Ohio State Basketball: How Buckeyes’ 2nd-Half Surges Make Them Dangerous

When the first half of a late-February game ends with your club only scoring 18 points, your coach is likely to be very unhappy. That’s especially true for the, shall we say, occasionally animated Thad Matta, coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes.

“Definitely the worst we’ve played—Coach Matta said it at halftime,” junior Sam Thompson said after Saturday night’s win over Minnesota, as reported by the Northeast Ohio Media Group’s Ari Wasserman. “Up to this point in the season, we hadn’t come out and just laid an egg, and we did that in the first half.”

Ohio State’s 18 points were scored on a feeble 27 percent shooting, including only four two-point baskets in 15 attempts. But read that quote again and note the operative phrase: “Saturday night’s win over Minnesota.”

The Buckeyes exploded for 46 points in the second half, matching the Gophers’ total for the entire game, and walked away with a 64-46 victory that serves as a gut punch to Minnesota’s NCAA tournament hopes. What it may have done for Ohio State was bring to light a previously underreported recent trend of second-half successes.

It’s been nine games since OSU’s four-game January losing streak ended, and the Buckeyes have won seven of those encounters. In each of the seven wins, they have decisively won the second half, a trend that will make them highly dangerous in March if it holds.

Earning Their Coffee

In the film adaptation of the David Mamet play Glengarry Glen Ross, Alec Baldwin’s abrasive…

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