An early 18-3 run set the tone and the Buckeyes' prospective win was never really in doubt. After taking a 47-18 lead into the locker room at half time, the basketball Buckeyes never let up en route to a dominant win over in-state foe Wright State.
With a lead that hovered around 40 for a decent portion of the second half, the Bucks were able to further practice execution and try different lineup combinations together to get ready for a marked increase in difficulty come Tuesday.
Though OSU fans continue to criticize Buckeye brass for not scheduling more blue blood programs (and tangentially related, not performing their best in the few instances in which they have faced them), Wright State entered this one as the Bucks' fourth best opponent to date per Ken Pomeroy's advanced metrics. The Bucks were on from start to finish however and Marc Loving, D'Angelo Russell, and Shannon Scott paced Thad Matta's corp to a decisive W.
Russell set an Ohio State freshman record for the number of threes made and Amir Williams was in double figures scoring at the half. It was just that kind of night for the Bucks (and conversely, Wright State).
3 things we learned
1. Amir can still dominate the have nots when he wants to. Wright State's more stout of a side than many casual OSU fans are willing to give them credit for, but without a player taller than 6'7, Amir Williams, who seemed more motivated than he did against Miami (OH), replicated some of his better performances from the non-conference portion of this season.
The question remains whether or not Williams can make that same level of effort translate to the challenging rigors of Big Ten conference basketball. Amir might be the second best defensive big in the B1G, but without the consistent level of focus to match, he'll continue to remain in the doghouse of many -- and cap the Buckeyes' ceiling in the process.
2. This Ohio State team lives to share. With four different players in double figures scoring, this team, in a marked contrast to several of the past few OSU men's hoops teams, are able to share the load.
In last season and the year before, it was tough to tell who would be the number two scorer in a negative sense. Now a number of guys can bring it any given night, and there consistently doesn't seem to be the same level of worry about who that guy is these days.
Kam Williams and Russell alike continue to etch their names at or near the top of the freshman scoring/shooting leaders from around the country, and they'll need to continue that if the Bucks want to be in the mix for a potential Big Ten regular season title.
3. Jae'Sean Tate's not invincible. Tate's quickly warmed his way into the hearts of even the most hypercritical OSU basketball aficionados with his relentless effort and lightning-in-a-bottle energy every time he steps on the court.
But Tate left the court looking extremely hobbled and rushed straight to the locker room during the second half of the Bucks' one sided win.
His status remains unknown, but any extended absence will mean one less instant impact guy that can come off the pine for Thad Matta and his staff. Here's hoping whatever ailed him is better by Tuesday's Big Ten conference play opener against Fran McCaffery and Iowa.