So here's the good news, relatively speaking: by the 12 minute mark of the second half, Marquette had already scored more points than it did in last year's stomach-churning 52-35 home loss to Ohio State.
And here's the bad news: by the halfway point of the first half, Ohio State had made twice as many 3-point shots (6) as it did in last year's contest (3). And while it probably didn't follow the script we were expecting, with the Buckeyes failing to exploit their decided size advantage until the outcome was decided in the second half, the final score was about what we thought it would be (at least until a flurry of last-minute triples made the line a bit more respectable): Ohio State 74, Marquette 63.
Aside from Ohio State's showing from distance in the first half (7-12 from deep), this game wasn't the most aesthetically pleasing affair, as the Bucks coughed up the ball 13 times in the first half (D'Angelo Russell had five TOs all on his own) and Marquette struggled to solve OSU's press. The second half then got out of hand in a hurry, with the Buckeyes ripping off a quick 11-3 run to push the lead into double digits and making things academic from there.
Steve Taylor, Jr. (9-14 for 20 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals) had a field day finding soft spots in Ohio State's 2-3 zone, but other than that, MU's zone offense looked like it was straight from Tom Crean's playbook: a whole lot of standin' around, swinging the ball around the arc, and bombing away from deep without success. Jajuan Johnson (0-4 on 3s) couldn't find the range, Deonte Burton was surprisingly timid, Derrick Wilson wasn't able to do much on his bum wheel, and things looked to be moving a little too fast for Sandy Cohen III.
More problematic, though, was Marquette's Charmin-soft defense, which offered little more than token resistance in allowing OSU to shoot an astounding 65.3% (32-49) for the game. Here's perhaps the most telling stat from the defensive end: Ohio State won by 11 and only attempted one -- ONE! -- free throw until the final 2 minutes of the game. Olé, amigos.
Until tomorrow, then: this is your post-game dejection thread.