Buckeyes still looking for their shooting eye

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 12, 2004

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Where is Ohio State's offense?

The Buckeyes hit just 20 of 55 shots from the field (36 percent) and misfired on all 13 3-point attempts in Saturday's 64-47 setback at Penn State, their worst loss to the Nittany Lions in 27 meetings.

Buckeyes coach Jim O'Brien has constantly shuffled his starting lineup to find a cohesive unit. So far, that goal has been fleeting.

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''I don't think that there were any points for us to score across the board,'' said O'Brien, whose team has lost three straight. ''When we have 19 turnovers and we only get to the free throw line eight times and we go 0-for-13 on 3s, where do you think the points are going to come from?''

Marlon Smith scored 23 points for Penn State, which opened the second half on a 14-2 run to take a 13-point lead. Robert Summers scored six consecutive points to cap the surge.

Summers finished with seven points and eight rebounds while Aaron Johnson scored 12 points for the Nittany Lions (8-5, 2-0 Big Ten).

''We had too many turnovers, our perimeter guys were 6-for-31 from the floor and we don't get to the foul line,'' O'Brien said. ''We just could not score enough points.''

Velimir Radinovic led Ohio State (8-7, 0-2) with 16 points and 11 rebounds. The Buckeyes opened the Big Ten by losing their first two games for the first time since O'Brien's first season (1997-98). That team lost its first 14 conference games and finished 8-22.

First-year Penn State coach Ed DeChellis said his team always seemed to come up with timely plays.

''We made some big shots. We made some big plays. We guarded well and we got big rebounds when we needed to get them,'' he said.

Penn State is 2-0 in the conference, its best start since it opened the 1995-96 season by going 4-0. The Nittany Lions shot 57 percent in the second half and scored 28 points off Ohio State turnovers.

''We played like we wanted it more,'' Summers said. ''We have a knack of playing like we want to win. We hustle on defense and we have a lot of workhorses.''

While Ohio State has struggled to find itself, the Nittany Lions seem to be moving in the opposite direction.

''We've been playing great the past five games,'' Smith said. ''Everyone is cohesive and has been together. It takes time and starts off the basketball court. I have been talking to coach, everyone is talking to him and building a relationship with him to build chemistry.''

The Buckeyes outrebounded the Lions 35-30 and had 10 more shots from the field.

Asked how much his team's poor perimeter shooting had to do with Penn State guessing right on defense, O'Brien said, ''I really have no idea. I thought we got more than enough opportunities to make some shots. They were changing their defenses. From my perspective, I thought no matter what they played that we were able to get the ball inside.''