Keith Hornsby led the UNC Asheville Bulldogs into Columbus but wasn’t able to do enough to keep the Buckeyes from running away with this one by a score of 90-72. Hornsby was an unstoppable shooting machine today, hitting a ridiculous 9-12 from the floor, 6-8 from three, for 26 points to go with 4 rebounds. That’s an incredible game from the young guard. He was joined in double digits by Jeremy Atkinson (11), and Will Weeks (10). The Buckeyes saw four players break double digits including: Sam Thompson (18), DeShaun Thomas (17), Lenzelle Smith (16), and Evan Ravenel (12).
Not surprisingly, the Buckeyes also ran away with the Bruce Hornsby puns – Keith Hornsby is the son of the famous grammy winning artist. That leads us to the musical selection for this recap.
No, seriously. Do yourself a favor and read through the LiveBlog transcript. The puns are gloriously horrible.
As opposed to Wednesday night’s game, the Buckeyes did a lot of their damage close to the basket in this one. They played the first half with a paltry 2-10 shooting from long range, but held a 15 point lead over UNCA at 50-35. The scoring was done on the fast break, where the Bucks picked up 16 points, and in the paint with Ravenel who picked up 12. The only reason UNCA was able to keep the game even respectably close was the shooting of Keith Hornsby, who connected on 4-5 attempts from long range, and 7-8 attempts overall.
After a strong start in the second half, the Buckeyes basically put the game into cruise control. The result was a somewhat sloppier quality of play, but a still expanding lead. More importantly, plenty of young Buckeyes got solid playing time against a decent opponent. There’s no question that the younger guys will be able to take something away from today’s game, even despite the lopsided score.
This team is getting better every single game, as you would expect and hope for. The bench players are getting time and playing hard – consider Shannon Scott and his career high (and game-leading) 6 steals. Also, other than Amir Williams who picked up only a single duece, no-one who scored put up fewer than 5 points today. They’re sharing the ball well, finding good looks at the basket, manipulating the defense, and just generally playing great team basketball. This is quickly looking like it will be a fun year.
1. The mid-range jumper game might be developing. We’ve seen a couple of sweet mid-range jumper shots the last couple games, including a couple from Sam Thompson and Evan Ravenel today. If the Buckeyes put together a lethal mid-range game, especially if Thompson makes it a key part of his game, this team will become much more dangerous.
2. Passing. This team is truly mastering the passing game. I’ve not seen a Buckeye team move the ball around quite this effectively in a long time. It’s particularly apparant against the fast break, but also when the Bucks try to pull the defense out of position.
3. Evan Ravenel in the first half. Ravenel is really stepping up the last couple of games on both the offensive and defensive ends. At the end of the first half, he was leading the team in scoring with 12 points. That’s amazing for a guy who was not known for his scoring on a team filled with stat-stuffers. The only step he needs to take now is to play a complete game at that level.
1. Amir William’s height. This is mostly snark, but he got nailed for an intentional foul because he turned around and made elbow-to-face contact with a 6-4 defender. The rule is clear, and I get why it was called, but it’s very unfortunate that there are no exceptions made. Not a lot Williams can do there.
2. Perimeter defense is still a bit of a problem. I expressed it would be in the preview, and in fact I’m not sure the Buckeyes will ever totally get rid of their confusions in the man defense at the three point arc.
3. Amadeo Della Valle needs to work on his defense. This isn’t really a “negative”, but ADV (or Floppy Haired Mayhem “FHM”) really needs to work on his defense. If he could get better on keeping with his man and playing smart defense, he might see a lot more time on the floor in critical situations this year. Unfortunately, I suspect he will disappear during the Big Ten season.
The Buckeyes will next play the Winthrop Eagles on Tuesday, December 18th in Value City Arena. You’ll be able to see that game at 7:00 PM Eastern on the Big Ten Network.