Tonight, the Tar Heels play the first of two true road tests this week, as they face the Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus tonight as part of the annual Big Ten-ACC Challenge. Obviously, this isn’t the same Buckeyes team who played in the Final Four last year (most notably without Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Jr., Daequan Cook, and Ron Lewis), and whom UNC beat 98-89 last year in Chapel Hill; however, they bring some star freshmen players such as center Kosta Koufos, and bring back talented upperclassmen like point guard Jamar Butler and forward Othello Hunter. Against a inconsistent Tar Heels squad, Carolina needs to be on upset alert tonight.
9:34 pm: 13-13. Sorry…some tchnical difficulties at the worst possible time. But we’re up and running.
Ellington is left open for a three to give UNC a 16-13 lead.
9:36 pm: 18-13, UNC. Deon Thompson gets an easy shot inside, forcing Ohio State to take a timeout. After UNC started slow, they have outscored the Buckeyes 12-4.
9:38 pm: Michigan State clobbered NC State tonight. Either the Spartans are scary good this year, or NC State was a bit overhyped this year. I think this may be an aberration, but it certainly looks like the Wolfpack aren’t as effective a team without Engin Atsur.
9:41 pm: Hansbrough is struggling on offense to start the game. The Buckeyes have done a good job of keeping him in check.
9:42 pm: 18-15, UNC. After a Butler layup, Koufos get two straight blocks on UNC shots, the second one on Hansbrough.
9:43 pm: 18-17, UNC. How is Othello Hunter left that open inside?
9:44 pm: 21-20, UNC. Ellington hits the three, but the Buckeyes respond immediately.
9:45 pm: 23-21, OSU. Diebler hits a three from what looked like 27 feet out. A huge momentum swing, as the Buckeyes take back the lead.
9:51 pm: 27-23, UNC. Koufos spent time on the bench, and the Heels took advantage. Ellington hits a floater in the lane to take the lead, and then Hansbrough dunks over Hunter to give UNC a four point lead.
9:53 pm: 27-26, UNC. Diebler hits another open three. He’s caught fire tonight.
9:54 pm: Butler blows by Ellington, and he gets the layup and the foul. 29-27, OSU.
9:55 pm: A great pass to hansbrough, who finishes with authority. 29-29.
9:56 pm: Insane. Diebler starts 2-24 from 3 to start the season, and he decides to end his slump against us. his buzzer-beater off the glass gives Ohio State a 32-29 lead at halftime. UNC has not been running at their normally fast pace, and they’ve een taking bad shots. No Ty Lawson at point guard always hurts, but no one outside of Hansbrough and Ellington is getting much of anything done on offense. To win in the second half, Someone else needs to come up big on offense, the Heels need to improve their rebounding, and someone has to guard Diebler at all times.
10:13 pm: The second half starts, as Ohio State’s defense continues to confuse the Tar Heels.
10:14 pm: Ginyard hits a floater in the paint, but Jamar Butler hits a three on the other end.
10:15 pm: Where is Quentin Thomas? In the absence of Lawson, He’s much better at running the transition than Frasor.
10:16 pm: Ellington falls hard on the floor, and he’s shaken up.
The good about the Ohio State Student section: their unique way of distracting the free throw shooter.
The bad about the Ohio State student section: their chants. “YOU-CAN’T DO-THAT!” clap-clap-clapclapclap…
10:19 pm: Hansbrough ties the game at 35 with a three point play.
10:19 pm: Koufos hits his first shot of the game to take a 39-37 lead, but Ginyard ties the game 10 seconds later.
The Buckeyes still aren’t allowing the Tar heels to play their transition game.
10:23 pm: What a steal by Ellington, who gets it to Q, who finds Ginyard for the layup and the foul. See? Quentin Thomas enters the game, and the pace picks up immediately.
10:24 pm: Othello Hunter with a big block on Danny Green. 42-39, UNC.
10:26 pm: What was Green thinking throwing that pass?
Carolina has some serious issues on the defensive boards. They just gave Ohio State four different opportunities in the paint, and now Hunter is at the line.
10:28 pm: Deon Thompson gets a huge dunk on the offensive rebound. Where has he been all game?
Ellington hits a three pointer off the gall on the next possession to make it 47-40, UNC.
10:31 pm: Thompson gets another offensive rebound, and he gets a shot off of the glass. UNC now has a 49-40 lead, the biggest margin of the game.
10:35 pm: Thompson hits another one, this time a mid-range jumper. He’s finally come into his own tonight.
10:36 pm: Deon gets another defensive rebound, and then he hits a hook jumper to give UNC a double digit lead. Thompson now has 12 points and 5 rebounds, as the Tar Heels may have figured out this zone.
10;38 pm: Now it’s the Tar heels defense that’ seems to be giving the Buckeyes fits, but it looks like no one on the court outside of Thompson can hit their shots right now.
10:40 pm: Or, maybe not. Deon’s free throws were ugg-lee, and we’re still at 53-42 with less than 8 minutes left.
10:44 pm: Why wasn’t there anyone behind Hansbrough for him to dump the ball and restart the offense.
10:45 pm: Ellington hits a nice jumper on the right side. 55-43, UNC, as absolutely no shots are falling for Ohio State.
10:43 pm: Hansbrough with the tough shot in the middle. He has 13 points and 10 rebounds, and the Heels have a 14 point lead with less than 6 minutes left.
10:47 pm: Ohio State’s drought is broken by–guess who?–Jon Diebler. 57-46, UNC.
10:48 pm: Lighty hits a three, Diebler gets a dunk, and suddenly the Buckeyes are within 6, getting 8 points in 54 seconds, but who cares? I just found out that Roy Williams is a Yankees fan! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
10:49 pm: Thompson stops the bleeding, but Othello Hunter scores on a putback. 59-53, UNC, with 3:52 left. How did the Heels let Ohio State back into this game so quickly.
10:53 pm: The Heels do nothing for 30 seconds, and then Ellington simply drains the three with a guy in his face. 62-53, UNC.
10:54 pm: Uh-oh. Hansbrough missed his last three free throws. Is he out of gas?
10:56 pm: Diebler with the tough dunk, but he lands awkwardly on his elbow. UNC takes advantage on the other end with an easy shot. 64-55, UNC.
10:57 pm: Inside the paint, UNC and OSU have been playing the last few minutes like a football game rather than a basketball game.
10:59 pm: 64-55, UNC, 35 seconds left. After Diebler misses a three, Ellington gets a rebound, and that should about seal this game.
11:01 pm: The game is over, and UNC wins, 66-55. Aside from the quick 10-2 run with about 5-6 minutes left, Ohio State could not get anything done on offense in the second half. The Tar heels dominated the end of the game, outscoring them 28-11 until the Buckeyes run. Ellington and Thompson really stepped up, which they will need to do throughout the season for Carolina to live up to expectations. Overall, this was an important road win for the Tar Heels as they develop throughout the season.