Th Ohio State Buckeyes moved to 5-0 on the season Wednesday night, after a 78-47 home win against Jackson State.
Ohio State’s offense was started early by the passing of JaQuan Lyle and finishing ability at the rim of Jae’Sean Tate. After the first television timeout, the Buckeyes led 7-5, in what was somewhat of a slow start for both teams.
Outside of the timeout, Jackson State came out to tied the game at 9-9, and then thanks to three pointers by Edric Dennis and Paris Collins, took a 15-9 lead. The Buckeyes punched back, with a jumper and a three-pointer from Kam Williams. Another three by Andre Wesson made it an 8-0 run for the Buckeyes at the halfway point in the first half.
The triples kept falling for the Buckeyes. Lyle was able to find the bottom of the net on one, and Kam Williams had yet another, giving him 10 points in 11 minutes of play. The Buckeyes were on a 14-0 run, that was then broken by a Collins three, making it a 23-18 game.
After another basket by Collins, the Buckeyes opened up another big run. It started with a Marc Loving jumper, and from there, plenty of Bucks got involved. Tate hit a free throw, C.J. Jackson had a pair of free throws, Williams made yet another jumper, and Trevor Thompson scored six straight points, two were alley-oops from Lyle. It was a 38-20 lead, before a Collins free throw stopped the Ohio State 15-0 run.
The Buckeyes went into the half, up 40-23.
Jackson State came out shooting in the second half, but Ohio State kept doing just enough to keep them at a distance, despite missing six consecutive field goals at one point within the first five minutes.
The confidence built by the Buckeyes in the first half was great, and they hadn’t displayed quite the same fire during the second half. Jackson State kept hovering around 12-13 points behind, while the rest of us were waiting for Thad Matta’s team to put them away. Coming out of a timeout on the broadcast, you could see Matta digging into his team, knowing they were better than the early second half display.
Whatever Matta told his team, it worked. Ohio State went on a 13-0 run, and were quickly up 60-35. JaQuan Lyle secured a double-double with a pair of free throws with just under nine minutes to go in the game, and the Bucks were looking and feeling good.
It was after this point that Thad Matta pulled Lyle, Tate, and Thompson and let Micah Potter, Loving, Jackson, Williams, and Wesson work before David Bell and Joey Lane finished it out.
3 things we learned
1. JaQuan Lyle’s passing is one of the Bucks’ biggest weapons. We’re not talking in generalities here, that’s he’s a good passer like a lot of other point guards out there. His court vision was on display early, when he found Jae’Sean Tate twice underneath the basket, and made a pair of very sharp, crisp passes that resulted in baskets both times. Even when the basket might not be made, the impact is still there. In the latter part of the first half, Lyle found Micah Potter, who drew the foul in the restricted area.
When Lyle’s not getting a great start shooting the ball, it’s a good thing if he’s still making great passes, because it’s almost as good as a basket. He’s able to find guys in spots that other guards in the country can’t do, and that’s valuable. Guys like Lyle feed off of that, and eventually he’ll find his offense if it isn’t there. That is even more true when guys like Tate are benefitting greatly from his passing. Tonight was a good example of that.
2. When Kam Williams is scoring, things are good. You might be saying to yourself, “well duh, this goes for anybody.” This Buckeyes team has a different build. When he gets hot, it’s unlike anybody else when it comes to the Buckeyes offense, and it can carry them in bad stretches like it did last season, or it can lead them in good stretches like it did in the first half Wednesday night after a rather slow start. When Ohio State was trying to put the Tigers away, Kam Williams came up with a three pointer to put them up 15, and helped the Buckeyes find that second wind.
Games like tonight when Williams is getting his, and Lyle is passing the ball extremely well and effectively, that’s a pretty good recipe for the Buckeyes offense. That’s going to come and go during the season, but when it’s happening, we see big wins like the one last season against Kentucky. However, as noted in the latest Hangout in the Holyland, don’t make too much of the highest highs, and lowest lows quite yet.
3. Jae’Sean Tate is a lot of dang fun. Tonight was a prime example of Tate being a national treasure. He didn’t put up huge numbers like a lot of star players around the country do, but Tate does everything Ohio State needs him to do. He came into the game leading the Buckeyes in points per game, and second in rebounds per game, and it’s not a surprise at all.
The one stat that isn’t kept in the box score, is confidence and leadership. Tate’s clearly the emotional leader on the team, and when he started getting going early, it rubbed off on everybody else. Lyle enjoyed feeding him, Williams, and Thompson as the Buckeyes were stretching their lead in the first half, and that stuck with him the rest of the game. This Ohio State team might not be the most talented Thad Matta has had in Columbus, but Tate is certainly one good Buckeye.