Ravens

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

Derek Wolfe always wanted to be a Raven — now he gets his chance

Derek Wolfe always wanted to be a Raven — now he gets his chance

New Ravens defensive lineman Derek Wolfe has wanted to be a Raven at three separate times during his career. 

The first time was before he was drafted in 2012 when he thought the Ravens might pick him. The second time was before the trade deadline in the 2019 season, when he debated asking Broncos general manager John Elway for a trade to Baltimore. 

The third time was the charm. After the Ravens’ signing of Michael Brockers fell through, they moved quickly to sign Wolfe to a one-year contract. 

“I'm extremely happy,” Wolfe said. “Everything happens for a reason. When things are supposed to happen, they do, and I always felt like I would fit into that organization really well.”

Wolfe thought he’d missed his chance to be a Raven when the signing of Brocks was announced at the beginning of free agency. After the deal wasn’t completed, though, he and his agent moved quickly to get him to Baltimore. 

Once a deal looked possible with the Ravens, Wolfe’s only focus was to get to Baltimore by any means necessary.

“I said, ‘I really don't care about the money,’” Wolfe said he told his agent. “‘At this point, I just want to get on that team. That's the team I want to get on, I want to be on.’

Wolfe’s contract is worth $3 million guaranteed, though he’s eying a bit longer of a stay in Baltimore.

“I feel like if I can come in there and prove myself, then they'll extend me for a few years, and I could be a part of the organization for more than just one year,” Wolfe said. “I'm just going to stick to the plan and trust the process and hope that it all works out for me,” Wolfe said. “I really would love to bring another ring to the city – help bring a ring to the city.”

He’s coming off a career season in Denver where he registered seven sacks in 12 games — a year that was cut short because of a dislocated elbow. 

Injuries have been a bit of a bugaboo for Wolfe, who has played 16 games in a season just three times in his eight-year career and just once in the last five years. While the past isn’t kind to Wolfe’s injury history, he’s confident he’s turned a corner when it comes to health. 

“It's been a bumpy road, but for the most part I've actually been pretty healthy,” Wolfe explained. “These injuries just come...It was the same injury that was nagging, and I finally got that surgery that cleared it up. I dislocated my elbow, obviously, having the best season of my career, showing that I have a ton of football left, and then I go out there and dislocate my elbow. And I think that hurt me.”

Not only confident about his health, but he’s also got high hopes for his new defensive line, too. 

“It was just like, ‘You know what, man? I think we can have the best defensive line in the league, for sure, and we could break records,” Wolfe said. “We could break the rushing record – yards per rush, stuff like that.’ Those are the kind of goals that I like to set.”

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE RAVENS NEWS:

 

Quick Links

New Ravens DL Derek Wolfe: ‘I think we can have the best defensive line in the league’

New Ravens DL Derek Wolfe: ‘I think we can have the best defensive line in the league’

Derek Wolfe is set to join a Ravens team that broke all kinds of records in 2019 — offensive records.

With Lamar Jackson at quarterback, the Ravens averaged the most points in the league last season and broke the record for team rushing yards in a season.

Now, Wolfe thinks they can break defensive records, too.

“When I saw that Calais (Campbell) was going up there and I knew that Brandon (Williams) was up there already, it was a no-brainer for me,” Wolfe said during a conference call Friday. “It was just like, ‘You know what, man? I think we can have the best defensive line in the league, for sure, and we could break records. We could break the rushing record – yards per rush, stuff like that.’”

Wolfe, who came over from the Broncos after spending the first eight years of his career there, is set to start on a revamped defensive front with Campbell and Williams.  

He posted a career year last season and finished with seven sacks, and paired with the new-look front, he’s confident in the Ravens new front.

“I feel like as a defensive lineman and as a defense as a whole, I think we're going to be able to eat these quarterbacks up, especially with the secondary that we have,” Wolfe said.

He doesn’t think the goals are too lofty, though. They’re the expectation for both himself and his defensive unit.

“Those are the kind of goals that I like to set,” Wolfe said. “Sometimes you don't reach them, but you can get close, and that helps you win. So, I think that we're going to be able to shut that run game down, and then when it comes to our offense keeping us up by 10, 20 points a game, it's going to get ugly for these quarterbacks.”

Those quarterbacks he’s referencing, as it turns out, can even include former league MVP and current Super Bowl champion Patrick Mahomes — Wolfe’s former division rival.

The Ravens are set to host the Chiefs in the 2020 season, a matchup that will surely be seen by many as a game between the league's two best teams.

“I’ve been playing against him twice a year for so long, and I was trying to say that it’s nice to be in a different division,” Wolfe said. “It’s nice to be in a different division where I’m not playing against the same guys year-in, year-out. It’s nice to get some fresh faces, that’s what I was trying to get around with that. Nothing against him as a player; he’s an unbelievable player, and he’s tough to beat. I’m looking forward to beating him twice.”

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE RAVENS NEWS: