Podcast We Tell John Starks Why He Was The JR Smith Of

Below, Neil Paine’s notes for the discussion about Starks. Neil Paine’s quick and dirty analysis of John Starks. Welcome to this week’s episode of Hot Takedown, our podcast where the hot sports takes of the week meet the numbers that prove them right or tear them down. On this week’s show (Aug. 11, 2015), we revisit the career of an NBA cult favorite. As we were preparing topics for the show, Kate Fagan mentioned that it was John Starks’s 50th birthday this week. Starks, one of Kate’s favorites growing up, spent eight years as a member of the New York Knicks (1990-98), where he developed a reputation for fiery play, dunked over Michael Jordan and went 2-for-18 from the field (and 0-for-10 in the fourth quarter) in Game 7 of the 1994 NBA Finals. To celebrate, we look back at his career and how modern analytics would judge him. Oh, also, John Starks calls in, and we tell him how he should feel about himself.Also this week, a look at how the Blue Jays may have become the best team in baseball, and our Significant Digit of the week: Petr Cech had a rough first game for Arsenal in the Premier League, performing three standard deviations below the league average.Stream the episode by clicking the play button, or subscribe using one of the podcast clients we’ve linked to above. More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS One of the players most similar to Starks — both statistically and in Starks’s own mind — is former Knick (and current free agent) J.R. Smith. Starks passed more, and Smith is a more efficient shooter, but the two had similar rates of usage, steals and overall effectiveness. Hot Takedown And some things we learned researching his career through the lens of advanced stats:Starks was pretty good (nearly one standard deviation better than average) in four advanced statistical categories: usage rate, assist percentage, steal percentage and turnover percentage.Despite his self-professed defensive focus and participation in one of the most suffocating defenses ever, the metrics are inconclusive when it comes to Starks’s own defense. In Box Plus/Minus, he rates below average, while Jeremias Engelmann’s emulated plus/minus ratings from the ’90s consider him one of the decade’s better defensive guards. Starks was something of a trail-blazer for the 3-point shot, which has now taken over the game. When Starks was playing his best seasons, the average NBA player attempted a 3-pointer on roughly 11 percent of his shots, while Starks took a 3 on about 40 percent of his shots (a rate that ranked seventh among his contemporaries). Fast-forward to 2015, and 27 percent of all shots are 3-pointers. If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong. Video: John Starks joins Hot Takedown read more

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Magic Johnsons Son on Being Gay I Can Only

Magic Johnson’s 20-year-old son is surprised by the public interest in his being gay, something that he revealed to his supportive family several years ago.Earvin Johnson III, known as E.J., says he feels as if he’s coming out of the closet a second time and that he’s “reveling” in the experience — even though news of his sexual orientation broke publicly sooner than he had planned.In an interview posted Tuesday on the YouTube.com talk show “Gwissues,” Johnson said that he didn’t feel violated after TMZ recently revealed that he’s gay.“I always wanted to come into the spotlight,” he said. “I always had dreams and plans of doing my own thing and creating my own image, so it came a little sooner than I thought it would, but this is still something I knew I would be going through and would have to experience.”The younger Johnson is a junior at New York University studying event management and design with an interest in fashion, journalism and media.He said the public reaction has ranged from support to criticism, including online postings involving “nasty things about me and what I’m doing.”“It’s almost like they’re attacking me for being me and so to that I can only say, ‘Well, I can only be myself, so I don’t know really what you want me to do,’” he told “Gwissues” host and interviewer Howard Bragman, a publicist who recently began representing Johnson.Johnson’s father, who co-owns the Los Angeles Dodgers, retired from the NBA in November 1991 after announcing he had HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. His wife, Cookie, was pregnant with E.J. at the time. The couple also has an adopted daughter, Elisa, and Magic has an older son, Andre, from a previous relationship.“I am very, very, very blessed to have the family that I do,” E.J. Johnson said. “My parents have always been super supportive. My sister and I have always been really close and she’s been really supportive as with my brother. When it was time to come out, I was, obviously, scared as most people are. After I got all the love and support from my family, then I knew I could go out and conquer the world, I guess.”Johnson said he first came out to his mother, who approached him when he was 13 or 14 years old.“I told her how I was feeling and she obviously told me that she had known and always would love me anyway. The same thing happened with my dad like a year or so later,” he said. “Everyone has to get used to it. No parent is prepared 100 percent and fully for something like that. We all had to work and move forward.”Read more: ESPN. read more

