CHICAGO -- Quick thoughts from Ohio State’s 71-50 victory over Nebraska in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament on Friday.
Overview: Nebraska, the tourney's No. 10 seed, actually had a 15-6 lead in this game. But by halftime, the second-seeded Buckeyes led 28-23. The Cornhuskers went 10-for-22 from the field and outscored Ohio State 12-6 in the paint in the first half. Shavon Shields scored eight points in a promising start for Tim Miles’ squad. Turnovers, however, ruined Nebraska’s chances of pulling off the upset.
Turning point: The Buckeyes were focused from the moment they emerged from the locker room in the second half. Seven minutes in, they led 50-28. That’s a 22-5 run to start the second half. Ohio State had a new attitude. And better defense.
Star of the game: The Huskers fans who stuck around to cheer for their favorite team, even after it was down by 22 midway through the second half. Also, Deshaun Thomas (19 points, 9 rebounds, a steal and a block). Sam Thompson had 19 points for the Buckeyes, too.
Key stat: Ohio State forced 15 turnovers in the game. Nebraska went 3-for-19 from the 3-point line. A losing combination for any team.
Next game: Ohio State (24-7) will face Michigan State. Nebraska’s season is over following a 15-18 record.
Miscellaneous: Not sure if Thomas’ defense will be sufficient for the next level, but he’s certainly an NBA-level scorer. He’ll be a mismatch for a lot of players in the pros, too. … Don’t sleep on Tim Miles. He has the energy, facilities and work ethic to build a respectable program at Nebraska. He might have to follow the Fred Hoiberg route, however, and rely on junior-college transfers for a few more years.