The Buckeyes take on 4-4 Winthrop University from the Big South conference in their next match-up and are on a roll since losing to Duke. The Eagles are on a little roll themselves having dispatched the other “Ohio” team as our least favorite buffoon from up north likes to say. The Eagles beat the Bobcats 50-49 with a late push and two final second free throws from their star player. Let’s take a look at the school from Rock Hill, SC.
|Location:||Rock Hill, South Carolina|
|Founded:||1886 – Veritas cum liberate “Truth with Liberty”|
|Head Coach:||Pat Kelsey(Xavier 98) First Season as a head coach|
|Experience & Accomplishments||Before stepping away from basketball following the 2010-11 season, Kelsey was the associate head coach at his alma mater Xavier U. where he spent two seasons. Prior to that he cut his teeth coaching under the late and great Skip Prosser at Wake Forrest and then Dino Gaudio.|
|Program History||The University’s most well-known athletic team is the Men’s basketball team which has earned a berth in nine NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournaments since 1999. Additionally, they have won the Big South Conference Championship in 1988, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010. 6 of the 8 Men’s Basketball team’s championships and national rankings came during Gregg Marshall’s tenure as head coach. Marshall left Winthrop to become the head coach at Wichita State University.|
This will be just the second meeting all-time between Winthrop and the Buckeyes as the two teams first met in the Eagles second game of the 2001-02 season. Ohio State won the home game, 78-54. This will also be the Eagles first contest against a team ranked in the Top 10 nationally since Nov. 15, 2006 when they faced off against second-ranked North Carolina in the NIT Season Tipoff South Region championship game. Winthrop fell 73-66.
While defeating the Bobcats last Saturday, Sophomore Derrick Henrey, who entered the game shooting 75 percent from the free throw line, missed three of his first four from the charity stripe on Saturday but made the final one with 4.7 seconds remaining to lift Winthrop to the win. Henry still leads the Eagles in scoring at 15.6 points per game while Smith is second on the team at 9.4 points per game and redshirt senior Gideon Gamble is scoring at 9.0 points per game.
Winthrop entered the Ohio game ranked second in the Big South in scoring defense and looked like a strong defensive team in the win. The Eagles held an Ohio team averaging 74.2 points per game on the season to just 49 points. They held the normally hot shooting Bobcats to 27% from the floor in the second half.
Ohio State is looking for its 39th straight non-conference win at home, where it is 75-2 in nine seasons under Thad Matta. The Buckeyes are led by Deshaun Thomas who is averaging 20.8 points per game and 6.3 rebounds per game while shooting 48 percent from the field. He went over the 1,000 career-point mark against Duke.
Junior guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. and sophomore forward LaQuinton Ross are also averaging in double-figures at 11.2 points and 10.3 points respectively. Ross has come off the bench in all eight games and is shooting 48 percent. Leading the team at the point is Aaron Craft, THE lock-down guard averaging 9.2 points and dishing out 4.8 assists per game, while taking in 1.5 steals per game as well. Since their only loss of the season on Nov. 28, Ohio State has won by an average of 29.8.
|#7 Ohio State Buckeyes8-1 overall, 0-0 conf|
|#32||Lenzelle Smith Jr.||9||9||27.3||11.2||48.6||5.3||2.0||0.6||0.0|
The Eagles have struggled under first year head coach Pat Kelsey but have shown flashes of being able to play some great defense, which is what they will have to do against the hot shooting Buckeyes.
The intriguing match-up in this game is between POTY candidate Deshaun Thomas and big bodied guard Derrick Henry(6-3 200) as they will surely have a good day against each other. Henry will need to step up his game as Thomas loves to get the ball on the move and has proven he can shoot from anywhere on the court. The same can be said in return. Thomas will need to keep Henry in check early on and have his way offensively.
After Henry, the Eagles just have several players who contribute. No other Winthrop players are averaging double figures and they need to bring the defense they had against Ohio. Their biggest concern has to be in the guards versus guards match-up as the Buckeyes possess the best defensive back court in the country with Craft and Shannon Scott. Scott is averaging better than 2 steals a game and when they are both on the court, other teams production slows to a crawl.
The Buckeyes are close to having five players avaeraging in double figures and LaQuinton Ross is pushing the envelope of becoming a great all around player. He is the wild card moving forward as the Buckeyes improve and get ready for Kansas and the B1G. The Buckeyes are playing well and need the win to keep pace with the other teams that are nationally ranked in the B1G.
|Date:||Dec. 18, 2012|
|Time:||7:00 p.m. ET|