Much like this game, there is no “winning” for me with this recap. If I’m too harsh on the team, I’m not a “true” fan and I’m beating up on college kids. If I bring out the platitudes about a long season and motivation, I’m ignoring the clear deficiencies of a team that got curb-stomped.
So, let’s try to be middle of the road.
The team got punched in the mouth, with Ohio State shooting a blistering 60% from three in the first half and building up a lead that stretched to 27 before Villanova could blink.
Coming into the game, it was widely thought that Villanova would try and push the tempo of the game, something that proved impossible with an Ohio State offense that kept finding the bottom of the net.
Villanova struggled mightily on offense with ill-advised shots, sloppy turnovers, missed bunnies, and just a complete breakdown of any sort of offensive strategy. Villanova shot 26% from the floor (25% from three) in the first half while turning the ball over 10 times.
As the first half wound down, Ohio State cooled down, going 1 for 14 and suffering a near two and half minute scoring drought. The Wildcats, taking advantage where they could, went on a 9-0 run to close the first half and trim the lead to 18 before the break. In fact, 6 of the 9 came on three Collin Gillespie buckets while the Ohio State defense was struggling to get back. That is as close as the game would get.
Villanova could not buy a basket at the start of the second half, starting 3-14 from the field and nailing the coffin shut. With just under 8 minutes left in the game, the Buckeyes’ lead ballooned to 30 points in the midst of a 4 and a half minute scoring drought from Villanova.
Villanova finished the game shooting a brutal 19-62 (31%) from the floor and 10-30 from three. On the flip side, Ohio State couldn’t miss, shooting 60% from from the floor and 56% from three. We never had a shot.
Jermaine Samuels, Saddiq Bey, and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl went a combined 9-30 from the floor, with a number of buckets coming as garbage time wound down in the second half. Justin Moore and Brandon Slater went a combined 2-12 while Collin Gillespie, the team’s leading scorer with 10 points, went 1-5 from three.
The optimist in me, which is basically that tiny alien from Men in Black but grows weaker and weaker by the day, wants to say this game was a bad game, by a growing team, in a rough arena, against a good team. When those factors come together, you get an ugly, ugly game. That’s what we got.
The sun will rise in the morning, ‘Nova Nation.