Ohio State fans who stayed up late on Thanksgiving night weren’t rewarded for their endurance, as the Buckeyes suffered a 86-59 loss to Gonzaga in the first round of the PK80 Invitational in Portland. Early on, it looked like the Buckeyes might give Gonzaga a test, but the Zags took the lead for good in the middle of the first half and pulled away from Ohio State.
The Buckeyes held a 25-24 lead after a three-pointer from Musa Jallow near the middle of the first half, but the Zags would close the half on a 20-6 run to take a 44-31 lead into the break. The second half featured more of the same, with Ohio State failing to make the score any closer. Gonzaga attacked the Buckeyes from long range in the victory, hitting twice as many three-pointers as Ohio State did in the game.
Jae’Sean Tate and C.J. Jackson were Ohio State’s leading scorers in the game, each registering 12 points in the loss. The Buckeyes found the rims at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland unkind, as Ohio State hit just 34.5% of their field goal attempts, and making just six of their 20 attempts from three-point range.
Chris Holtmann’s team will have little time to feel sorry for themselves after suffering their first loss of the season, as the Buckeyes will be taking on a Stanford team that was just destroyed by Florida. The Cardinal had no answer for the offensive attack of the Gators, losing 108-87.
Florida left little doubt in the result early on, with the Gators scoring 58 points in the first half. Stanford couldn’t match the Gators from three-point range, as Florida hit 15 of their 22 attempts from behind the arc, while the Cardinal hit just seven of their 17. It’s not very often that a team will shoot 54% from the field, like Stanford did last night, and still lose by 21 points.
It has been quite a while since Ohio State and Stanford have squared off on the hardwood. The last time that the Buckeyes and the Cardinal played came all the way back in 1973, with Stanford winning 68-53 in the Kentucky Invitational in Lexington. All three previous meetings between the schools have come on neutral courts, with Stanford winning each.
This marks the second season of Stanford basketball under head coach Jerod Haase, who played his college ball at Kansas, and coached at UAB before moving to Palo Alto prior to last season. Haase was 14-17 in his first year with the school, and so far has posted a 3-3 record this season. Stanford is looking to get back in the mix in the Pac-12 and earn their first NCAA Tournament bid since 2014, when they advanced to the Sweet Sixteen under Johnny Dawkins.
Numbers to know
Ohio State can’t dwell on their performance against Gonzaga for too long, especially considering that the Zags went to the NCAA Championship Game last year. Ohio State shot just 34.5% from the field, making the Buckeyes the 60th consecutive opponent that Gonzaga has held to under 50% shooting from the field. The shooting performance by Ohio State was their worst of the season so far, with their previous lowest shooting percentage coming against Radford, where the Buckeyes shot 43.3% from the field.
Over the last two years, Ohio State has struggled mightily against teams in the Associated Press Top 25. After posting a 1-6 against Top 25 foes last year, the Buckeyes continued their woes lately against ranked teams with last night’s loss to Gonzaga. With games later in the year against the likes of North Carolina, Michigan State, and Minnesota, this is an area that Ohio State will have to correct if they look to build some momentum in Chris Holtmann’s first year in Columbus.
Tonight’s game against the Buckeyes might seem like a bit of a reprieve for Stanford. After hosting North Carolina in Palo Alto on Monday night, and facing Florida last night, it marked the first time in 19 years that Stanford has faced back-to-back opponents who have been ranked inside the Top 10 of the Associated Press poll. The last time that happened was in 1998 on the opposite coast, as Stanford played North Carolina in the preseason NIT in New York City, and followed that up with a trip to Washington D.C. to take on Maryland. Much like this year, the Cardinal lost both of those games.
Cast of characters
When Ohio State tipped off last night, it marked Jae’Sean Tate’s 100th game with the school. After hitting all 10 of his shots in the win over Northeastern on Sunday, the senior found things to be a little tougher against Gonzaga, finishing with 12 points. Tate was able to pull down four rebounds in the loss, leaving him just seven away from 600 boards for his career.
The true freshman got his first start of his Ohio State career last night after it was announced that Micah Potter would be unable to play due to an ankle injury. Wesson gave Ohio State 25 tough minutes before fouling out. The Westerville product did most of his damage on the scoresheet at the free throw line, scoring six of his 10 points in the game at the charity stripe. Last night was the third time in the first four games that he has played this year in which the younger of the Wesson brothers has reached double figures in scoring.
The Buckeyes are going to have their work cut out for them as they try to slow down Stanford’s junior forward. Travis scored a team-high 23 points in last night’s loss to Florida, and is leading the Cardinal this year with 21.5 per game. The Minneapolis-native doesn’t take very many bad attempts, as he has shot at least 50% from the field in five of Stanford’s six contests this season. Travis had attempted at least 10 free throws in four of Stanford’s six games this year, and he makes the majority of those, averaging 74.1% from the charity stripe.
The senior forward has teamed with Travis to create a dangerous duo down low for Stanford. While Humphrey might not have quite the scoring prowess that Travis does, he does more work on the boards for the Cardinal. Humphrey has recorded three double-doubles on the year, with his best performance of the season coming earlier in the year against Pacific, where he scored 26 points and pulled down 18 rebounds. Last night Humphrey was limited to just 18 minutes in the blowout to Florida, scoring 10 points.
How to watch:
Game time: 9 p.m. ET (approx.)
Radio: 97.1 WBNS-FM