For their last non-conference game of the season, the Buckeyes welcomed the Warhawks of Louisiana-Monroe to Value City Arena. Not surprisingly, against a team that has only won 17 games in the last four season, the Buckeyes had no trouble with the seriously over-matched Warhawks, cruising to a 71-31 victory. The Buckeyes were led in scoring by the hero of the Notre Dame comeback, as Lenzelle Smith put down 17 for the game. He was followed in double digits by LaQuinton Ross’s 15, and Amadeo Della Valle’s 12. Louisiana-Monroe was led in scoring by Jayon James with 7.
Things started out well for the Buckeyes. LaQuinton Ross scored the first five points of the game, including three on free throws. The Bucks were also able to get the fast break part of their game going with cherry picked scores for Craft and Lenzelle Smith. Particularly impressive on Smith’s was that Amir Williams screened Smith’s lane to the basket in the paint. The floor awareness and teamwork was yet another nice thing to see in Amir’s slow and steady development.
Things began to slow down a little for the Bucks scoring following the first TV timeout, but the same certainly couldn’t be said about the defensive intensity. The OSU defense continually gave the Warhawk’s offense trouble, forcing a shot-clock violation, and keeping ULM from having any good looks at the basket. Some of this can easily be chalked up to the Warhawk’s lack of offensive prowess; the team had no sense of urgency during the shot-clock violation, and clearly didn’t know what was going on, for example. That said, the defense did a good job of not giving up easy passing lanes, unlike against Notre Dame.
As the subs started to work out the kinks, the scoring began to pick up again. Amadeo Della Valle put down an open three, immediately followed by a layup on a cherry-picked fast break opportunity. That was then followed by a fast break that put Marc Loving on the charity stripe. Ultimately, those two were able to combine for 10 points before the ten minute mark of the first half. That kind of bench scoring can make a big difference in conference play.
Eventually the shooting cooled for the Buckeyes. At the same time, the Warhawks began to find a little success on offense. Where OSU was shooting near 80% to open the game, they began to find themselves struggling to sink a basket for several minutes of the middle of the first half. This allowed ULM to close the enormous gap on the scoreboard a little. However, a three-pointer from Della Valle seemed to take the lid off the basket. High energy play from Lenzelle Smith also helped make the difference.
The #3 Ohio State Buckeyes continue to win, somehow, and after a furious last-second comeback win over Notre Dame are now 12-0 on the season. Next up for the Buckeyes; a home game on Friday December 27th against the University of Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks (3-4). The game tips off at 7:00 PM EST.
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The #3 Ohio State Buckeyes (10-0) continue action in the Gotham Classic on Wednesday evening by hosting the University of Delaware (UDel) Fightin’ Blue Hens. The Blue Hens enter the game at 5-5 losing to North Dakota State University as part of the Gotham Classic, 85-66. After this game, Ohio State will go to NYC to face Notre Dame to wrap up the Gotham Classic for an evening game on Saturday, December 21st
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School: University of Delaware
The Buckeyes took on their next opponent in the Gotham Classic this evening, the surprisingly dangerous North Dakota State Bison. Coming off a win at Notre Dame, the Bison were hoping to pick up another high quality win against the Buckeyes. The Buckeyes, however, weren’t having any of that, picking up a dominating 79-62 win. Four Buckeyes ended up in double figures: LaQuinton Ross with 18, Lenzelle Smith Jr. with 18, and Sam Thompson and Marc Loving off the bench with 12 a piece. NDSU responded with 21 from Taylor Braun, 12 from Marshall Bjorklund, and 10 from Lawrence Alexander.
The game began with both sides trying to show off their long range sniping game. Lenzelle Smith starting things off by sinking the first three of the game, eventually following it up with a second after a third by Laquinton Ross. NDSU struggled to maintain control of the rock inside the paint, committing several costly traveling fouls. They then responded by shooting from deep, picking up a single triple to get on the board three minutes after the start of the game.
The OSU shooting started from range due to the NDSU defensive strategy. The Bison used a 2-3 zone, or an usual looking box-and-1, to try to keep the Buckeyes from utilizing Amir Williams inside. After getting killed from long range through the first four minutes, they quickly shifted to a help-side man defense look. The change allowed them to continue to suppress Amir Williams inside, but kept OSU from getting the easy open outside looks.