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The Amazing Longevity Of Jaromir Jagr

It’s not often that a player is still a desired commodity days after his 43rd birthday, but that’s precisely what Jaromir Jagr, who was traded from the New Jersey Devils to the Florida Panthers on Thursday, appears to be.Despite recent frustrations over his playing time with New Jersey, Jagr could prove to be a useful short-term rental for the Panthers. He retains the same soft hands and keen vision that made him a five-time scoring champion. And like so many of hockey’s greatest offensive talents before him, Jagr has a knack for skating where the action is headed before it arrives. His trademark strength seems scarcely to have waned with time; he still has moments when he’s nearly impossible to knock off the puck along the boards.Jagr is by no means the player he once was. But it’s improbable enough that he is still a player at all, still part of the league more than 24 years after his NHL debut. He had been 81 days older than the league’s second-oldest active player — St. Louis Blues goaltender Martin Brodeur — but then Brodeur up and retired last month. Now, no current player was born within 25 months of Jagr.Of course, more than perhaps any major sports league, the NHL has had a place for ancient players. Three and a half decades ago, Gordie Howe — then the NHL’s all-time scoring leader — famously skated through a full 80-game schedule that concluded a week after his 52nd birthday. More recently, Chris Chelios was still manning an NHL blueline at age 48. And just last season, Teemu Selanne played at an age seven months older than Jagr is now. So it’s not quite unprecedented for Jagr to still be around at age 43 — and counting.But Jagr’s past few years have surpassed what just about any other NHL player has ever done in his dotage. Despite posting the leanest traditional numbers of his long career this year (more on that later), Jagr is1As of late last week. in the midst of the seventh-best adjusted point shares above replacement (PSAR)2A modification of the Hockey-Reference.com metric that assigns goaltending worth according to Tom Tango’s wins above replacement and re-allocates the remaining value such that forwards receive 60 percent of league PSAR in a given season, defensemen get 30 percent and goaltenders receive 10 percent. season by any skater aged 43 or older3As of March 1 of the season in question. since the NHL’s Original Six era began in 1942-43. What’s more, he was better last year: No non-goalie aged 42 or older has ever had more PSAR in a season than Jagr’s 6.9 in 2013-14.Plus, there’s a strong case to be made that the conventional stats — and the next-level metrics based off of them, such as PSAR — have undersold Jagr’s contributions to the Devils, particularly this season.As marvelous as they are for a player his age, Jagr’s basic numbers this year haven’t been eye-popping by the standards of other forwards logging as much ice time. In 53 games, he’s notched a modest 11 goals and 18 assists to go with a -10 plus-minus rating. (As a point of comparison, if Jagr had played to his career per-game averages, he’d already have 25 goals and 37 assists by now!) According to PSAR, which synthesizes box-score stats into a single-number representation of value, it’s been his worst season ever — and by no small margin. The 18-year-old rookie version of Jagr had 3.1 PSAR in 1990-91, after which he wouldn’t put up fewer than 4.9 PSAR in a single season again — until this year.Hockey’s recent statistical revolution, however, has brought with it more sophisticated ways to gauge a player’s contribution to his team. Its biggest lesson? That although goals and assists are great, there’s also a big advantage in simply helping your team keep possession of the puck.And as it so happens, Jagr is still one of the best players in the league at that.Over the past two seasons, Jagr’s Devils haven’t been an especially strong hockey club. They rank 24th in both point percentage4In the wacky world of the NHL’s standings, some measure of sanity can still be salvaged by dividing a team’s standings points by the total number of points handed out in its games. So, for instance, the winner of a regulation game would earn 2 out of 2 total points; meanwhile, the winner of a shootout would get 2 out of the 3 total points awarded, since the loser would also get 1 point. Among other things, this has the advantage of preserving a .500 record as the mark of an average team. and goal differential during that span, and while the team has undeniably been plagued by poor shooting and save percentage luck, they’ve also posted relatively unimpressive possession rates — except when Jagr is on the ice. With Jagr, New Jersey plays like one of the premier possession teams in hockey5The Devils’ zone start-adjusted 5-on-5 Fenwick percentage with Jagr on the ice would rank third in the NHL over the past two seasons.; without him, they play like one of the worst.Studying Jagr’s game, it’s not hard to see why this is the case. Although his stride — never the fastest even in his prime — is noticeably sluggish these days, he makes up for it with sheer hockey sense, constantly scanning the ice for passing opportunities or chances to extend possession by corralling loose pucks. Perhaps more importantly, he remains the master of shielding the puck with his 6-foot-3-inch, 240-pound frame, creating scoring chances for himself and others by cycling possession deep within the offensive zone.