Buckeyes square off with Nittany Lions in Big Ten brawl

Published January 25, 2012

| Sports Network

The fourth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes continue their run through the Big Ten as they welcome the Penn State Nittany Lions to Columbus for a conference showdown at Value City Arena.

Thad Matta's Buckeyes are an impressive 51-1 at home over the last three seasons, including a 14-0 mark in 2011-12. However, OSU was on the road this past weekend, blowing out Nebraska in Lincoln, 79-45. With the win, the Buckeyes moved to 5-2 in-conference.

The Nittany Lions come into play with heavy hearts, as the university mourns the death of Penn State Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno. Patrick Chambers' squad will be wearing black arm bands in memory of Paterno and enters Wednesday's action following a loss at nationally-ranked Indiana (73-54). The setback was the fourth in the last five games for PSU, which now sits at a dismal 2-6 in league play.

Ohio State enjoys a 27-12 series advantage thanks to wins in each of the last 16 meetings.

Penn State led 29-27 at the half in Bloomington, but Indiana came roaring back in the second half, hitting 65 percent from the floor in posting a 19-point win over the Nittany Lions. Tim Frazier once again led the way offensively, netting 21 points, on 7-of-18 shooting. Nick Colella added 11 points off the bench, but PSU managed a mere 22.7 percent shooting accuracy in the second half, hitting just five field goals over the final 20 minutes of action. It has been a lot of the same all season long for Penn State, which has a prolific scorer in Frazier, but little else behind him. Frazier is performing at an All-American level this season, averaging 18.0 points and 6.4 assists per game. Unfortunately, there isn't much offensive support, as Jermaine Marshall represents the next highest scorer at just 9.8 ppg.

The Buckeyes have the talent to win games at either end of the floor, evidenced by their gaudy +22.0 scoring margin. The team is shooting an impressive .494 from the floor and putting up 77.9 ppg, while holding foes just under 40 percent shooting (.398) and a mere 56.0 ppg. It certainly helps to have a dominant trio, led by perhaps the nation's best low post player in sophomore Jared Sullinger. The 6-9 Sullinger is converting nearly 60 percent from the floor and paces OSU in both scoring (17.1 ppg) and rebounding (9.1 rpg). William Buford and Deshaun Thomas provide plenty of firepower behind Sullinger at 15.2 and 15.0 ppg, respectively. The remainder of the starting five consists of savvy point guard Aaron Craft (8.0 ppg, 5.1 apg, team-high 50 steals) and Lenzelle Smith Jr. (6.2 ppg, .486 from three-point range). The Buckeyes once again made light work of the Cornhuskers, sweeping the season series by a combined 65 points. In the 34-point romp over the weekend, Buford led the way with 15 points. Sullinger and Thomas poured in 14 a piece in the victory, as OSU dominated at both ends, including forcing a whopping 27 turnovers.

URL

http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2012/01/25/buckeyes-square-off-with-nittany-lions-in-big-ten-brawl/