(Photo courtesy Ohio State Athletic Department. Game information courtesy OhioStateBuckeyes.com, ESPN.com)
The Chris Holtmann Era has begun in Columbus. There is a good bit of “newness” to this team. The coach, and his staff are new. The team, although providing a comfort level of proven returning players, still has a newness with younger players and perhaps a new approach to basketball for Ohio State..
Ohio State began quickly, thanks to C.J. Jackson and quickly pulled away for a 95-64 win over the visiting Robert Morris Colonials on Friday evening. C.J. Jackson got things off to a quick start for the Buckeyes with a blocked shot, a defensive rebound and the ensuing layup to give the Buckeyes a 2-0 lead. All this occurred in a bit over a minute of play. At that point, C.J. turned the keys over to KBD, freshman Musa Jallow and the Brothers Wesson (Andre and Kaleb) to run through the first half.
The Buckeyes had four players score in double digits; Kieta Bates-Diop (19 points), Kam Williams (16), Kaleb Wesson (13 points) and Musa Jallow (11). Kieta (KBD) led the team in rebounds with 11. Jae’Sean Tate had 8 rebounds and Kaleb Wesson pulled in 7 rebounds.
The Colonials had two double-digit scorers; Koby Thomas with 22 points and Matty McConnell with 19 points. Thomas led Robert Morris in rebounding with 6 rebounds.
Ohio State shot over 59% from the field (40-67) but only 28% from 3-point range (5-18) and a pretty dismal 63% from the foul line (10-16).
Robert Morris shot 35% from the field (23-65), 40% from 3-point range (10-25) and an enviable 80% (8-10) from the foul line.
Thoughts and opinions…
- First things first; it’s good to have Kieta Bates-Diop back in the lineup. The 6’7″ forward is a tough match-up. His length make him a load for shorter defenders and his quickness is a challenge for bigger defenders.
- Kam Williams had a satisfyingly good game. He was very efficient scoring and picked up a steal along with a couple rebounds.
- I thought that Ohio State was very aggressive in this game, particularly with their inside game. First, they gathered 51 total rebounds, 16 of them offensive rebounds. Last year they averaged 10 offensive rebounds per game. It’s a pretty small current data point, one game, but it is a good start.
- The second component to this “man-ball” approach was their inside scoring. Of Ohio State’s 95 points, according to my count 66 of them were scored “in the paint; generally a result of an offensive rebound or a breakaway off an opponent turnover.
- The Brothers Wesson could prove to be an interesting lineup mix-n-match for Coach Holtmann. They provide size, athleticism and a good feel for the game.
- I like the addition of Andrew Dakich, late of UM, to this team. His stat line was serviceable with 3 rebounds and 5 assists. I think the ‘assists’ are a key stat with Dakich; as a graduate transfer, he has plenty of experience and, really, a lifetime of basketball tutoring.
- Jae’Sean had an up-and-down game. He veered from uncharacteristically bad (no offensive rebounds, six turnovers) to what-we-expect good (3 assists, 3 steals). Far from his best game, but he still made nice contributions to the overall effort.
- Speaking of ‘turnovers; Ohio State had 19 of them last night. That’s pretty bad. Fortunately, that shortcoming was offset by Robert Morris’ 18 turnovers. Time to get the opening game ‘jitters’ behind us.
The Buckeyes host Radford on Sunday. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:30 pm EST. The game can be seen on BTNplus and/or you can listen to it on 97.1.