“I know … my strength,” Jagr recently told NHL.com’s Dan Rosen. “I like to play [in the] offensive zone on the boards. I still feel like I’m strong enough to beat anybody, [or] at least hold that puck. … Maybe I’m not going to beat that guy one-on-one like I used to, but I can still make a play from that corner from the cycle. That’s my strength. And in the playoffs, that’s the way you play.”This is why, with the NHL’s trade deadline approaching, Jagr was mentioned as a legitimate option for contending teams looking to upgrade their offense — particularly with the man advantage — before the playoffs begin. Ironically, it seems that as the league increases its emphasis on possession, Jagr’s value has only been heightened even as his goals and assists have receded with age. And for Florida, barely clinging to the hope of a playoff berth but with clear upgrades to be had on the power play and in advanced metrics, Jagr might be a good fit.On the other hand, what does it say about the state of the NHL in 2015 that a plodding 43-year-old future Hall of Famer could change a team’s postseason chances?Like many things in hockey, it’s a question that leads back to Howe. In the foreword to Howe’s (excellent) new autobiography, the great defenseman Bobby Orr marveled at Howe’s longevity: “Today, if a player cracks the top five in scoring in the NHL, he’s considered a star. Do it a couple of years in a row and you’re a superstar. … Well, Gordie Howe did it twenty years in a row. That’s right — twenty. How do you begin to do justice to a legacy like that?”It was undoubtedly an impressive run for Howe, but — counterintuitively — the ability of a man in his 40s (and even 50s) to still dominate a professional sports league might speak as much about the quality of play around him as to his own athletic gifts.In 1968-69 — the final year of the streak to which Orr referred — a 40-year-old Howe was nearly the best player in hockey, finishing second only to 26-year-old Phil Esposito in PSAR. And in his final season more than a decade later, Howe was serviceable enough to be a regular contributor. But the NHL of that era also underwent an enormous amount of upheaval between expansion, the emergence of a rival league (the World Hockey Association), and the influx of new talent (and a fresh playing style) from Europe.In some ways, the chaos of the 1960s and ’70s provided the perfect cover for an aging megastar such as Howe to keep his career rolling. We can see this in the percentage of total NHL PSAR going to various cohorts of skaters, grouped by age, over time:The 1960s saw the NHL’s first expansion since the Great Depression — marking the end of the Original Six era — and they also coincided with a major uptick in the production of older players, one that would not fully abate until the early 1980s. In addition to Howe, players such as Alex Delvecchio, John Bucyk, Jean Beliveau, Frank Mahovlich and Jean Ratelle all produced great seasons in their late 30s (and beyond).The present day also appears to be a haven for the comparatively superannuated. Starting in the early to mid-1990s, the fraction of league value produced by the oldest batch of NHL players swelled to levels not seen since the 1970s. While that proportion has decreased a bit today relative to its peak in the immediate aftermath of the NHL’s lost 2004-05 season, it remains higher now than at any point between 1974 and 1996.So Jagr’s longevity, impressive as it is, might also be a symptom of ongoing weaknesses in the state of pro hockey itself. Is it mere coincidence that the uptick began right when the NHL’s aggressive expansion plans of the 1990s were fully realized? Or that it lasted through the so-called Dead Puck Era and well into the post-lockout “New NHL“? It’s not clear.But regardless of where Jagr sits in the intersection between the NHL’s health and the twilight of his once-immense (and still formidable) skills, he remains a player to which attention is owed. The Panthers are picking up more than a living legend playing out the final act of his career — they’re nabbing a player who still offers many of the little advantages that could make a difference along the journey to the Stanley Cup. read more

