The first game of the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-off featured the Ohio State Buckeyes taking on the Rhode Island Rams. The Rams did everything they could to give the Buckeyes a good fight throughout the game, but the Buckeyes’ talent proved superior in the end as they fought to a 69-58 victory. DeShaun Thomas led all scorers with 25 points, and picked up a double double on the game with 12 rebounds – his first double double on the season. Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith also picked up double digits in scoring for OSU with 13 and 10 respectively. Rhode Island
Rhode Island came into the game with an excellent game-plan to attack the Buckeyes defensively. Instead of sticking with only one defensive set, they instead flopped between man and 2-3 zone almost possession-to-possession. The strategy greatly confused the Buckeyes early on in the first half and allowed the Rams to stay in the game only down four at the break. In fact, the only thing that kept the Buckeyes from being down at the half was a 15-4 run through the last few minutes of the half which started when they began attacking the basket.
It was the second half that the Buckeyes began to exert control. Rhode Island found it difficult to keep up with Ohio State’s scoring, especially as the Buckeyes began to find success on the fast break, and when they started attacking the basket more aggressively. Credit Rhode Island for not giving up, even having a chance with three minutes left down only 9 points. But the Buckeyes regained control and closed out the game with authority.
1. Buckeyes attacking the paint with authority. Evan Ravenel and DeShuan Thomas got it started low for the Buckeyes, scoring 6 of the first 8 points near the basket. Craft and Thompson later demonstrated the excellent dribble drive in the teeth of the defense.
2. Rebounding. The Buckeyes massively improved their rebounding. DeShaun Thomas had 9 in the first half alone, and even Amir Williams managed to pick one up. This needs to continue to get better, but it’s certainly promising so far.
3. Effort. It may not have been pretty, but the Buckeyes just kept plugging away at the plucky, up-tempo Rams.
4. Bench play. The Buckeyes played 8 deep on the game, with Scott, Ross, and Williams coming off the bench to play pretty good minutes.
1. Slow starts in the first half. It’s almost like the Basketball team caught whatever the football team had. In all three games they’ve played so far this year, the team has struggled to get it going early in the first half. If this continues, it could come back to bite them later against better competition.
2. Three point shooting game. The Buckeyes definitely struggled both hitting the three point shot early on, though they improved to 42.7% by the end of the game. They also struggled in defending the three point shot, allowing the Rams to hit a number of uncontested looks from long range.
3. Ability in reading the defense. Rhode Island did a good job switching back and forth between man and zone to keep the Buckeyes off balance. Worked well for the Rams through the end of the 1st half.
4. Quick shooting. Ohio State allowed Rhode Island to stick around a little during the course of the game by making poor decisions with the basketball. Often they were shooting far too quickly in the shot clock, rather than passing around and finding a good look. The few times they did get a good look, they dropped the shot. Hopefully they learn this watching video this coming week.
The Buckeyes will face either Washington or Seton Hall tomorrow in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off. That game will be played at 4:30 PM EST, and you can find it on ESPN2.