points. During three NCAA tournament games, it was worse: 15 points across 56 minutes.

Which is why Blackshear’s game against No. 14 Ohio State — a ranked opponent, a big game — was so … big. He had 16 at the half and finished with 22, one shy of his career high.

That’s more than a third of the fifth-ranked Cardinals’ offense in the 64-55 win in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

“Coach sat me down at the beginning of the season and told me what he needed from me,” Blackshear said. “He said I’ve been here the longest, and I needed to step up. He knows the kind of player I am. He knows what I can do.”

Knowing and doing, though, are two different things, and up until this season, there’s been less doing for Blackshear.

Arguably the biggest recruit when he arrived on campus, Blackshear’s career has been a roller coaster, with the ups more like uphill climbs than soars to the top.

There have been flashes. In his first game back as a freshman after the shoulder injury, he scored 13 against West Virginia, and in the Final Four against Kentucky, his rebound/dunk putback still reverberates around the city.

Each time, fans thought he had arrived.

*Game recap from ESPN.com.

Judging from the multiple ways he helped the No. 5 Cardinals escape No. 14 Ohio State, it didn’t seem to affect him that much.

Rozier made three clutch jumpers down the stretch, including a big 3-pointer with 46 seconds remaining, helping the Cardinals survive the Buckeyes 64-55 on Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

“I just tried to do other things,” said Rozier, who aggravated the injury early in the second half and played the rest of the game with his pinkie and ring finger taped together. “I got seven rebounds tonight just trying to help the team in other areas.

“Then I stayed patient, and my shot came late in the game so it was good that I got to knock down that shot.”

*From the Columbus Post-Dispatch – detailed look at how the Buckeyes got back in the game.

Ohio State coach Thad Matta said he would know a lot more about his team after playing Louisville in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge last night.

He does. One of the good things was, it has heart.

Trailing by 19 points early in the second half, the Buckeyes rallied as close as three with 1:12 to play but couldn’t complete the comeback and fell 64-55 to the Cardinals at the KFC Yum! Center.

“We just started fighting,” said Sam Thompson, who played all 40 minutes. “They punched us in the mouth the whole first half. We wanted to come out and punch back.”

Wayne Blackshear scored 22 points to lead No.5 Louisville (6-0).

*OSU player and coach reaction after their loss to Louisville.

Q: Why was the offense so out of sync in the first half?

A: “Their pressure bothered us in the first half and we couldn’t get into any offensive rhythm. As a result of pressing a little bit on the offensive end, I thought we took some quick shots, and our turnovers didn’t help us. And their offensive rebounding was as good as we’ve seen.

“So from their pressure we turned the ball over, and the fact that we couldn’t get defensive rebounds really took us out of some of the things we do well, which is scoring in transition and having some early offensive opportunities.”

Q: Why did you turn the offense over to Russell in the last 12 minutes and keep Shannon Scott on the bench?

A: “When we struggle as much as we struggled in the first half, we were looking for just getting some type of offensive continuity, and D’Angelo, even though he didn’t shoot the ball well from the field, we thought he competed well and the pressure didn’t bother him. Putting him on the basketball in the second half really paid dividends for us.”

Q: What was wrong with Scott? Did he just not handle the pressure?

A: This is our sixth game of the year, and as coaches, you do what you need to do to try to win the game. Obviously, we felt comfortable with D’Angelo. I thought he did a great job of handling their pressure and finding our shooters.

“But that doesn’t signify that we’re making a change in our program. Shannon Scott is an important person in our program, and we will continue to ride him, and he will bounce back.”

Q: You had three freshmen on the floor down the stretch after Marc Loving fouled out and you cut Louisville’s lead to three. How did they play?

A: “The easiest thing for us to do is go tell our guys that we did a great job of coming back. But obviously, we did. We showed some toughness. Kam (Williams) did a great job of knocking down some threes, and Jae’Sean Tate just played like an animal, which was good for us. And then D’Angelo . . . I thought those guys settled down to where the moment wasn’t too big for them in the second half.”


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