The Buckeyes took on their first true test of the season at home against the Marquette Golden Eagles. While the first half remained close due to turnovers, the Bucks were able to overwhelm Marquette offensively and improve to 2-0 on the season.
Kam Williams and Marc Loving were able to shine offensively and put pressure on the Golden Eagles early. Williams particularly appeared as though he couldn't miss during stretches of the game. Shannon Scott was able to effectively see the floor and command the offense. Finishing with double-figure assists, Scott helped to take over the game in the second half and lead the Bucks to victory.
In the end, the offensive clinic the Buckeyes put on in Columbus was too much for Marquette to handle. Although they struggled in certain phases of the game, the Buckeyes roundly dominated the matchup and ran away with the game in the second half.
3 things we learned:
1. This Buckeye team is going to be able to shoot the ball and score with regularity. Last year's Buckeye team absolutely struggled to find points throughout the season. They particularly struggled shooting the ball from mid range and from behind the arc.
To begin the game, the Bucks started 6-7 from behind the arc and 10-14 from the field. Both D'Angelo Russell and Kam Williams were able to flex their jumper prowess by burying a number of contested jumpers.
While it has only been two games, it doesn't seem like this team will struggle shooting the ball. With the addition of pure shooters like Russell and Kam Williams and the apparent improvement from Sam Thompson, this team is going to be able to fill up the stat sheet.
2. Turnovers could prove to be a problem as the younger players develop. Specifically in the first half, a number of players for the Bucks struggled hanging onto the ball. Whether it was dribbling into traffic or throwing errant passes, turnovers were a problem throughout the game. Russell struggled significantly with maintaining possession.
Additionally, some of Ohio State's elder statesmen made mistakes with the ball. Even the likes of Sam Thompson and Shannon Scott found themselves in turnover trouble early on in the matchup. The Bucks gave the ball away 13 times in the first half alone. Simply put, thats inexcusable.
Although the Bucks led by 7 at the half, that lead could have been much more significant if they had been able to reduce their number of turnovers. Ball security and maintaining possession is something Thad will need to harp on in the weeks to come.
3. The Buckeyes were on the wrong side of the foul differential throughout the game. The Bucks were unable to draw many fouls and yet they had many fouls called against them. This came to the focus in the second half when the Golden Eagles were in the bonus early.
No one on the entire roster shot a free throw the first half. This could be the result of the number of jumpers the Bucks took and made. However, they are going to need to do a better job attacking the rim and drawing fouls.
On the defensive end, the high number of fouls seemed to come as a result of the zone defense. Late rotations, being out of position, and over reaching put many players in bad spots and resulted in foul calls.