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Ohio State mens hockey swept by No 6 NebraskaOmaha drops to 39

Senior forward Anthony Greco during a game against Canisius on Nov. 13. OSU won 4-1. Credit: Courtesy of OSUWeek after week, Ohio State men’s hockey coach Steve Rohlik preaches how important the special teams game is in hockey and how it determines outcomes more often than not.This weekend in Omaha, Nebraska, his team lost that battle.Coming off of a bye week, OSU (3-9) entered back into the realm of facing opponents ranked in the top 20 after taking three of four games from Mercyhurst and Canisius. The three-game winning streak came to a close as the Scarlet and Gray were swept by No. 6 Nebraska-Omaha (11-2-1) by scores of 3-1 and 6-4 on Friday and Saturday, respectively.After a scoreless first period in Game 1, sophomores Luc Snuggerud and David Pope found the back of the net past OSU junior netminder Christian Frey, putting the Mavericks up 2-0 after 40 minutes of play.OSU senior captain Craig Dalrymple lit the lamp for the second time this season on the power play to put the Buckeyes within one with 7:07 left in the game. Fellow senior captain Anthony Greco and freshman Dakota Joshua assisted on the play.The OSU comeback effort fell short, however, as Nebraska-Omaha junior forward Austin Ortega scored his 10th goal of the campaign into an empty net with one minute and two seconds remaining.The Buckeye power play received seven attempts to make Nebraska-Omaha pay for its mistakes throughout the evening, but the Dalrymple tally was the only one registered on the scoreboard. The Mavericks were unable to convert on any of their three opportunities on the night.Frey made 30 saves on 33 Maverick shots while Nebraska-Omaha freshman netminder Evan Weninger stopped 34 of the 35 pucks sent his way.In Game 2, it was the Mavericks’ turn to enjoy some time with a man advantage, and they cashed in accordingly.Ortega scored his second of the weekend just 30 seconds into the game. But that was followed up by OSU freshman Mike Gillespie’s first collegiate goal four minutes and 22 seconds later.A Tommy Parran game misconduct penalty due to checking from behind combined with a Sasha Larocque boarding penalty put the Buckeyes on a five-on-three disadvantage that they were unable to overcome, as a goal from junior forward Jake Guentzel started a run of four straight goals from the Mavericks, three of which came on the power play.Instead of fading away faced with a 5-1 deficit with 4:23 left in the second period, the Scarlet and Gray battled to the final buzzer.Larocque continued the trend of Buckeyes scoring their first collegiate goals, as the freshman made it a 5-2 game at the 17:28 mark of the middle frame assisted by sophomore Christian Lampasso and Joshua.Then the captains took over in the third period, as Greco and Nick Schilkey made it a 5-4 game with 4:45 remaining in the game.OSU outshot the Mavericks 24-8 in the final 20 minutes.  Again, the rally would end in the form of an empty net goal, this time via Guentzel’s second of the night with 44 seconds left, ending the scoring for the game.Nebraska-Omaha went 3-of-6 on the power play, ending the Buckeyes’ stretch of 18 consecutive killed penalties in the process. OSU went 0-of-2.Junior Matt Tomkins, who started between the pipes for the Buckeyes, was removed after the fifth Maverick goal and replaced by Frey. Tomkins made 18 saves on 23 shots, while Frey stopped all 10 shots he faced. Weninger received the nod again to start for the home team, and he made 42 saves on 46 pucks sent in his direction.The Buckeyes will look to rebound in Minneapolis next weekend, as they are set to take on Minnesota in their Big Ten opener on Friday at 8 p.m., followed by a rematch on Saturday at the same time. read more

