The No. 3 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes defense stepped up big once again, bringing the team’s record to 15-0, and 2-0 in conference play. The Buckeyes continued their winning streak Saturday, defeating Nebraska, 84-53.
Despite a slow start for both teams, the Buckeyes began to pull away toward the end of the first half. Scoring the last seven points of the half, the Buckeyes went into the second half with a 10 point lead.
The Buckeyes played more than adequately on defense against the Cornhuskers, only allowing Nebraska to shoot 32.1 percent in the second half, and only 1-7 outside the arch. Strong defensive play is exactly what the Buckeyes will need when they travel to East Lansing Tuesday to take on the No. 5 Michigan State Spartans.
The Buckeyes offense wasn’t slacking either.
Sophomore guard Amedeo Della Valle came off the bench and dominated the Nebraska defense, going 3-3 from outside the arch and 2-3 from the free throw line. Della Valle led the Buckeyes in scoring with 15 points.
“He wants to contribute, he wants to be apart of what we’re doing. He’s diligent in his work and for him to be banging shots like that, that’s what we need him to do for us,“ said coach Thad Matta of the sophomore from Alba, Italy.
Freshmen forward Marc Loving, who came in to score 13 points also felt the bench stepping up for the team today was a factor in their victory.
“We just try to bring a lot of energy to the game, we feel like our energy off the bench can affect the game in a major way,” said Loving.
Being able to rely on their bench more throughout the season is another attribute the Buckeyes can use to their advantage come against the Spartans.
Nebraska head coach Tim Miles was aware of his team’s lack of confidence toward the games end, but said a defense like OSU’s can wear you down.
“Ohio State’s 2 or 3 or whatever you want to call it, in the country, and you’re going to pay the price,” Miles said.
But Miles said the Buckeyes strong play against his team is more than enough to prepare OSU for continued Big Ten success.
“If they can turn Michigan State over like they turned us over, then I think that’s going to cause problems for any team,” Miles said.
Turnovers were a huge cause for momentum for the Buckeyes, adding 17 points to their score.
Matta is hoping that momentum carries into Tuesday’s game.
The Spartans are undefeated in conference, but are 13-1 on the season, with their only loss to North Carolina in the Big Ten-ACC challenge last month.
The Buckeyes and Spartans are set to play at 9 p.m.