Game analysis of Georgetown-Ohio State

ATLANTA -- ESPN.com writer Mark Schlabach provides instant analysis from the first semifinal of the Final Four between Georgetown and Ohio State. Here's how the Buckeyes won 67-60:


HOW THE GAME WAS WON: The Buckeyes used a 7-0 run midway through the second half to go ahead 51-44 with less than seven minutes left, then held off the Hoyas after they were as close as a four-point deficit with less than three minutes to go. But Georgetown forward Jeff Green was called for an offensive foul (guard David Lighty drew a charge on the baseline) to turn the ball over. On the Buckeyes' next possession, freshman center Greg Oden made a short jumper to make it 58-52 with 2:14 to play. Then Georgetown center Roy Hibbert missed a hook shot over Oden, and Buckeyes point guard Mike Conley Jr. grabbed the rebound. With less than two minutes left, Lighty scored a three-point play when he made a layup and was fouled. His foul shot made it 61-52, and the Buckeyes made their last six foul shots to put the Hoyas away for good.

HOW THE GAME REALLY WAS WON: The Buckeyes were better equipped to play without their big man. Hibbert and Oden each were plagued by foul trouble, especially in the first half. When Hibbert picked up his third foul, the Hoyas had a 34-33 lead. Hibbert sat on the bench for about the next 3½ minutes and when he returned to the court with 12:32 to go, the Buckeyes had a 40-36 lead. Hibbert picked up his fourth foul when he grabbed Othello Hunter's arm (Hunter was reaching for a long rebound) with 8:50 left. Hibbert seemed to play less aggressive after that, scoring only two long baskets the rest of the way.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Oden, a 7-footer, is the Ohio State freshman who gets all the attention and the rookie who probably will be the top choice in this summer's NBA draft. But the Buckeyes wouldn't be playing in Monday night's national championship game if freshman point guard Mike Conley Jr., who played with Oden at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis, hadn't joined him at Ohio State. Conley scored 15 points on 7-for-12 shooting with five rebounds, six assists and only one turnover. He was especially good in the first half, when Oden spent all but three minutes on the bench, scoring 11 points on 5-for-7 shooting.

BEST NBA AUDITION: Was Hibbert trying to impress NBA scouts when he drilled a long jumper with 5:22 to go? It was a classic set shot.

BEST NEAR MISS: The crowd might have blown the roof off the Georgia Dome if Oden had connected on a high-flying dunk with about 6½ minutes to play. He caught the basketball and leaped near the foul line, stretching his right hand far behind his head, and tried to dunk over Green. The ball hit the back of the rim, but Green was called for a late blocking foul.

STAT OF THE GAME: Ohio State had only eight turnovers, four in each half. The Hoyas turned the basketball over 14 times in the game, and the Buckeyes converted those miscues into 22 points.

STAT OF THE GAME II: Georgetown's reserves were scoreless in 39 combined minutes. Forward Patrick Ewing Jr., who had been a sparkplug off the bench, missed his only two shots and had three rebounds, three assists and two turnovers. Guard Jeremiah Rivers, son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, didn't attempt a shot in 13 minutes. Ohio State's bench players combined to score 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

BOX SCORE LINE OF THE GAME: It's a shame the Oden-Hibbert matchup didn't materialize more than it did. Oden scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds in only 20 minutes; Hibbert scored 19 points and grabbed six rebounds in 24 minutes.

TURNING POINT: Ohio State's Greg Oden, the Buckeyes' sometimes dominating freshman center, picked up personal fouls on two of the Buckeyes' first four possessions. He was called for his second foul and went to the bench with 17:19 to go in the half, after Georgetown forward Jeff Green drew a charge under the basket. Oden's first foul came on, of all things, a moving screen with 19:09 left in the half. Oden missed two foul shots and didn't attempt a field goal before leaving the game. He didn't play again in the first half.

TURNING POINT II: Georgetown center Roy Hibbert picked up his second foul with 6:48 to go when he hacked guard Ron Lewis on an attempted layup. Hibbert, a 7-foot-2 junior, was just starting to impose his presence when he left the game. He had scored on consecutive dunks, the second after grabbing DaJuan Summers' missed layup to help cut Ohio State's lead from 14-7 to 15-14. Hibbert scored eight points on 4-for-5 shooting before leaving. With Oden on the bench, the Buckeyes didn't have a strong enough inside presence to stop Hibbert, who didn't play again in the first half.

BEST CALL: The Buckeyes opened the game with a 2-3 zone against Georgetown's version of the Princeton offense. After Oden left the game with two fouls, Buckeyes coach Thad Matta switched to a variation of a matchup zone. The Hoyas seemed confused by the switch, until Hibbert scored a layup with five seconds left on the shot clock, cutting Ohio State's lead to 8-7 with 14:39 remaining. But then Georgetown went scoreless on its next six possessions, with a pair of turnovers, two missed layups and a pair of missed long 3-pointers. Hoyas guard Jonathan Wallace ended the scoring drought with a 3-pointer out of a timeout, making it 14-10, but then reserve guard Jeremiah Rivers threw away a pass on the next possession.

BIGGEST SHOT: The Buckeyes went ahead 20-14 on Jamar Butler's layup with 4:51 to go, but then Georgetown's Jessie Sapp drilled a 3-pointer from the left corner to make it 20-17. On Ohio State's next possession, Conley hit a deep 3-pointer from the top of the key to give the momentum back to the Buckeyes for a 23-17 lead.

BEST DEFENSE: The Buckeyes did a tremendous job defending Green, the Big East Conference Player of the Year, who didn't score his first points until 3:16 remained in the first half. Reserve forward David Lighty, a 6-foot-5 freshman from Cleveland, matched up with Green throughout the first half, as did Butler and forward Ivan Harris. Green got very few touches in the first 15 minutes of the half (he might have scored a layup early in the game, but Hibbert was called for goal-tending). He finished with five points on 2-for-2 shooting and also grabbed six rebounds.

BEST BLOCK: Ohio State's Othello Hunter rejected what seemed like an easy layup by Georgetown's Summers with 5:49 to go in the first half. Lewis was fouled on the other end and made one of two foul shots to make it 18-14 with 5:13 left.

BEST PLAYER IN THE HALF: Ohio State point guard Mike Conley Jr., a freshman, didn't seem overwhelmed by the big stage or surroundings, scoring 11 points on 5-for-7 shooting with two assists, three rebounds and no turnovers.

1. Keep Hibbert on the floor.
2. Get Green more involved on offense.
3. Penetrate to the middle of Ohio State's zone and kick out passes.

1. Keep Oden on the floor.
2. Keep driving to the basket.
3. Continue to take care of the basketball (only four turnovers; Georgetown had nine).

Mark Schlabach covers college football and basketball for ESPN.com. He can be reached at schlabachma@yahoo.com.