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OSU rolls past Harvard, 71-54

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The Story

We got a fistful of answers to a handful of questions on Tuesday night from the Cowboys. And the majority came before the first TV timeout.

I thought OSU would come out strong but was still a little unsure even as the game got going, especially considering Ford kicked the team out of practice yesterday. Bigs were flying around, Reger was diving for loose balls, Sidorakis and Keiton were hitting important shots, and the crowd, albeit small, was unusually loud. Ford even alluded to the last of those points after the game,

We didn’t know what to expect crowd-wise tonight. To be honest with you, we didn’t expect a lot…but the energy level in this building tonight was great. Our players felt that. When I walked out there, I felt it. I went, hey, this is exciting.

You could tell Harvard was overmatched from the get-go. They had no answer for Moses (18-8) or Pilgrim (12-4). You could catch glimpses of why they dominated the Ivy League: good shooting, patience on offense, and decent athleticism for a mid-major, but those don’t add up to much in the Big 12 without an inside presence or outside-in guy like JPO.

OSU shot 55% from the field in the first half and built a 41-27 lead going to the locker rooms. A lead it didn’t plan on relinquishing. Harvard managed to make it mildly interesting in the second frame as they pulled within eight near the 12-minute TV timeout but that was as close as they would get.

Markel Brown (7-3-3-1-0) finished them off in the second half with a violent through-the-lane dunk all over a Crimson freshman named Laurent Rivard which prompted a pair of great quotes…

Nolo – “I know that kid’s a freshman but I thought Harvard boys were smart? Did they not get the Markel scouting report?”

Moses – I don’t know what I could say about it. That was amazing. Markel has the ability to do that every time he gets to the basket, athletically.

Player of the game

Reger Dowell – Forget the 15 points for a minute (and the fact that he only had one assist) and think about how much more open the offense is with him at the helm. Early in the year with an unsure Penn, an overmatched Keiton, and an inexperienced Markel OSU’s offense was an absolute cluster. With Dowell’s ability to drive and hit runners though Keiton can spread out, Moses and Pilgrim actually move around, it looks like real Big 12 division 1 basketball! I can’t say enough about how far he’s come this year.

What OSU could have done to lose

The strong start was big. Tommy Amaker said as much after the game,

It was a critical factor. We were hopeful that we could get off to a good start trying to manage the situation with the home-court advantage that they would have here.

But they couldn’t and when OSU gets it going like they did early and nobody gets in foul trouble they’re tough to beat in GIA, even with only 4,000 fans. While we’re here, can we talk about how OSU is now 43-5 at home under Ford. That really gets overlooked in the great Travis Ford debate.

The rest of my notes

  • It’s kind of weird seeing a number next to our name. I don’t care if it’s an NIT seed number!
  • Sidorakis has a really nice shot when he’s open.
  • For some reason I thought Tommy Amaker was like 6’6…clearly he’s not.
  • Fran Fraschilla is terrific. We rip on announcers all the time on here but I’d like to throw some praise his way for the job he does in Big 12 games.
  • Best text I got during the game was from my buddy, Sheets – “will any of our players ever make more money than any of theirs?”
  • The best part of Markel’s dunk as Pistols Sister pointed out was Moses losing his mind on the bench.
  • It was disconcerting to see people sitting in the student section sitting down.
  • One small complaint about the announcers — I’ve watched LeBryan Nash and he is NOT a power forward.
  • Nolo had a great point about the crowd — it was good because you know those people are the ones that really care about OSU basketball.

What it means

It means this team definitely has the chops to get to MSG and win this tournament. I’m not saying they will, especially since they only have one true road win on the year and they’re presumably about to have to go on the road and get a pair pre-NYC, but they could.

Next game: TBD

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