In their first-ever matchup with Sacred Heart, Ohio State dominated from start to finish. Amir Williams sat out with a sore knee, allowing Trey McDonald and Anthony Lee to log extra minutes down low. D'Angelo Russell continued to show off his offensive skills, pacing the Buckeye scoring with 32 points.
Shannon Scott continues his ridiculous assist pace, breaking the single-game assist record set by Aaron Craft with 16 assists. The Buckeyes were solidly in control of this game from the first whistle, capitalizing on sloppy play, quick fouls and turnovers from their opponent and giving their young unit valuable game experience. Oh, and Sam Thompson did his thing.
3 things we learned:
1. The Buckeye offense continues to push hard and fast. Gone are the days when Ohio State would wander down the court to set up an anemic half-court offense. Each defensive rebounded was followed tonight with a fast push with Scott, Russell or Thompson slashing to the basket. Even when the fast break didn't pan out, Ohio State's ball movement was crisp, quick and smart, making the extra pass to the open shooter.
Shannon Scott continues to look every bit the leader, guiding the offense, pacing the Buckeyes in assists, and finding the hot hand all night. He broke Aaron Craft's single-game assist record of 15, with 16 of his own.
D'Angelo Russell and Marc Loving in particular played great tonight, spacing well and taking smart shots from behind the arc when available. Russell was on fire, looking composed and patient, never forcing the issue on offense, waiting for the pass or driving the lane when the opportunity presented itself. Loving ran hot and cold last year, but its encouraging to see him playing so well in Thad Matta's system this year.
2. Anthony Lee doesn't look like a starter yet. Anthony Lee stepped into the starting lineup for Amir Williams tonight but failed to play the part. Lee was pulled early in the first half for Trey McDonald, though he returned mid-way through. Lee logged just 6 points and 4 rebounds, in a game where he should have put up great stats. Trey McDonald had 8 points and 13 rebounds, taking full advantage of the additional playing time created by Amir Williams's absence.
To Lee's credit, he started the second half much stronger, receiving two passes down low and dunking it home. That alone is an improvement over Amir Williams, who has a tendency to look confused when he gets the ball.
3. The zone remains strong. Ohio State continues its trend of using a 3-2 zone defense. The zone looked mostly tight, forcing Sacred Heart to take shots from long range and helping young Buckeyes (and Trey McDonald) run a cohesive defensive scheme. The Pioneers didn't have the shooting skills to put up numbers from behind the line, but we'll see how this holds up against better shooting, more physical teams.
There were a couple leaks in the zone when a Pioneer drove the lane, but our big man was there to guard the hoop. Even if these Buckeyes learn how to play man, this zone looks good to me, and it will be a nice wrinkle against teams deep in the season.