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Throwin heat The sorry states of Tiger Woods Charlie Weis and Ohio

Drive into the WoodsAfter blowing off authorities for two consecutive days, Tiger Woods again avoided speaking publicly on Sunday.But the world’s No. 1-ranked golfer did release a statement on his Web site, claiming blame for his “accident.”Woods allegedly backed his Cadillac SUV into a fire hydrant and then a tree. Then, his Swedish model wife supposedly bashed in the rear window with a golf club to rescue him. Sounds like an authentic fairy tale, right?Until the truth comes out, if it ever does (or if it differs from what little information has been leaked thus far), rumors will continue to swirl, dragging down Woods’ seemingly untarnishable reputation.Whether a cheating Woods was escaping the wrath of his wife or whether the worldly father was simply heading to Wal-Mart to pick up diapers at 2:30 a.m., damaging rumors will persist until Woods delivers an explanation.Once again, Tiger’s driving gets him into trouble. This time, however, his public image is at stake.A tale of two vastly different teams from OhioThe Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals both represent Ohio, but lately, they have been in two completely different states.The Bengals relied on newly inked running back Larry Johnson, who piled up 107 yards on the ground in Cincy’s 16-7 victory over the Browns Sunday.At 8-3, Cincinnati is inching its way toward an AFC North crown, while the 1-10 Browns sit mired in ineptitude at the bottom of the division.It’s quite a turnaround for the Bengals, who started the ’08 campaign with eight consecutive losses and just one win in their first 13 games. Still, Cincy closed out 2008 with three victories, relying on running back Cedric Benson, who averaged 118 rushing yards in the trio of wins.The Bengals carried that momentum into 2009. A defense that allowed just 19 points total in those final three ’08 victories now ranks fourth in the NFL in scoring defense. And before he went down with a hip injury, Benson was on pace for a 1,500-yard season.Clearly, the Bengals used the end of a lost season to build for the future.Cleveland now finds itself in that same, precarious position.The Browns own the league’s worst record, their lone victory a 6-3 joke against the Buffalo Bills amid swirling winds.Cleveland must determine if Brady Quinn can handle quarterback responsibilities and which playmakers, if any, should be brought back in 2010.The light at the end of 2009’s dark tunnel lies in the Browns’ late-season schedule. Cleveland closes out with games against lowly Kansas City and Oakland before hosting Jacksonville.For the Browns to replicate Cincinnati’s blueprint for a turnaround (and the prospects of this team turning things around that quickly are laughable), Eric Mangini’s squad must use those final contests to steer toward improvement in 2010.Enough with Charlie WeisWhen one thinks of Notre Dame football, what comes to mind?The years of proud tradition and the atmosphere of South Bend, or the incessant bantering about which soon-to-be-fired coach will get his pink slip next?The Fighting Irish lost to Stanford in a 45-38 shootout Saturday, as Notre Dame fell to an inexcusable 6-6. Charlie Weis’s five-year stay is inevitably over, whether the Irish ax him this week or wait until after Notre Dame’s bowl game to send him on his way.  Either way, the sooner Weis walks, the better. I think I speak for the 6 billion or so people who live outside of South Bend when I say that I’m sick of hearing about Weis’s potential canning.This will be the third-consecutive Notre Dame marriage to end with an ugly divorce, with Weis following in the footsteps of Bob Davie and Tyrone Willingham.If the Irish football program is so prestigious, then Notre Dame should annually land the top recruits. If it does that, then the coaching should be at least adequate enough to lead all the talent to a decent record.The constant stream of disappointment in the eras of Davie, Willingham and Weis leaves two possible explanations. Either Notre Dame isn’t landing enough top-tier talent through recruiting, or the Irish have foolishly swept through a trio of incapable coaches.The answer lies with one of the two solutions. Either recruit the talent that Irish Nation feels it can attract, or hire a high-caliber coach capable of extracting the most out of above-average talent. read more

