Buckeyes fall short of knocking off Texas Tech

The Buckeyes put out a solid effort today but fell short of beating Texas Tech, 80-72.

It was a triumphant return to Columbus for Bob Knight as his Texas Tech team defeated Ohio State 80-72 on Sunday.

The Red Raiders (12-2) were led by senior forward Andre Emmett, who had 27 points and 11 rebounds.

Ohio State (8-5) was paced by freshman point guard Nick Dials' 15 points.

The Buckeyes gave the sellout crowd of 19,200 much to cheer about in the first half. They led the entire half - by as many as eight at one point (16-8) - and held a 37-33 advantage at halftime.

But the Red Raiders quickly turned things around in the second half.

They opened the half with a 6-0 run and took their first lead of the game at 39-37.

However, behind the play of Dials and J.J. Sullinger, the Buckeyes were able to regain the lead at 43-41. Their largest second half lead was 52-47 with 9:51 left in the game following a Dials' 3-pointer.

But that's when the wheels fell off for the Buckeyes.

Texas Tech went on a 10-0 run, grabbed a 57-52 lead, and never looked back.

The Bucks were able to get as close as one (61-60), but couldn't get over the hump. Tech responded with an 8-0 to grab a commanding 69-60 lead with just two minutes left in the contest.

The story of the game for the Buckeyes was their poor shooting. They were 26 of 79 from the floor for 32.9 percent. Many of the misses came close the basket, a problem OSU has had over the last two-plus seasons.

The Red Raiders, on the other hand, shot a blistering 60.4 percent (32 of 53).

"Remember now, they take 79 shots and make 26," Knight said. "I think that's the most important statistic in this game. They got the ball in close, but were maybe putting them up a little hurriedly and so they missed a lot of shots in there. If they played like this, with shots falling for them, that didn't fall for them in this game, I think they're going to be really hard to beat. I mean, they were hard enough to beat as it was.

"If you would have given me these statistics before the game started - we had 13 turnovers and they had seven; they shoot 79 times and we shoot 53 times - I would have went back to Lubbock. I would have let Pat (Knight) coach. So, I think it's unusual that we win with those statistics."

Although OSU led by just four at halftime, it was controlling the tempo and appeared on its way to its biggest win of the season. But Texas Tech came out in the second half and played its best 30 minutes of the year.

"When we were going off the floor at the half - I think maybe when we got back to the tunnel - I told Pat that I thought Ohio State was playing as well, or better, than any team that we've played all year," Knight said. "Then, I think in the second half, we probably played the best basketball that we've played all year. And I think we had to have something like that to win this game."

Ohio State Jim O'Brien was left scratching his head at his team's shooting woes. He obviously had his team well prepared to play, but he can only do so much.

"It was easier offensively for us than I thought it would be," O'Brien said. "We got the ball inside and had opportunities. They are rangy, but those are plays you have
to make to beat a good team."

On the defensive end for OSU, stopping Emmett - one of the Big 12's best players - proved to be impossible. He had his way nearly the entire game. If the Buckeyes came out on the perimeter to guard him, he drove right past them. If they left him open, he knocked down outside jumpers.

"I thought we didn't guard them for the whole game," O'Brien said. "We had a hard time
defending them and we had no answer for Emmett. We still found ourselves in a position to win but there were key defensive possessions when we needed stops and didn't get them."

Knight, on the other hand, was of course pleased with his team's offensive performance.

"I think we got the ball in position to get good shots," he said. "I think that was reflected in the shooting percentage we had."

As for Dials, he has a fan in Knight. He also has OSU's starting point guard position locked down.

Knight was asked if Dials reminds him of anyone he's coached.

"He reminds me of somebody that's good," Knight said. "I mean, I think he's a tough kid. Really tough kid and he's good. He's going to be a really, really good player. I really like him. He scraps; he scrambles; he's tough. When you look at kids on tape, you can't really see their definition very well. But this kid is really well built. He looks like a defensive back. He's going to be good for them. Very good."

Dials, who is bringing back memories of ultra-hustler Chris Jent, was actually a linebacker in high school.

Although Dials came to OSU as a walk-on, he quickly earned a scholarship. But even when he was trying to prove himself to his teammates and coaches, he never felt out of place on the major D-I level.

"I have always felt welcome at Ohio State," Dials said. "I love these guys and I feel
comfortable where I am. It feels no different than when I first came in the
summer. It doesn't matter how many minutes I play (led OSU with 34 against TTU), I still feel the same. I'm just going to work hard and do what I can to help this team. We just fell short today."

Dials brought the crowd to its feet on several occasions with his hustle and long-range shooting. It was the first time this season you could actually say the decibel level was through the roof at the Schott.

"This was a great atmosphere today," O'Brien said. "The fans were terrific. We played really hard, but we didn't play well."

For OSU, Sullinger finished with 12 points and Stockman had 10 (on 4 of 18 shooting).

The Buckeyes open the Big Ten season Wednesday at Illinois.

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