The pace began to pick up as the Buckeyes defense started to kick up the intensity. For a short period, OSU looked like they were going to run away with the game, scoring another Slam Thompson entry pass ally-oop, and a sweet Lenzelle Smith fast break layup assisted by Aaron Craft. However, NDSU rose to the challenge and sank a three to cut the lead to five. The Bison cranked up their own defensive energy to counter the Buckeyes and began to force a few turnovers from the typically stingy OSU guards.
Thad Matta chose to operate with a linechange coming out of the after-12 timeout. Running with Scott, Della Valle, Thompson, Loving, and McDonald, the Buckeyes continued to maintain the intensity, but struggled to find scoring. Defense with that lineup seemed to struggle a little as well, but was by no mean poor. During the run, NDSU attempted to regain control of the pace of the game, a task in which they eventually succeeded. Rather than rushing their offense, they paced themselves and took what was available.
The #3 Ohio State Buckeyes (9-0) continue action in the Gotham Classic on Saturday evening by hosting the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Bison, winners 73-69 over Notre Dame on Wednesday. North Dakota State enters Saturday’s contest with a record of 7-3 and sporting a 5 game winning streak. After this game, Ohio State will host Delaware on December 18th, then go to NYC to face Notre Dame for an evening game on Saturday, December 21st.
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School: North Dakota State University
Location: Fargo, ND
Student Population: 12,332
School Type: Public, coed
Conference: Summit League
Arena: Chace Bison Sports Arena
Head Coach: Saul Phillips
Ohio State gets back into action after taking care of the North Florida Ospreys last Friday, 99-64. The #5 Buckeyes (5-0) host the Maryland Terrapins in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Terrapins (5-2) are riding a 4-game winning streak. As an aside, the Ohio State and Maryland women’s basketball teams are also playing tonight at 7:00 PM in College Park, MD. If you want to catch OSU-Maryland basketball, tonight is the night for you.
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School: University of Maryland
Location: College Park, MD
Student Population: 26,487
School Type: Public, coed
Conference: ACC (for now)
Arena: Comcast Center
Head Coach: Mark Turgeon
The last time the Bucks played the Cowboys was in 1995, which resulted in a 72-65 loss on a “neutral” court in Wyoming. This time around, things turned out a little differently as the Buckeyes found their game in the last ten minutes to secure the 65-50 victory. Lenzelle Smith Jr. led all scorers with 20 points, including 5-8 shooting the three, and 8 rebounds. Amir Williams joined him in double digits with 12 points, and earned his second double double with 16 rebounds, while Aaron Craft scored 10. Larry Nance Jr. scored 17 to lead his team, and was the only Cowboy to score double digits.
The game started with high energy play from both teams. Wyoming demonstrated good patience in attacking the Buckeye defense. Repeatedly they found gaping holes in the defense, giving them uncontested paths to an easy layup. They also had no trouble finding open looks at the basket. Considering OSU was still playing a high energy defense, it was an impressive start.
Unfortunately for the Cowboys, they walked straight into a hot shooting OSU team. Shannon Scott and Lenzelle Smith both launched buckets from beyond the arc and hit their first three straight. Amir Williams also started particularly well down low. Williams scooped up two offensive rebounds and managed to put them both back for points.
After the first four minutes, the teams settled into play a little and began to methodically probe each other’s defenses. Wyoming’s guards turned out to be the winners here, effectively drawing the defense and taking advantage of the pass to find easy looks. The Buckeyes began to struggle to find good looks at the basket at the same time, giving Wyoming the perfect opportunity to close the gap on the scoreboard.
Thad Matta wasn’t going to simply let Wyoming have their way with his defense. A quick adjustment was all that was necessary to head the Cowboys off at the pass. The next time Wyoming ran their play to open up the OSU defense for the dribble drive, Aaron Craft rotated under the basket to be in position to defend it. Other adjustments helped to shut down the Wyoming offense while the Buckeyes went on a 8-2 run, opening up a double digit lead.
The 2013-2014 basketball season is under way and our Ohio State Buckeyes are sitting at 3-0 after riding a very good 2nd half to defeat host Marquette University. Now, the #8 Buckeyes host the American University Eagles out of the Patriot League this coming Wednesday. Saturday it was The Golden Eagles, on Wednesday it will just be the Eagles. Feasting on raptors…
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School: American University
Location: Washington, DC
Student Population: 7,299
School Type: Private
Conference: Patriot Conference
Arena: Bender Arena
Head Coach: Mike Brennan