The Buckeyes welcomed the Cougars to Columbus, but sent them packing in the second half with a final score of 87-44. Chicago State tried to make the game interesting early, but they simply didn’t have the horses to keep up with the Buckeyes for long. The Buckeyes had five players reach double digits, including DeShaun Thomas (17), LaQuinton Ross (14), Lenzelle Smith (13), Amadeo “Floppy Haired Mayhem” Della Valle (11), and Aaron Craft (10). Scottie Pippen’s nephew Quinton Pippen was the only Cougar to make it to double digits with 12.
The game started much like many other games this season. The Buckeyes found themselves in a dogfight against a seriously inferior opponent, partially due to some quality sharpshooting from long range from Chicago State, and partially due to sloppiness in their play early. Not surprisingly, once they started to play better defense, it began to lead to offensive opportunities that allowed them to build a reasonable lead late in the half.
The Bucks brought it to start the second half and scored on 5 of their first 6 possessions to run the lead up to 21. Chicago State finally got their offense moving again and slowed the inexorable increase in OSU’s lead, but couldn’t reverse the trend. That could have been made worse with Chicago State allowing the Buckeyes to get into the double bonus with 10 minutes left in the game, but with the way the Bucks were shooting free throws, there was no chance for that to have any meaningful effect on the outcome of the game. The team finally looked like they were having a good time with under 5 minutes to play when they went on a scoring tear.
This team is an absolute mystery. There are times when they look lethargic and like they don’t care. There are other times when they seem like they’re having all the fun in the world. But they never, ever, look 100% for an entire basketball game. Perhaps that’s a sign of youth and lack of leadership, but the lack of consistency is particularly frustrating considering the talent level on the court. All of that said, the future sure looks bright with some of these young guys and the way they play. Scott is a great point guard, and he’ll have some incredible scorers around him to make life miserable for teams in the future.
1. Great passing is a pride of this team. Just about every single player on this team has fantastic floor vision and an amazing ability to put a pass exactly where it needs to be to make a play. It’s very impressive to watch these guys move the ball around.
2. Defense leads to offense – when the team remembers it. When they lock down on defense, and really make an effort to keep the other team from scoring, it always leads to better offensive play. It’s frustrating that they come into games thinking they can take it easy on the defensive end for the first quarter of the game.
1. It’s getting really tiresome to see players that typically shoot 35% from long range get hot just for us. Maybe they just get pumped to play us on our home court, but we still struggle to close out on the shooters. I’m to the point that I just don’t know what the solution might be to this problem, especially considering we apparently spent Friday practice working on exactly that.
2. There is no “killer instinct” with this team. They don’t come into games against lower quality opponents with the desire to just commit bad things up and down the court. Instead, they play to the level of the competition until someone (typically Matta) gets up in their grill about it. Thankfully, there aren’t too many easy opponents in the Big Ten this year, so keeping them focused shouldn’t be as big of an issue.
3. Amir Williams has absolutely no ability to grip the basketball. The coaching staff needs to work on his grip strength until he can pop the ball. It seems like every single time he gets the ball inside under pressure it gets poked away from him. That’s going to get us into trouble in Big Ten play.
4. OSU’s Free throw shooting is atrocious. Normally we’re not too bad shooting free throws, but for some reason we couldn’t sink anything from the charity stripe without direct intervention from god.
The Buckeyes have finished their non-conference schedule, and will next face the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Value City Arena on Wednesday, January 2nd to start their run of 18 B1G regular season games. You’ll be able to see that game at 6:30 PM Eastern Time on the Big Ten Network.