"It gave us the confidence to move forward and then because of that confidence you get more buy in, better practices, better film sessions and everything gets a little bit better". "I think we all understand how important he is to us".
The Buckeyes entered a half game up on No. 2 Michigan State in the Big Ten standings and a 1 ½ ahead of No. 6 Purdue with the head-to-head tiebreaker over both. Although Ohio State was defeated, C.J. Jackson fought to keep his team in the game with 13 points, shooting 45.5% from the field (making 5 of 11 attempts).
In its biggest home game in years, Penn State jumped out to an early 14-4 lead and dominated No. 8 Ohio State from start to finish en route to blowing the Buckeyes out of the Bryce Jordan Center, 79-56. A win in West Lafayette, and Penn State just might be able to put on its dancing shoes.
Mike Watkins added 11 points and 10 rebounds for his tenth double-double of the season.
However, Ohio State has the conference's leading scorer (19.9 PPG) and the Big Ten Player of the Year frontrunner on their front line.
8 Buckeyes in the first half, creating a hole that was too large for Ohio State to overcome, even with the resiliency the Buckeyes have shown throughout all of conference play.
It would've been a insane thought that Penn State would even be sitting in this position just three weeks ago ahead of the Ohio State upset. But with three road games in the last four, there are certainly plenty of potential road blocks along the way. Coming into Thursday night's game, he was averaging 19.9 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. How will students and fans respond to a team that has something to play for? As it turns out, Schiano is staying in Columbus as Ohio State's defensive coordinator. If you can make this Nittany Lion team work on both ends of the floor, there's the ability to force a wear down effect.
Garner said the BJC was the loudest he's ever heard it for the Rutgers game on January 27, one where 13,667 people were in the crowd. Their only loss over this current stretch was an away game against the Spartans. Penn State went 1-3 in those games.
"There's going to be a lot of energy, they're going to play with a lot of heart".
As talented as Penn State is with its starting five all averaging in double-figures though, it doesn't have a deep bench.
"Nobody really cares about the guy that did a whole bunch of stuff but lost", Garner said.