The Buckeyes finally played their first official game of the season today against Albany Great Danes at home. Albany gave a good fight early in the first half before succumbing to OSU’s defensive effort and finally falling 82-60 in Value City Arena. Aaron Craft led all scorers with 20 points on 6-9 shooting for the game. He was tied with Mike Black of Albany, who also scored 20 on 7-13 from the floor. Three other Buckeyes managed to score in double digits today: DeShaun Thomas with 19, Lenzelle Smith with 18, and LaQuinton Ross with 10.
The early parts of the game showed a bit of an up and down battle as Albany took it to the Buckeyes on both sides of the court. Finally, Matta called a timeout late in the first half to chew out his team over their lackadaisical effort on the defensive end. After that, the Buckeyes put on a clinic, going on a 25-4 run over the next 8 minutes split by the half. Once the Bucks had a 20 point lead, they coasted the rest of the way to the comfortable victory.
Mike Black, point guard for Albany is a killer scorer. He does an excellent job driving the lane, and is a very good three point shooter. He will make the American East Conference nervous all season long with his offensive prowess. Albany is set up to do pretty well this year if they can find a few more pieces to help Black out.
As for the Buckeyes, they need to figure out how to turn things on from the beginning of the game. It would be better if they didn’t need to take a timeout every game to get chewed out before they start playing quality defense. Hopefully what they learned today is that great defense leads to good offense on the other end, and perhaps they’ll start to execute better to start the game. The season is early yet, and there is plenty of learning to be done by this young team.