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Emails reveal notsofine print

On Monday, Ohio State revealed more email correspondence between Jim Tressel and Columbus lawyer Christopher Cicero, the man who alerted the football coach of possible violations by players, which Tressel has since acknowledged he failed to disclose to OSU and NCAA officials. The previously undisclosed emails contain advice from Cicero to players involved with Eddie Rife, the owner of Fine Line Ink tattoo parlor. “My suggestion is to tell (names redacted) (and any other current player) who has had contact with him (Rife), that if they are approached in person, by phone, by “target” letter, by any person in law enforcement, tell them that BEFORE they talk to anybody, or respond to anybody that they MUST contact you first… especially if some stupid media would get ‘wind’ of this… ok. Chris,” Cicero said to Tressel in an email on April 16, 2010. Cicero also suggested that Tressel advise his players to speak to the coach if anyone questions them about the matter involving Rife, who was under a federal investigation for drug trafficking charges. Tressel responded to Cicero three days later, asking if he had any more information on names associated with the selling of the 2008 Big Ten Championship rings. Tressel also hinted that he had a “plan” regarding the 2009 Big Ten Championship rings that had yet to arrive. “Is there a way I could get all the ring names…I have a little plan once this year’s rings arrive….jt,” Tressel wrote. Cicero responded a day later. He said an agent of the district attorney involved with the Rife case had the rings sold to Rife. “Thanks!!” Tressel responded. More than a month had passed without another email from Cicero. On June 1, Tressel emailed Cicero asking if he had any more names from the rings that had been sold. Tressel told Cicero the 2009 Big Ten Championship rings were arriving that week. “Any names from our last discussion ?? I would like to hold some collateral if you know what I mean….. jt,” Tressel said in the email. Cicero responded later that day, indicating that the two names he provided before were “still good.” Cicero informed Tressel that communication between himself and the district attorney had ceased and that no more names had surfaced. OSU said the emails released Monday, which had been detailed in a Columbus Dispatch article, were “inadvertently omitted” from the initial email release on March 8. OSU also acknowledged receiving a formal list of allegations from the NCAA on Monday. The NCAA sent a letter addressed to President E. Gordon Gee explaining the current state of the investigation. OSU is expected to respond to the NCAA’s request by July 5 and a meeting is then set for Aug. 12. In an interview with ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” on March 13, Cicero confirmed he mentioned quarterback Terrelle Pryor and wide receiver DeVier Posey while informing Tressel of his players’ involvement with Rife. In an email to The Lantern, Cicero said: “I gave an ESPN interview in March 2011, with Chris Spielman where I gave a taped interview answering every question posed to me. It is the only interview I am giving on this matter.” Five Buckeyes, including Pryor, Posey, offensive lineman Mike Adams, running back Dan Herron and defensive lineman Solomon Thomas are suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for selling memorabilia and receiving improper benefits. Cicero played football at OSU under coach Earle Bruce, and graduated in the spring of 1984. He lettered his senior year. In an email Tressel sent to Ted Sarniak, a 67-year-old business man from Jeannette, Pa., who befriended Pryor many years ago, Tressel seemed to vouch for the Columbus lawyer. Sarniak accompanied Pryor on his recruiting trips to OSU and other universities as a mentor figure for the young athlete. Tressel explained to Sarniak the relationship between Cicero and the university. “This guy, Chris Cicero, is a criminal lawyer in town,” Tressel said in the email. “He played here when I was an assistant coach in the early 1980’s. He has always looked out for us.” read more

