Wizards

Thomas scores 16 as Ohio State hangs on, 72-63

201301221831667104902-p2.jpeg

Thomas scores 16 as Ohio State hangs on, 72-63

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Almost no one for No. 14 Ohio State was thrilled with the way they played Tuesday night.

Still, the Buckeyes will take the outcome.

Deshaun Thomas, who missed part of the second half with a cut above his eye, scored 16 points and Ohio State built a 24-point lead and then hung on to beat Iowa 72-63.

``We're happy we got the win, but we're not happy with the way we got the win,'' post player Evan Ravenel said.

Thomas, the Big Ten's leading scorer at 21 points per game, sat out about 3 minutes while an open cut over his right eye was bandaged. He had to get what a team spokesman said was six or seven stitches to close it.

His absence came at a time when the Buckeyes (14-4, 4-2 Big Ten) seemed to lose their focus. A majority of it was Iowa contesting every play and fighting back, but it was as if they were content to just ride out the final few minutes and hope for the best.

``We didn't do it the prettiest way. We didn't finish it the way we wanted to,'' said point guard Aaron Craft, who set Ohio State's career mark for steals in the game. ``But we got the win. We found a way to fight and get the win.''

The Buckeyes led 53-29 after Ravenel hit a free throw with 12:48 left. Most in a crowd of 16,040 were itching to head for the exits and beat the rush.

Slowly but surely, however, Iowa (13-6, 2-4) knifed into the lead.

``A lot of times teams don't have the maturity or the patience to try to chip away,'' Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. ``That's what we did. We got it under 20, then we got it under 15, we got it under 10, we got it under 5.''

He said it's important for teams to know they can't erase such a big lead quickly.

``We got a couple of turnovers, we got a couple of runouts, a couple of easy baskets, and we got to the free throw line,'' he said. ``That's how you have to do it. You can't just start jacking 3s. It's got to be easy baskets, free throws and an occasional 3.''

Aaron White, an Ohio native playing his first college game in his home state, hit the second of two foul shots with 1:30 left to cut the once huge lead down to just 63-49.

Craft added a foul shot with 1:02 left and, after forcing a turnover, Thomas made two more with 52.9 seconds remaining.

Roy Devyn Marble, who had a miserable shooting night for the Hawkeyes, then missed two free throws before Craft made two more to push the lead to 68-59 with 40 seconds left and end the threat.

``I do think in the league we're in right now you take your wins and semi-celebrate them,'' Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. ``By the same token, you've got to look at things and say, `OK, how do we get better?'''

Matta said his team was exhausted by the finish, most likely because he had pushed it hard the past two weeks to get off to a good start in the difficult Big Ten.

Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr. each had 12 points and Ravenel added 11 for Ohio State. Center Amir Williams had a strange stat line: six blocked shots and no rebounds to go with two points.

The victory broke a stalemate in the series, which began in 1915. Each team had won 75 meetings coming in. Ohio State has won eight straight against Iowa and 10 of the last 11. The Hawkeyes haven't won in Columbus since 2004.

The Hawkeyes' four Big Ten losses have come to teams ranked in the top 15 - No. 2 Michigan, No. 7 Indiana, No. 13 Michigan State and the 14th-ranked Buckeyes. Those teams came into the week with an overall combined record of 62-10 and 16-5 in the conference.

Craft set the school's career mark for steals with 205 when he plucked the ball from White at the 14:25 mark with the Buckeyes leading 10-6. The junior came in sharing the record with Jay Burson (1986-89).

Ohio State scored the final six points of the first half to take a 34-22 lead and then stretched the streak to 10-0 on baskets by Craft and Thomas. It appeared that the rout was on.

``We dug a little bit too big of a hole,'' said Iowa's Mike Gesell. ``We tried to battle back and we just fell a little bit short. We just have to come out stronger in the first half.''

Although displeased with the wild swings in momentum in the game, Craft said the bottom line was the most important thing.

``A win is a win in conference play. That's a big one to try to keep us in the hunt,'' he said. ``There's still a lot of basketball to play, but in this league you have to protect home court.''

---

Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter:http://www.twitter.com/rustymillerap

Quick Links

Five observations from Wizards' 115-104 loss to the Brooklyn Nets despite Dwight Howard's huge night

wiznets.png
USA Today Sports

Five observations from Wizards' 115-104 loss to the Brooklyn Nets despite Dwight Howard's huge night

The Washington Wizards lost to the Brooklyn Nets 115-104 on Friday night. Here are five observations from the game...

Step back: The Wizards just can't crack the code of consistency or the pesky Brooklyn Nets.

After winning three straight and looking like they had made some corrections, the Wizards stumbled out of the locker room at halftime and couldn't match Brooklyn's energy. The Nets pulled away to lead by as many as 19 and handed the Wizards yet another blowout loss in a season of which are quickly piling up.

The Nets have the formula to give the Wizards fits. They are scrappy and play defense. They are cohesive and well-coached. The Wizards are susceptible against try-hards who play with a chip on their shoulder. They too often let others set the tone and that's just what the Nets did in this one. 

