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 Buckeyes are facing their last non-conference game of the season. They welcome the Warhawks of UL Monroe (3-4) into the friendly confines of Value City Arena tonight for a 7:00 PM tip.
Come join all of your favorite Buckeye bloggers and friends for our traditional chat! Go Bucks!