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Mens soccer plays to scoreless draw with Northwestern

Junior forward Kenny Cunningham (17) fires a shot in a game against Northwestern Oct. 20 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The two teams tied, 0-0. Credit: Eric Seger / Sport editorThree of the last four matches for the Ohio State men’s soccer team (2-6-5, 0-2-2) have been against ranked opponents, and after a scoreless draw with the No. 16 Northwestern Wildcats, all three resulted in ties.OSU played to a 0-0 tie with then-No. 17 Louisville Oct. 2, and tied then-No. 18 Michigan State 1-1 Oct. 13.Buckeye redshirt-junior goalkeeper Alex Ivanov recorded seven saves in Sunday’s match and earned his fifth shutout of the season. He is now tied with Penn State keeper Andrew Wolverton for third place in the Big Ten Conference for shutouts.Ivanov said the shutout was a good confidence booster moving into the last four games of the regular season.“Trying to keep the team in the game at all times is my job,” he said. “It’s good when we get a clean sheet for the defense, we’ll just have to keep moving forward and building on it.”Ivanov now has 80 saves in 12 games, keeping him in first place in the conference.Both teams were successful in creating scoring opportunities throughout the match, but neither was able to capitalize or find a way to get the ball in the net. The Wildcats outshot the Buckeyes by a total of 20-14 and led the OSU in corner kicks, 7-5.Despite the tie, Buckeye coach John Bluem said the team will walk away feeling like this game was a loss because it played well and had a lot of scoring opportunities throughout the game.“You just keep waiting for (a shot) to go in, somehow, for us and we felt like we deserved to win a game like this because we’ve been in so many of them, and it’s been kind of a rough stretch,” he said. “The guys’ attitudes are great and we are grinding away at it. If we can find a way to produce some goals we might make something happen this year.”Missed opportunities have been a continued trend this year for the Buckeyes. The trend continued on OSU’s second attempt of the second overtime when sophomore midfielder Zach Mason blasted a shot wide of the goal from outside the box with just more than five minutes left in play.Mason said after the game that despite the missed opportunities, the results of the last few games proves to the team that it can compete with anybody.“We’ve known (we can compete) all along, but these are results that are showing it on paper, so I think this is only going to boost our confidence and maybe get some wins in the next few games,” he said. “I think we will try and push each other in training and try and have some fun with it too. It can’t all be serious because it’s a game and we want to enjoy it. I think the last two games have shown that we’ve kept our spirits up and are still fighting to the end.”The Buckeyes have a break from in-conference action as they prepare to take on Oakland Wednesday and Cleveland State Sunday, before finishing off the season with games against Penn State and Wisconsin. read more

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Womens basketball Mitchells struggles lead to Buckeyes Big Ten tournament exit

