As the saying goes, revenge is a dish best served cold, and on Saturday night, Glynn Watson Jr. was cool under pressure and had ice-water in his veins as he converted the game-winning three-point play in the final seconds to give Nebraska a 58-57 win at Ohio State.
The win is the first in Columbus in Nebraska (12-14, 6-8) history and follows a one-point loss to the Buckeyes (15-13, 5-10) in Lincoln on Jan. 18 when Watson tripped and fell down on Ohio State’s game-winning baseline out-of-bounds play.
Watson didn’t have a great day, finishing with 14 points and two assists while shooting 5-of-15 from the field. But in the biggest moment, he didn’t settle for a tough jump shot, electing instead to attack the basket and finish inside through contact to tie the game. He calmly knocked down the free throw with 11 seconds to play.
On the other end, Ohio State could not find an opening in the Nebraska defense and Jae’Sean Tate’s long contested jumper clanged off the rim. After suffering heartbreak three times previously in one point games, the Huskers finally closed one out.
The first half was a struggle for the Huskers on the offensive end as Ohio State built up an 11-point lead at 22-11 13 minutes into the game. After trading scores for a few minutes Nebraska made a run late in the half, outscoring Ohio State 7-1 to pull within five thanks in part to a shift to a match-up zone defense.
Ohio State’s Marc Loving split a pair of free throws with 2:10 to play and neither side managed another point the rest of the way as the Buckeyes took a 30-24 lead into the locker room.
Nebraska went on scoreless streaks of 2:34, 4:08, 2:24 and 2:54 in the first half. Senior guard Tai Webster and sophomore forward Ed Morrow Jr. were the only bright spots offensively as they combined for 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting.
The rest of the Huskers were 2-of-20 from the field with the other two field goals coming from Watson who scored the Huskers’ first five points.
Ohio State scored the first five points of the second half to expand its lead to 11, but Nebraska countered with back-to-back 3-pointers to remain within striking distance. The teams traded buckets until the Huskers reeled off a 9-0 run to tie the game at 43-all with 8:55 to play.
The teams went back and forth over the next three minutes until the Huskers hit another rough patch offensively and Ohio State created some separation with a 6-0 run to take a 54-47 lead with 3:37 to play.
Then Watson and Jack McVeigh took over and combined to score Nebraska’s final 11 points. Watson drilled a triple to start the run then McVeigh followed it up with a bucket of his own to pull within two.
Loving responded with a 3-pointer of his own with 32 seconds to play, but it proved to be Ohio State’s last bucket. After a timeout, Watson found McVeigh for a tough trey from the corner with 25 seconds to go. After another timeout, the Huskers put on a full-court press and Kam Williams turned the ball over, setting the stage for Watson’s heroics.
Webster led all scorers with 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting. McVeigh added 11 points, all in the final nine minutes. Ed Morrow Jr. rounded out the Huskers in double figures with 10 points and six rebounds. The Huskers forced 18 turnovers and scored 23 points off them to help make up for their offensive struggles (38.3 percent from the field for the game).
Tate led the Buckeyes with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Loving and center Trevor Thompson added 13 points apiece. Ohio State did not shoot much better from the field at 41.3 percent, but the Huskers hit three more 3-pointers to cancel out Ohio State’s 10-point advantage at the charity stripe.
Nebraska’s road trip will continue on Tuesday as the Huskers head to East Lansing for a rematch with Michigan State.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.