Evan Ravenel and the Buckeyes moved to 4-0 on the season. - Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE
Ohio State cruised to 4-0 with the utmost of ease.
In a game that was never really close after the opening tip, the Ohio State Buckeyes summarily dismissed the University of Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos, 91-45. Deshaun Thomas led the way with 21 points on 6-for-8 shooting from the field. He also added 8 rebounds. Lenzelle Smith Jr. also contributed 13 points and 6 rebounds in the winning effort. Sophomore backup point guard Shannon Scott had a career day both to spell minutes for star point guard Aaron Craft as well as play in conjunction with Craft in the back court recording his first career double double with 10 points and 10 assists.
UMKC found themselves essentially outmatched from the moment they stepped on the court. At various portions of the game, the Kangroos found themselves down by 45 plus. Estan Tyler led the way for the Roos with 7 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists. Thomas Staton, who's father played basketball for Michigan in the late 70's, also added in 7 points, 2 rebounds, and assist on the evening. Though unofficial, no Kangaroo starter recorded a +/- any better than -15. It was that kind of night for UMKC.
After UMKC missed their first 9 of 10 shots, Ohio State exploded to a huge lead. A 20-3 scoring run in just over 6 minutes had the Buckeyes up 22-8 at the under 12 timeout. While the Roos struggled to find their shooting touch, the Buckeyes had no problem discovering theirs. The Buckeyes were shooting 9-for-15 at a juncture when UMKC found themselves just 3-for-12 from the field. Sophomore big man Amir Williams, who'd struggled with both assertiveness and sure handedness on the defensive glass, looked the polar opposite of the way he appeared on and off during the first three games. Early in the game he had 2 blocks and 4 points, while fellow big man Evan Ravenel also continued to shake off early season cobwebs with an authoritative first half slam and an overall efficient showing.
WIth ten different Buckeyes (including little used big man Trey McDonald and Italian freshman Amedeo Della Valle) seeing time in the first half, Ohio State exploded out to a 53-18 half time lead. Scott had 7 of his 10 assists as well as 7 of his 10 points in the first half alone. The Buckeyes demonstrated excellent ball movement in the first 20 minutes and ended the half on an 18-2 run. If Ohio State is able to reproduce this sort of magic on the gridiron Saturday, I doubt many Buckeyes football fans would object. On the subject of That Team Up North, Thomas wouldn't mince words when asked by the Buckeye press about his feelings on the Buckeyes' mortal rivals :
"I don't like Michigan."
Succinct, but also fitting, given the weekend.
And speaking of the football team, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer appeared at half time to a ruckus reception, perhaps even louder than the crowd had gotten on any number of alley oop plays and forceful first half dunks while the basketball team jumped out to an insurmountable margin. Meyer, who was joined by some of the seniors from this year's team, spoke glowingly of the commitment those seniors had made to stick with the program knowing that they wouldn't have a post season to look forward to an NCAA exemption that would've allowed them to transfer and not have to sit out a season. Though the football Buckeyes sit on the precipice of perfection, I don't think the basketball team would welcome a trade of circumstances regardless of what comes next ofr them given their ceiling for their own respective post season this March.
WIth the crowd energized by the presence of the Buckeyes' football program's leadership, the second half would continue with much of what was seen in the first. The Buckeyes would keep setting new biggest-leads-of-the-season marks over and over for almost the entirety of the second half. Roughly 2-3 minutes into the second half, Ohio State found themselves shooting 68% from the field as a team. Ravenel would continue to match his effort from the Washington game and look like an entirely different player from the ones we saw against Albany and Rhode Island. Lenzelle Smith Jr's third three pointer of the night would expand the lead to 72-28 with 13:25 to play.
Though any notion of a trap game had been dead for going on 20 minutes of basketball time, that didn't stop the Buckeyes from continuing to pad their stats. Forward Sam Thompson would get into the long range act stroking a three point shot and finishing things late with one of his trademark explosive dunks.
Ohio State can't pat themselves on the back too terribly much as Thad Matta and co.'s Buckeyes will next head to Cameron Indoor Arena for a potential top 5 showdown with the Duke Blue Devils Wednesday night. Hosting Ohio State won't be Duke's first rodeo on the season as the Blue Devils have already met and taken down highly regarded defending national champions Kentucky, 75-68, in the Georgia Dome two weeks prior. "We know we've got to get better as a team. We know Duke's a great team," Deshaun Thomas would tell the Big Ten Network after the game. They'll need to if they want 5-0 to be a reality.
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