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Buckeyes Earn Revenge over UConn
By John Porentas

COLUMBUS, OH - Trevor Thompson scored 17 points and grabbed 17 rebounds to help OSU (8-2) to a 64-60 payback win over UConn (4-5). 

On a night when OSU's outside shots were not falling the Buckeyes found a way to score just enough to earn an ugly but appreciated victory over the visiting Huskies. 

The Buckeyes shot an absolutely abysmal 11.1 percent from three point range (2 for 18) but got themselves to the free throw line 34 times and converted 26 of them (76.5 percent) to score just enough to win.

Thompson logged 30 minutes off the bench and was 4 of 8 from the field and 9 of 10 from the free throw line. He also had a great assist, committed no turnovers and was guilty of just one personal foul. 

"Monster," said UConn Head Coach Kevin Ollie describing Thompson's game. "You can see by his numbers he was averaging about 20 minutes to get 10 and 8, so he played phenomenal. He played an awesome game.

"17 and 17 really hurt us," Ollie said.

JaQuan Lyle and Kam Williams each missed three point attempts in the first minute of the game, but the next two OSU attempts from three found the bottom of the net when Williams canned one at the 17:5 4 mark to put OSU up 3-2. Loving made one at 16:10 to give the Buckeyes a 10-4 lead, but from then on in is was stone cold iceberg city for OSU from three. They were O-for-the-rest-of-the-game missing their last 14-consecutive attempts. 

Meanwhile the Huskies were knocking down shots. They shot 44.4 percent from three in the first half (4 of 9) including one at the buzzer as the half ended to give UConn a 34-32 lead.

The Huskies started the second half strong and built a quick eight-point lead at 42-34, but the Buckeyes didn't wilt. Instead they competed.

Though OSU's shooting woes continued in the second half they cranked it up on the defensive end and got themselves to the free throw line.  After shooting 54.2 from the field in the first half the Huskies were limited to 35.5 percent in the second half. Their three-point shooting slid from 44.4 percent to 23.1 in the second half, and they weren't getting to the free throw line. For the night they took just nine free throws and made five of them. 

"We make five free throws and they make 26 and that’s the ball game," said Ollie. 

UConn was guilty of 16 turnovers that led to 17 OSU points off turnovers. The Buckeyes, who have had problems with turnovers at times this year, turned it over just seven times leading to 6 points for the Huskies. 

In addition to Thompson's scoring outburst sophomore OSU point guard JaQuan Lyle scored 16 points and junior forward Jae'Sean Tate added 13 to pace OSU's scoring. UConn was led by guard Jalen Adams with 19 points. Vance Jackson added 12, Rodney Purvis 10. 

It was a hard-fought win that the Buckeyes needed following a disappointing loss to Florida Atlantic, another game in which their outside shooting  disappeared. It's a trend that has Matta cringing a little. 

"I don’t know. I think we’re 6 for 38 of our last threes in two games," said Matta.

"Like I said, we’re getting great looks. I mean, conversely we’ve got guys (opponents) banking shots, banking threes against us. We’re a hand in the face a couple of times and they’re making shots."

The win avenges a 20-point loss to UConn last year that has been grinding on the Buckeyes since that loss.

"Definitely came into the game with a chip on my shoulder just from last year and how I played and what happened," said Thompson.

"I definitely told myself before the game that I wanted revenge and payback and that’s what my mind was on."

That resolve led to career highs in both points and rebounds for Thompson.

 

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