Ohio State pummels Gophers, 89-60

Michael Dougherty

COLUMBUS, Ohio — If you build it, they will come — and lose.
The Gophers men’s basketball team showed up at Ohio State’s brand spanking new $105 million Schottenstein Center and played like their feet were stuck in cement that hadn’t quite hardened.
Led by junior point guard Scoonie Penn’s 24 points and sophomore shooting guard Michael Redd’s 19 (17 in the first half) points, the Buckeyes spanked the 17th-ranked Gophers 89-60 Saturday in Columbus.
It was Ohio State’s second straight game in which it (15-5, 5-2 in the Big Ten) trounced a top 25 opponent by 29 points — they beat No. 16 Purdue 72-43 last Tuesday — and the fourth win over a ranked opponent in January.
The Buckeyes jumped out to a 21-5 lead before the first TV timeout, thanks to an array of dunks and three-pointers off of four Gophers turnovers.
Right then and there, Ohio State maintenance workers could have started switching the multipurpose arena’s basketball floor back to ice for Saturday night’s Ohio State-Michigan hockey game, because the game was essentially over.
Although Minnesota (12-4, 3-3) would eventually cut Ohio State’s lead to 40-32 with 53 seconds left in the first half, the Buckeyes never had anything to worry about, except having to possibly replace the nets on their hoops.
Ohio State hit 57 percent of its field goals in the first half, 54 percent overall, and Penn and Redd combined to make 16-of-29 shots.
The Buckeye duo outscored Gophers guards Kevin Nathaniel and Kevin Clark 43-9, with all nine points coming from Clark in the first half. Guard/forward Jason Singleton scored 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting, but Penn was the ultimate deciding factor.
“They kicked our fannies today,” Gophers coach Clem Haskins said. “What a difference a point guard makes. Scoonie Penn is one of the premier guards in the country.”
Penn sat out last season after following second-year Buckeyes coach Jim O’Brien from Boston College.
Without Penn leading the team, Ohio State limped along to an 8-22 record, 1-15 in the Big Ten — including a 76-53 loss to Minnesota at William’s Arena. Redd, who led the conference in scoring as a freshman last year with 21.9 points per game, scored only 11 in the loss to Minnesota and said revenge was definitely on the team’s mind.
“We wanted this ballgame because of what they did to us last year, and that was in the back of our minds,” Redd said. “We wanted to make up for last year in a big way, and that’s what we got.”
The 29-point loss was the Gophers’ biggest since they dropped a 92-63 game at Iowa in January 1996. Before O’Brien removed his starters, the lead had swelled to 35, and he said he didn’t have any idea the result would be like this.
“What can I say?” O’Brien asked. “I’m as surprised as anyone.”
O’Brien said he had chills when the crowd of 18,701 gave the team a standing ovation before the tip-off in gratitude of Tuesday’s romp over Purdue.
It was only the second conference road game the Gophers have played, and Haskins said youngsters like Joel Przybilla, Mitch Ohnstad and Terrance Simmons are struggling to adjust to the road.
But he said his team is going to have to figure it out soon, adding that the Ohio State crowd made a difference.
“This is a great crowd,” Haskins told the Ohio media. “Your home crowd is really intimidating.”
Gophers forward Quincy Lewis, the leading scorer in the Big Ten, scored his average of 23 points and at times looked like he was the only viable offensive threat for Minnesota.
Ohio State used a triangle-and-two defense on Lewis and Clark which effectively shut down Clark. Lewis said the Buckeyes’ aggressive defense was a key, but also gave credit to the crowd.
“This is a great place to play,” Lewis said. “It’s really a big advantage for Ohio State, and they really came out and played well today.”


GAME SUMMARY
Minnesota 32 38 — 60
Ohio State 43 28 — 89

MINNESOTA (12-4, 3-3)
Lewis 9-22 2-4 23, Tarver 1-6 2-4 4, Przybilla 2-5 2-2 6, Clark 4-10 0-0 9, Nathaniel 0-3 0-0 0, Sinville 1-1 0-0 2, Ohnstad 3-7 0-0 6, Simmons 2-7 0-2 4, Stanford 1-1 0-0 3, Broxsie 1-1 0-0 2, Rychart 0-1 0-0 0, Sanden 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 24-64 7-14 60.
OHIO STATE (15-5, 5-2)
Singleton 7-8 2-4 16, Sanderson 3-6 0-1 7, Johnson 3-8 4-7 10, Penn 9-13 1-2 24, Redd 7-16 3-5 19, Coleman 1-3 2-2 4, Brown 2-3 1-3 5, Savovic 1-4 0-0 2, Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Steele 0-0 0-0 0, Reese 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 33-61 15-26 89.
3-point goals — Minnesota 5-19 (Lewis 3-7, Clark 1-4, Ohnstad 0-3, Simmons 0-3, Stanford 1-1, Nathaniel 0-1), Ohio State 8-21 (Penn 5-9, Redd 2-5, Sanderson 1-3, Savovic 0-3, Coleman 0-1). Rebounds — Minnesota 37 (Lewis, Tarver 7), Ohio State 39 (Sanderson, Johnson 8). Assists — Minnesota 7 (Ohnstad 3), Ohio State 18 (Penn, Redd 4). Blocked Shots — Minnesota 1 (Przybilla), Ohio State 4 (Johnson 4). Total fouls — Minnesota 21, Ohio State 12. A — 18,701.