The Buckeyes came out on fire tonight against Savannah State, routing the Tigers 85-45 in Columbus. In particular, the Buckeyes came out clicking in all phases of the game, and really made it tough for the Tigers to operate on the offensive end. DeShaun Thomas led all scorers with 22 points, despite scoring only 1 in the first half. He was joined by LaQuinton Ross (13), Shannon Scott (12), and Evan Ravenel (10) in double figures from the Buckeyes, while the Tigers only saw Arnold Louis (14) break the 10 barrier.
I definitely want to give a shout out to Evan Ravenel’s 10 points and career high 9 rebounds. Unfortunately, he still doesn’t have a double double, but it’s only a matter of time. I’d also like to mention Alex Rogers who saw decent playing time in the last 4 minutes, and Jake Lorbach who scored his first points in a Buckeye uniform when he connected on a free throw at the end of the game.
Savannah State never really challenged the Buckeyes during the course of this game. Ohio State opened with a strong offensive showing, with DeShaun Thomas scoring 21 of the Buckeyes 42 points in the first half. OSU dominated on the glass at 44-18 for the game, not surprisingly considering SSU’s height disadvantage. The Bucks also did a good job of finding the open shooter and connecting on it.
I’ve gotta give the Tigers credit for coming out of the break with a little more fire and effort. The sudden change in pace seemed to catch the Buckeyes off guard at first before they regained their traction. Thomas struggled with his shooting in the second, but it was more than made up for by several others, including LaQuinton Ross, who scored all of his points during the second stanza.
We say it each week, and it remains true – there is still a lot of work this team has to do before they’re ready for Big Ten play. However, they are getting better every single game. The development is obvious in many places, and there’s no reason to believe they won’t be ready to take on the rest of the B1G come January.
1. Free Throw Shooting has improved dramatically. I’ve waited a few games to see if it would persist, but our free throw shooting made a big turnaround after the first few games of the season. Amir Williams in particular is doing a great job from the charity stripe. That’s an important skill for any big man to have, but particularly in this offense.
2. Three point shooting. The Bucks shot 70% (7-10) from beyond the arc in the first half. That’s just about the best shooting we’ve seen from this team from range since Jon Diebler was here. Don’t get your hopes up for this to stick around for long, but it is proof that this team is capable of doing it – when they move the defense around with their passing at least.
3. Front court defensive play and rebounding. I can’t stress it enough, the big guys are fantastic defenders down low, and they do a great job controlling the glass on the miss. This was particularly true on the offensive glass tonight, where the Bucks were able to get plenty of second chance looks.
4. DeShaun Thomas. He’s been struggling with his shooting the last few games, but he finally found it, and great effort on the glass, for this one tonight. Someday, he’s going to put together two complete halves and the scoreboard is going to absolutely explode.
1. Focus among the young players. Ross, Thompson, and Scott were not entirely locked in today. They missed a few good looks and committed a handful of bad turnovers. They need to treat the Savannah State’s the same way they would treat the Duke’s. Put in maximum effort at all times and it becomes second nature.
2. Shot selection. It’s not too surprising, but the Buckeyes still struggle a little with their shot selection. While they’re much better about passing the ball around, they still have times that they force a bad shot early in the shot clock against the opponents half-court defense.
3. Craft’s scoring. Where did Craft’s game go? He breaks 20 early in the season, and tonight he struggles to even get the ball in the bucket. Heck, he’s 7-33 for the last few games. At least his passing vision and stealing skills are still there, which his teammates were able to make use of.
The Buckeyes will next face UNC Asheville on Saturday, December 15th in Value City Arena. You’ll be able to see that game at Noon on the Big Ten Network.