The Buckeyes continue to find scoring from different places, and tonight was Kam Williams's turn. Williams had 23 points, including 12 from downtown and looked downright deadly. D'Angelo Russell had another solid night, notching 18 points of his own, and Shannon Scott returned to his facilitating ways, dishing out 6 assists while scoring in double digits. All told, the Buckeyes had 5 players in double figures and shot just shy of 65%. Just a week after coming up just shy against Louisville, the Buckeyes showed no signs of playing down to lesser competition.
The Buckeyes collectively gathered in 47 total rebounds, and the new look, Syracuse-inspired zone looked strong, holding High Point to under 35% shooting, and smothering High Point in the second half. Ohio State had an inordinate amount of turnovers during a few sloppy minutes, but covered it up with another strong offensive performance.
Three things we learned
1) Offensive rebounds + steals = points
The Buckeyes used their size advantage to dominate the glass tonight, grabbing rebounds on both ends of the court. Particularly reassuring was Ohio State's ability to grab offensive rebounds. At the 10 minute mark, more than half their score after 10 minutes was on second half points. Obviously we can't expect this every week, but the point is that the effort was there tonight to get up, box out, and gather in every possible rebound. Nearly every Buckeye that played tonight had three or more rebounds, with D'Angelo Russell leading the way.
Ever since professional pickpocket Aaron Craft went pro, we've been waiting to see if Ohio State could get back to its sticky-fingered ways. The Buckeyes came up big tonight with 11 steals, turning them into points on most occasions. 45+ rebounds and 10+ steals, for a team shooting over 60%, is a dangerous, dangerous combination.
2) D'Angelo Russell, stat machine.
D'Angelo Russell evidently can do it all. Russell led the Buckeyes tonight in scoring, assists and total rebounds. He also led in turnovers. Russell was highly ranked coming into the season, but I'm not sure anyone expected him to take this large of a role this early in the season. The best part about Russell's production is the the Buckeyes, for once, aren't relying on their hot hand. There's plenty of offensive firepower to go around on this young team, so defenses must keep guessing at who's going to bring the production on any given night.
3) Anthony Lee, we're waiting...
Anthony Lee didn't enter the game until around the 9-minute mark tonight, after Amir Williams was relieved by Trey McDonald. I certainly didn't anticipate Lee being a third-stringer, he was a highly touted transfer and was brought in specifically to bolster the 5-position that was weak last year for the Buckeyes. I'm still waiting for him to make his mark and look like the experienced asset he's supposed to be. If there was ever a night for Lee to bank points, it was tonight against the vertically challenged High Point team. But Lee logged just a handful of minutes in the first half and didn't come back until true garbage time. We're waiting, big man. Your dunk tonight was impressive but you've got to do better.