The Buckeyes take the court tonight in hopes of improving to 4-0 on the season. In the second matchup of the Buckeye Classic, the Bucks square off against the Campbell Fighting Camels. The Camels are 1-2 on the year and are coming off of a tough loss to the Colgate Raiders on Saturday.
The last time the Bucks entered Value City Arena they dispatched Sacred Heart to the tune of a 106-48 drubbing. D'Angelo Russell led the team in scoring, notching 32 points on 12-21 shooting. Shannon Scott continued his excellent ball distribution with a school record 16 assists. Scott has had a strong command of the offense thus far this season and is averaging an astonishing 13.7 assist per game.
One of the bigger stories of the game was the fact that six members of the team scored in the double figures. Three of those six were true freshman in D'Angelo Russell, Keita Bates-Diop, and Jae'Sean Tate. With Russell leading the way, the Buckeyes were able to get off to a quick start offensively, involving every player receiving minutes in the game. This offensively dynamic performance resulted in the Buckeyes dominating the entire game and moving on to 3-0.
While Russell has been the only consistent starter in the freshman class, many of the freshman have been able to make a strong impact off the bench thus far this season. Tate and Bates-Diop have been able to provide fresh legs, high energy, and offensive production for the Buckeyes this year off the bench.
Campbell had a forgettable 12-20 season last year, finishing on a 6 game losing streak. However, the Camels look to improve this year and make some noise in the Big South. They got off to a hot start this year by beating Barber-Scotia 97-58, but the Camels have struggled since their initial success. They were manhandled by Davidson in their second game of the season and then dropped a close one to Colgate.
With the Camels struggling thus far in the season, the Buckeyes shouldn't experience much difficulty with continuing their undefeated campaign. Their high-level offensive output should continue tonight and the Bucks should be able to focus on Thanksgiving turkey and the James Madison Dukes this Friday.
Numbers to know
Although its early in the season, Shannon Scott is averaging an eye-popping 13.7 assists per game. Scott has shown that he has had a solid handle and command of the offense in previous years, however he only averaged 3.4 assists last season. This outbreak of dimes in Scott's game is partially a result of his assumption of the point guard duties in lieu of the absent Aaron Craft. However, it seems as though Scott may have turned a corner and asserted himself as a true point guard, capable of distributing the ball effectively and getting everyone involved in the offense. Behind Scott's brilliance, the Buckeyes are 4th in the country in assists per game.
The Fighting Camels are shooting a paltry 23.6% from behind the arc this year. If Campbell wants to have any sort of shot at keeping this game close tonight, they are going to need to shoot more effectively from 3. In stark contract to Campbell, the Buckeyes are shooting a lights-out 45% from 3. Marc Loving in particular is 6-10 from behind the arc thus far this season. If the Camels cannot keep up with the Buckeyes onslaught of threes, the game could get out of hand early.
Ohio State will only be the 5th ranked team Campbell has played during the past 10 regular seasons. Dating back to the 2004-2005 season, Campbell has only played Kentucky, NC State, Cincinnati, and Gonzaga as ranked opponents. Further, they lost handily to each team by double digits. Simply put, the types of opponents Campbell is used to are well inferior to this year's Ohio State Buckeye Basketball team.
Cast of Characters
Coming off of a brilliant 32 point performance against Sacred Heart, Russell looks to continue to be the go to scorer for the Buckeyes. Russell has proven that he has the type of skill and offensive prowess to do what he pleases on the court. Particularly against an opponent such as Campbell, look for Russell to fill the stat sheet up tonight. Russell was one rebound away from a double-double against Sacred Heart and will be primed to take another shot at those honors tonight. While it is still quite early in the season, Russell has lived up to the preseason hype and displayed exactly why he is considered an early flight risk to the NBA.
How great are Sam Thompson alley oops? We were graced with a couple of those against Sacred Heart in vintage "Slam" Thompson fashion. Given the opponent tonight, Thompson is likely to be found flying above the rim for a few more Schott shaking throw downs. Thompson is easily one of the most athletic players in the Big Ten and will likely continue to flash his freakish athleticism as the season continues. Dunks aside, Thompson's shot has been falling with comfortable regularity throughout this young season. Thompson is shooting a red hot 66.7% from the field and will likely play another major offensive role in this matchup with Campbell.
Hamer is currently a sophomore guard with the Fighting Camels and leads the team with 39.0 minutes per game. While he is second on the team with 14.0 points per game, Hamer leads the team with 8.0 rebounds per game and 2.5 steals per game. Hamer lead the team with 12 points in their loss to Colgate on Friday and looks to assert himself offensively tonight against the Buckeyes. Having seen his minutes and usage dramatically increase from his freshman year, Hamer has become one of the leaders of this Campbell team and the Buckeye backcourt will have to shut him down.
D.J. Mason is a junior forward with the Fighting Camels and leads the team in scoring with 15.3 points per game. Mason is the focal point of the Camel offense. He takes the most shots and the offense tends to run through him. The Camel starting guards, Quinton Ray and Kyre' Hamer, look for Mason out on the wing and in the low block. Standing 6'6', Mason has decent size at the 3 or stretch 4 position. Aside from scoring, Mason is a capable rebounder and shot blocker. The Buckeyes are going to have to focus much of their defensive effort towards stopping Mason tonight in order to seal up a victory.