Ohio State didn’t exactly set the world on fire in the first half against Long Beach State, but the Buckeyes earned a very decisive victory over the 49ers, 89-55.
I wrote earlier this week that Ohio State needed to use these next four games as a way to improve leading up to the Kansas game on Dec. 22, and today the Buckeyes showed some nice improvements.
1. This team needs LaQuinton Ross. He has all of the ability to be a special player not only this year, but for the next two years as well. Many view him as the best pro prospect on Ohio State’s roster and I can’t say that I disagree. How did Ross answer coming off his career-high 22 point game against Northern Kentucky? He had 16 points, nine rebounds and four assists. His game is very smooth and so easy to watch. Still needs to work harder on the defensive end, but when OSU is at its best, Ross is on the floor.
2. The ball movement this afternoon was exceptional. Ohio State didn’t make a ton of shots, but they were getting good looks. You have to think that with time, those shots will fall. The fact that the Buckeyes were getting so many good looks at the basket is definitely a good sign going forward.
3. I thought Deshaun Thomas played a really good game. He didn’t shoot the ball well, but he’s the one player on OSU’s roster who doesn’t worry me when he has an off shooting night. I thought he made some really nice passes and two really stood out to me. He made an outstanding extra pass in the first half that led to an Aaron Craft three-pointer. And after he got an offensive rebound he found a wide open Ross for a layup. Earlier in his career, I think Thomas would have tried to force that shot back up after he got the rebound. And, more importantly, it really looked like Thomas was having a lot of fun out there today.
1. Not a lot to nitpick for a game like this, but if I had to pick one thing it was that OSU might have settled for a few too many jump shots. Granted, Long Beach State played zone for most of the game which will force teams into more jumpers, but I would have liked to see the Buckeyes get into the paint a bit more. OSU isn’t a great perimeter shooting team, though it did shoot better today, so I would like to see as few jump shots as possible.
Overall, a pretty impressive victory for Ohio State today. It did exactly what it should against and inferior opponent and the most important thing for the Buckeyes is that they showed improvement as they take on Savannah State on Wednesday.