You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

live video

Donald Trump is officially the nation’s 45th President

Self-destructing Buckeyes lose second in a row

Over the years there are some things you just didn’t expect to see around Ohio State:

  • Woody Hayes throwing the football 50 times a game.
  • A Buckeye crowd cheering the sight of a big maize colored block M set on blue background.
  • Thad Matta’s basketball team losing two games in a row.
  • Jim Tressel trading in his sweater vest for a long, leather trench coat, matching gators, black turtleneck and that Isaac Hayes’ theme song as he swaggered up and down the sidelines like Shaft.


While some things were true to form Sunday at Value City Arena — the crowd of 18,809 booed heartily when the University of Michigan logo appeared on the overhead video board at halftime — one thing was not.

Coming into the game with No. 20 Iowa, the Buckeyes had lost back-to-back games just two times in the past five seasons.

Although they had dropped their first game of the season in overtime at Michigan State Tuesday night, they came into Sunday’s affair still 15-1, ranked No. 3 and with a loud home court advantage. And when Amedeo Della Valle, the Buckeyes’ curly-headed Italian sharpshooter, hit a 3-pointer to put OSU up by nine — 53-44 — with 12:51 left in the game, it looked as if status quo would return.

That’s why what happened next left everyone so puzzled afterward.

OSU came unglued and within 2½ minutes Iowa had tied the score, 55-55. The Bucks nudged ahead once more by 5 and then — with their stars making far more errors than positive plays — they faded down the stretch and finally lost, 84-74.

In the final four minutes, Aaron Craft, the pesky OSU point guard who so often has willed his team to wins with his gritty, up-in-your-grill defense, turned the ball over twice, missed free throws on two occasions, botched a lay-up and finally fouled out, finishing with just as many turnovers (6) as points.

Over just about that same span, LaQuinton Ross — the team’s leading scorer who on this day would finish with 22 — turned the ball over twice and missed a 3-pointer. In fact, in the final seven minutes he was held scoreless.

Afterward, Iowa coach Fran McCaffery agreed when someone suggested this was the Hawkeyes’ biggest victory since he took over the program in 2010.

“The first year we beat the fifth-ranked team, Purdue, on the last day of the season and that was huge,” he said. “And the second year we beat four ranked teams. But this time — this was the first time on the road, so that is a fair assessment.”

What made the victory for his 14-3 Hawkeyes even more meaningful, he said, was what had been the nature of the OSU team this season.

“We have tremendous respect for everything Thad Matta has done since he got here … and with this team in particular,” McCaffery said. “I’ve watched this team against Notre Dame. I watched them against Michigan State (coming from 17 down in the final seven minutes or so of regulation).” They are as resilient of a team as I’ve ever seen.”

Sunday, though, the Bucks not only lost their late-game resilience, but before that, their killer instinct, too.

“We learned today things aren’t going to be easy,” Craft said afterward. “We went through a stretch today when we wanted things to be easy. We didn’t want them to make a run when we went up 9. We wanted them to just die. But they’re not gonna do that. They’re a great team.”

Afterward, Craft, Ross and Matta all tried to put a finger on what went wrong. They talked about mental lapses, about a lack of communication at times and about an inability to take care of the basketball.

All that is part of it — the Bucks have now had 38 turnovers in their back-to-back losses — but as Matta noted they also played some very good basketball in both of those games.

The Buckeyes are a good, but flawed, team.

They’re especially soft inside. In the first half alone, Iowa scored 30 points in the paint and by game’s end it held the rebound advantage, 40-31.

Matta pointed out there is history to draw on here.

“We were in this exact same position last year. We went to Michigan and got beat in overtime and then came home and got beat by (No.1) Indiana. The biggest thing now is making sure our minds are where they need to be to get better.”

Last year, after those two straight losses, the Bucks won 12 of their next 13 games.

And this time?

Craft said with the next two games on the road “it won’t get easier … But there’s still a lot of basketball to be played. The worst thing we can do is feel sorry for ourselves. You can’t take anything away from Iowa, they did what they needed to do.

“But it can’t keep going like this. We’ve got to find a way to pick ourselves up. No one is gonna do it for us. It’s up to the 12 players on the team and the coaches, that’s about it.”

With that he and Ross left the postgame press conference for the dressing room. For all the talk of picking themselves up, their heads were mostly down as they headed out the door.

Maybe it was time to crank up a little old school Isaac Hayes for these guys:

“Who’s the cat that won’t cop out

“When there’s danger all about


“Right on.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

What if the Bengals are better off rebuilding than trying to win now?
What if the Bengals are better off rebuilding than trying to win now?

Yesterday we considered the idea the Cincinnati Bengals are closer to being contenders than needing to rebuild. Today we look at the flip side. Here are five reasons, some fairly factual and others a matter of perception, the Bengals are closer to bottoming out than going back to the playoffs: Even if free agents Andrew Whitworth, Kevin Zeitler...
HS Basketball: Springfield will take a shot at top-ranked Moeller
HS Basketball: Springfield will take a shot at top-ranked Moeller

Springfield will be looking to do what Alter couldn’t last week, beat undefeated and top-ranked Cincinnati Moeller. Alter fell 60-46 to Moeller in the 8th Annual Kevin C. Barnhill Coaches Showcase at Little Miami High School in Morrow last Saturday. The matchup of Greater Catholic League boys high school basketball powers was part of a fund-raiser...
H.S. Results for 1/19/17: Versailles girls rally to claim MAC lead

A furious fourth-quarter rally by Versailles earned the Tigers a 51-43 high school girls basketball victory over Fort Recovery in Thursday night’s battle for sole possession of first place in the Midwest Athletic Conference. Fort Recovery (9-2 overall, 3-1 MAC) led by as many as 11 in the third quarter, and 41-40 with 3:04 remaining in the game...
Perfect streak continues for Wright State junior forward Smith
Perfect streak continues for Wright State junior forward Smith

One of the most valuable types of players a basketball coach can have is one who doesn’t miss. And Katrina Merriweather feels fortunate to have such a player in her first year at the helm of the Wright State program. Sure, Lexi Smith misses some shots. Almost half of them to be exact. But it’s not her team-leading field goal percentage...
Football title games move to new Canton stadium for 2017-18
Football title games move to new Canton stadium for 2017-18

A three-year run of the high school football state championships at Ohio Stadium in Columbus officially ended on Thursday when the Ohio High School Athletic Association announced the games would be played at the new Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton in 2017-18. The OHSAA board of directors unanimously voted 9-0 during its January meeting to...
More Stories