Ohio State junior guard Kelsey Mitchell (3) facilitates the offense against Purdue during the Boilermakers’ 71-60 win against the Buckeyes at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on March 4. Credit: Ashley Nelson | Sports DirectorINDIANAPOLIS — As Ohio State junior guard Kelsey Mitchell goes, so goes the Buckeyes’ women’s basketball team. And the only place Mitchell and her team are going after Saturday afternoon’s game is home.On Friday, against Northwestern in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals, Mitchell led both teams with 27 points en route to a dominant 99-68 OSU victory. But in the following day’s game against Purdue, nothing went right for the Big Ten player of the year. Mitchell scored just nine points as she made 3 of 22 shots and just a single of her 12 3-point attempts, and OSU lost 71-60.“She didn’t have a good game,” said OSU coach Kevin McGuff. “She’s a spectacular player, one of the very best in college basketball, and tonight wasn’t her night.”The Buckeyes could not overcome their star’s struggles, as Purdue pulled off the 71-60 upset win, which knocked OSU out of the tournament and sent the Boilermakers to the final.The season low for the guard who averages 23.5 points per game picked up her second-lowest scoring total as a Buckeye, coming within a point of tying her career low of eight, set in 2015.The Boilermakers keyed in on the left-handed OSU guard’s proclivity to dribble to her dominant hand side.“We wanted to make her play on the right side of the floor,” said Purdue senior guard Ashley Morrissette. “They ran a couple plays where she got looks on the left side of the floor. But I thought, as a team, we did a great job of defending her.”This isn’t the first time the Boilermakers’ defense shut down Mitchell. In January, Purdue used a 1-2-2 zone defense to smother Mitchell, holding her to 14 points and making just 3-of-17 shots. But on Saturday, Purdue implemented a 2-3 zone defense. Purdue coach Sharon Versyp said the change was made due to OSU more frequently utilizing a two-guard lineup.“They executed and they trusted it and said, ‘Hey, let everybody else shoot the outside shot and just corrall her,” said Purdue coach Sharon Versyp.Versyp and Morrissette each noted the importance Purdue placed on surrounding Mitchell with two players at all times to keep her off balance.As a team, the Buckeyes shot just 34 percent from the field and made just 3 of 23 3-point attempts. OSU even struggled at the free throw line, with the Buckeyes making 7 of 15 from the charity stripe. “Once they got a lead, we seemed to get out of doing the things that we’ve done all year and (it) allowed us to be very efficient on offense,” McGuff said. “We were rushing shots and taking quick, contested shots instead of showing a little more patience and a little more trust in the execution.”In her six previous Big Ten tournament games, Mitchell averaged 29.8 points per game on 49 percent shooting.McGuff assuredly stated after Mitchell’s disappointing performance that no one is more likely to bounce back with authority than the OSU guard.“No one’s going to work harder, no one’s going to be in the gym more than she will,” McGuff said. “She’s going to make sure that her having an off night doesn’t happen again this year. I can assure you of that.” read more

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Mens gymnastics Ohio State places second at NCAA championships

Ohio State senior Andrew Rickly competes on the parallel bars against Michigan on Feb. 4 at St. John Arena. Credit: Walt Middleton, Courtesy of OSU AthleticsThe No. 3 Buckeyes finished the 2017 season with a second-place finish on Saturday at the NCAA championships with a readout of 423.700, the team’s highest score of the season. Oklahoma won its third consecutive national championship with a score of 431.950 followed by Illinois with 422.100. Stanford earned fourth place with 421.500 points and Minnesota and Nebraska finished in fifth and sixth place with scores of 414.200 and 412.900, respectively. During the qualifying round, the Buckeyes advanced to the team finals after receiving 414.650 points overall on Friday, the second-best score of the evening. Stanford was first with 420.450 points followed by Nebraska who scored 413.050.At the qualifying round, redshirt senior Jake Martin received a season-best score on vault with 14.350 points. His best performance out of six events was on the high bar where he scored a readout of 14.450 points, the second-best score of the event. Additionally, Brandon Bonanno scored a personal best on vault with a 14.350. Sean Melton scored 14.950 points on rings, the best score of the event. Redshirt junior Sean Melton, sophomore Alec Yoder, redshirt junior Jake Dastrup, sophomore David Szarvas and sophomore Joey Bonanno received All-America honors. Melton placed fourth in the all-around with a score of 86.400, Yoder placed sixth with 84.950, Dastrup placed seventh on the pommel horse with 14.550, Szarvas placed eighth on pommel with a career-best of 14.500. Lastly, Bonanno scored 14.400 points on floor, finishing sixth.OSU had its highest finish at the NCAA championships since 2005 when the Buckeyes also finished second. read more

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