Ohio State stifles Marquette to end home winning streak
A short jumper off the glass. A stutter-step shot that drew a foul. An easy layup after a teammate sealed off a defender in the middle.
After a bruising tussle with Marquette in the first half, Shannon Scott helped energize No. 10 Ohio State early in the second half for a big win on the road.
Scott scored 13 points, including the three buckets during the 12-4 run after halftime, and the Buckeyes pulled away for a 52-35 win Saturday over the cold-shooting, 17th-ranked Golden Eagles.
Sam Thompson also scored 13, while Aaron Craft added 10 points and 10 assists for the Buckeyes (3-0), who ended Marquette’s 27-game home winning streak, second-longest in the nation.
It was the school’s first loss at home since Vanderbilt beat the Golden Eagles 74-57 on Dec. 29, 2011. Only South Dakota State (30) had a longer winning streak in the country entering Saturday.
Didn’t look like they could pull it off after shooting just 27 percent in the first half. But things opened up after halftime, when coach Thad Matta’s team was 15 of 26 from the field (58 percent).
“Eventually, it’s got to go in the basket,” Matta said in recounting a halftime talk. “Fortunately we had that run. It was the difference in the game.”
Scott, Craft and Thompson were the sparks, while Marquette (2-1) came out flat in the second half in front of a full house of 18,700 friendly fans in the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
“As I told our guys, I don’t feel sorry for us at all. They beat us,” coach Buzz Williams said. “They beat us straight up. They beat us at home before a sellout crowd.”
It certainly didn’t help that the Golden Eagles had 20 turnovers and shot just 10 of 53 (19 percent) for the game, including 4 of 24 (17 percent) in the second half.
Tied at 19 at halftime, the game opened up with Ohio State going on the run and finding room to maneuver inside.
Center Amir Williams started the spurt by muscling out Chris Otule in the post for a basket. Then Williams sealed off Otule in the lane to allow Scott to go in for an uncontested layup.
After forcing a steal of Jake Thomas, Scott sped down the court and drew a foul on Thomas on the stutter-step jumper. Lenzelle Smith Jr. lowered his head driving the baseline and flipped up a tough shot around Marquette’s big men for a 31-23 lead with 16:21 left.
“Defensively, we just didn’t get back in transition, and from that point on they had the advantage,” point guard Derrick Wilson said. ‘
Coach Williams called a timeout that briefly settled his team before the Buckeyes pulled away again.
Ohio State had just three turnovers in the second half to 10 for the Golden Eagles, who are breaking in a new backcourt with last year’s starting trio of Vander Blue, Junior Cadougan and Trent Lockett all gone.
Wilson is the new starter at the point. Todd Mayo, helping to fill the minutes left by Blue’s departure at shooting guard, led the Golden Eagles with 11 points.
Whatever the reason, Ohio State found its rhythm on the fastbreak, with a 16-0 edge, including 12-0 in the second half.
“The biggest thing we wanted to do was get out in transition,” Craft said. “If we could get rebounds and run, we could get lay-ups before they could set up. And that’s what we wanted to do.”
It was another momentous day in Craft’s career after he eclipsed 1,000 career points, to become the first player in team history to have that many points along with 500 assists and 200 steals.
The bruising first half featured tussles under the bucket, plenty of rebounds and lots of missed shots. The teams combined to shoot 13 of 55 in a half that ended in a 19-all tie on Buckeye forward Marc Loving’s 3 from the corner with 7 seconds left.
The Golden Eagles had briefly taken control with an 8-0 midway for an 18-14 lead with 4:47 left through the half by making tough shots in the lane, mainly with Amir Williams on the bench.
Marquette managed to outrebound Ohio State 50-34. Davante Gardner had 10 points and six rebounds.
The teams were scheduled to meet last year in the Carrier Classic in Charleston, S.C. aboard the USS Yorktown, but the game was called off because weather conditions caused a slippery court.