FINAL SCORE: Ohio State 76, Cal 70. Will be interesting to get the Bears’ take on this one. They can’t be too happy — it’s a loss and they go home 0-2 at the Garden. But . . . they were down 52-28 with 15 1/2 minutes left and made this a game. They showed the fight and toughness that was missing against Syracuse. Turner was a monster for the Buckeyes, with 26 points, 14 rebounds and six assists. He’s the only Ohio State player who made a field goal in the final 15 minutes. Randle had 26 points for Cal — that’s 51 in two games. Amoke earned himself strong consideration for more playing time — perhaps a starting job — by totaling 11 points and 15 rebounds, much of it in the final 10 minutes. That’s all for now.
1:10 2nd H: Too much Evan Turner, who has 22 points, 13 rebounds and six assists, and has scored 14 points in the past 10 minutes. Cal trails 71-63 after two free throws by Amoke, who has played his best game with nine points and 13 rebounds.
3:51 2nd H: It’s not over yet. Cal got within 63-57 after a 3-pointer by Gutierrez, then a layup by Sanders-Frison off a Gutierrez feed with 5:07 left. But Jorge picked up his fifth foul on the next possession and Diebler made two FTs for OSU. It’s 65-57 after Christopher was whistled for a charge.
6:21 2nd H: The Bears are running out of time. It’s 63-52 after a putback by Turner. Cal has outscored the Buckeyes 18-9 since Diebler’s technical FTs, but it’s going to take something out of the ordinary to reverse this score.
7:55 2nd H: Ohio State leads 60-50, but the Bears are showing some guts. Randle has 17 points and Amoke has seven points and nine rebounds and has been in the middle of things recently. Turner has made some mistakes for the Buckeyes, but he has scored his club’s last six points and 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
11:09 2nd H: Randle hit a 3-pointer, Amoke converted a layup and free throw and Randle made another 3-pointer, pulling Cal within 54-45. The Bears have scored 11 straight since Diebler’s free throws following the technical foul. Did Monty do it on purpose? Either way, the Bears have new life and seem to be playing angry for the first time in two games. But Gutierrez picked up his fourth foul just before the timeout, and has taken a seat in exchange for Knezevic.
13:39 2nd H: Things just got exciting. Gutierrez stole the ball and Montgomery was called for a technical when Jorge was fouled by Turner. During a break, Randle called the players together and he and Boykin were very animated talking to their teammates. Diebler made both free throws off the “T”, but Gutierrez made his, too.
15:29 2nd H: Why the wait? Montgomery just called a timeout, and it may be too late. Not that anything he could say in the huddle will change what’s going on. Ohio State leads 52-28 and is in the midst of a 14-0 run that followed Randle’s 3-pointer. The Buckeyes are shooting 6-for-9 in the half, while Cal has missed eight straight shots. Sanders-Frison is on the bench with four fouls — again — and Gutierrez has three, although he’s still on the floor.
RANDLE’S ANKLE: Everything appears good. He’s moving well in warmups for the second half and is giving the ankle no special attention. Randle hit a 3-pointer to open the half.
HALFTIME STATS: My unofficial totals were pretty good — 10 Cal turnovers, 6 OSU blocks. That’s 16 possessions that had NO chance. Cal shot 35.7 percent, while OSU converted 48.3 percent. The Bears shot zero free throws. Christopher leads Cal with eight points, but the man he has defended much of the half — William Buford — has 10. Turner, who is averaging 20.3 ppg and 15.0 rpg, has just four points, but has contributed six rebounds and four assists.
HALFTIME: Ohio State 38, Cal 25. The Buckeyes outscored Cal 17-6 after Randle’s 3-pointer got the Bears within 21-19. The OSU surge included runs of 8-0 and 7-0, the latter closing the half. Cal’s answer was seven turnovers and 2-for-7 shooting during that span. Randle seemed to turn an ankle driving into the lane on the final play of the half, but it may not be serious. We’ll have some halftime stats in a moment, but turnovers and blocked shots crippled Cal’s offense.
3:24 1st H: Cal got within 21-19 on a 3-pointer by Randle with 6:59 left. Since then, the Buckeyes have gone 8-0 for a 29-19 lead. In six possessions in the meantime, Cal has had four turnovers, one shot blocked and another barely hit iron. Cal can’t win this game in the final 3:24 of the half, but the Bears could possibly lose it if they’re not careful.
7:35 1st H: Buckeyes lead 21-16. Cal is competing much better than last night, although that certainly wasn’t the primary goal tonight. Amoke has given the Bears energy off the bench, and Nikola Knezevic is in for Gutierrez and staying with Turner so far. Unofficial Buckeyes blocked shot total: five, and at least two of them have led to transition 3-pointers against a defense not set.
11:13 1st H: Ohio State leads 18-12. The Bears are shooting 5-for-13, but have had three shots blocked. The Buckeyes are 7-for 13. Each team has two turnovers. Omondi Amoke came in for Sanders-Frison, making the Bears a bit smaller still. One night after going for 25 points, Randle is scoreless, and the Bears haven’t attempted a free throw..
14:24 1st H: The Buckeyes lead 13-7, thanks to three 3-pointers, including a pair by Jon Diebler. Christopher scored on Cal’s first possession — we’ll see if it’s a good sign after last night’s 3-for-17 start. And Gutierrez hit a 3-pointer. But Ohio State already has blocked two shots, meaning the Bears have had 11 swatted in 45 minutes of action here.
IN THE ZONE: Big surprise — Ohio State has opened in a zone defense. And Jorge Gutierrez is on Turner.
OK, the Golden Bears are back to try again.
The big question: Who will defend Ohio State’s 6-7 junior forward Evan Turner?
That would have been Theo Robertson. Now who gets the call?
We’ll know soon.
STARTING LINEUPS: Cal goes with Markhuri Sanders-Frison, Jamal Boykin, Jorge Gutierrez, Patrick Christopher and Jerome Randle. Ohioh State: Dallas Lauderdale, William Buford, Evan Turner, Jon Diebler and David Lighty.