Indianapolis — When looking down Ohio State’s roster for potential heroes, Amadeo Della Valle’s name probably wouldn’t be the first, second, third or even fourth name you pick.
In fact, the sophomore from Alba, Italy had been held to eight points over Ohio State’s last 10 games, including seven where he failed to register a single point.
Yet, with the Buckeyes’ Big Ten Tournament hopes hanging in the balance, trailing by 18 midway through the second half it was Della Valle who helped spark the comeback.
He registered 12 points, his second-most since the calendar turned to 2014 and six rebounds, a career-high to help the Buckeyes to a 71-67 win.“We opened up the second half and had three fouls and missed four free throws,” Buckeyes head coach Thad Matta said. “(Aaron) Craft missed a lay-up, Trey (McDonald) missed a dunk and it was like ‘oh my gosh.’ They were making plays so we inserted Amedeo and I just told him ‘just give us something out there.’ The biggest thing was the 12 points, but his defense was incredible too.”Della Valle had help from Buckeyes’ leading scorer LaQuinton Ross (who scored a game-high 26 points), who was the only other player who had anything going for the Buckeyes.
Nebraska started the second half on a 17-2 run, taking an 18-point lead on two Terran Petteway free throws with 13:45 to go, but then the comeback started.A 3-pointer and a lay-up by Ross and two lay-ups by Della Valle, plus three Nebraska turnovers (including two steals from Della Valle), allowed the Buckeyes to get within nine with 11:52 to play.
Nebraska appeared to stem the tide, maintaining a nine-point advantage with 8 minutes to play, but the Buckeyes continued to press.
Ross had a old-fashioned three-point play and after a defensive stop, Aaron Craft had a putback to cut the deficit to four with 6:50 to play.