The Wizards are now 5-10 on the season. That matches their 15-game start from two years ago, when they rallied to win 49 games, but that only means so much, of course.

Threes were off: While their attempts are up, the Wizards have been shooting uncharacteristically bad from three this season. They entered the game 27th in the NBA, shooting just 32.8 percent.

In this game, they didn't just struggle to make threes, they had trouble shooting them at all. Brooklyn sold out to take away the perimeter and was successful doing it. 

The Wizards went 3-for-17 from three and shot just 17.6 percent. They were 2-for-13 entering the fourth quarter.

Surely, head coach Scott Brooks won't be happy about that. Three-point shooting continues to be a major point of emphasis for him.

Howard was dominant early: Perhaps we should have expected this from Dwight Howard. After all, it was the Nets, the team Howard was bought out by over the summer, right before he signed with the Wizards. 

Was three days with a franchise enough for a revenge game? Sure, we'll go with it.

Or, perhaps he's just a bad matchup for Brooklyn because they were the team he smacked around for 32 points and 30 rebounds against last season.

He didn't quite go 30-30, but Howard was unstoppable in the first half. He ate Jarrett Allen, who is a very talented young player, for lunch. Allen and the rest of the Nets' frontline were no match for Howard's strength.

Howard popped off for six of the Wizards' first eight points. By halftime, he had 17 points, nine rebounds, a steal and a block.

This game was a reminder of the fact he can do things his predecessor, Marcin Gortat, cannot. Howard, really, can produce in a way no Wizards' fourth option has been able to in years.

Markieff Morris has often served as the fourth scoring option behind John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter Jr. But Morris doesn't often go off for nearly a double-double in a half. 

But, the second half:  What was strange about Howard, though, is that he barely played in the second half until the game was out of hand. Howard picked up his fourth foul in the third quarter, but that didn't explain it all.

Howard played only five minutes from the start of the second half until there were less than nine minutes to go in the fourth quarter. During that stretch, Allen found success against the Wizards' small-ball lineups and helped the Nets pull away.

By the time Howard returned, the Wizards were down 19 points. Brooks had something that was working really well and, in part because of the fouls, he went away from it a little too long. It proved costly.

Morris struggled: As good as Howard was, Morris had one of his worst games of the season. The Wizards power forward had one of those nights we see far too often where he wasn't active enough on defense or on the boards. He couldn't get anything going offensively, either.

Morris, who ended the game with four points and two rebounds in 20 minutes, had zero points and zero rebounds in nine minutes in the first quarter. 

While the Nets' big men were overmatched by Howard's strength, Morris couldn't keep up with their quickness. He was a step behind and had trouble matching their bounce around the rim.

Morris predictably didn't play at all in the fourth quarter. That's the way it goes with Brooks now.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

 

Quick Links

Despite coming off of the bench, Bruno Fernando delivered a perfect performance against Hofstra

bruno_fernando_usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Despite coming off of the bench, Bruno Fernando delivered a perfect performance against Hofstra

COLLEGE PARK, Md. --- Bruno Fernando came off the bench to deliver 17 points and seven rebounds as part of a balanced offense as Maryland defeated Hofstra 80-69 on Friday.

Fernando made all eight of his field goal attempts for the Terrapins (4-0). It was the 12th time in school history a player was perfect from the floor with at least eight attempts and the first since Sean Mosley was 8 of 8 against Longwood in 2010.

When asked why Fernando did not start in the game, head coach Mark Turgeon made it sound like it was more than just a simple line-up change.

"I'm about teaching life lessons and I'm just going to leave it at that. That's more important than winning to me," Turgeon said.

Freshman Eric Ayala scored a career-high 14 points, while Aaron Wiggins added 13. Darryl Morsell had 12 points, and both Anthony Cowan Jr. and Jalen Smith had 11. It was the first time since Jan. 7, 2017, against Iowa that Maryland had six players score in double figures.

Justin Wright-Foreman, who entered the game tied for 10th in the country with 25.3 points per game, scored 27 points for the Pride (2-2). Hofstra built a 37-31 lead the break, the first time Maryland trailed at halftime this season.

Hofstra extended its edge to 43-35, but Maryland responded with a 16-3 run to claim the lead for good. The Terps never led by less than three points in the final 14 minutes.

BIG PICTURE

Hofstra: The Pride is an efficient scoring team and showed in the first half why they are expected to contend in the Colonial Athletic Association this season. Maryland is Hofstra's lone power conference opponent, and the Pride is unlikely to see a frontcourt as athletic as Fernando and Smith the rest of the season.

Maryland: The Terps continue their build up toward a difficult stretch that starts Nov. 23 and includes games against Marshall, Virginia, Penn State, Purdue and Loyola Chicago in a 16-day stretch. Maryland is off to a 4-0 start for the fifth consecutive season.

UP NEXT

Hofstra returns home to face Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday.

Maryland looks to improve to 9-0 all-time against Mount St. Mary's when the Mountaineers visit on Sunday.

NBC Sports Washington's Tyler Byrum contributed to this report. 

MORE TERPS NEWS: