This past Tuesday, the 20th of November in Columbus, the young and talented Ohio State University Men’s basketball team trailed for the first at the half against an undefeated Samford Bulldogs of the Southern Conference – which includes teams such as Chattanooga, Mercer, Citadel, and VMI. The Buckeyes at this point were shooting a meager 37.5 % from the field.
Chris Holtmann’s message to his team was “Don’t flinch – play your game!”
Those words provided the needed inspiration, as Kaleb Wesson scored 17 points and Keyshawn Woods added 14 to help the 23rd ranked Buckeyes hung tough and out-powered a scrappy Samford 68-50 on. It would be the Buckeye’s fifth straight victory to begin the season – marking them into the 5-0 category.
Ohio State seemed to be a tad out of sync from the beginning. Coach Holtmann, perhaps with no other option, benched four starters for being late to ”game-day preparation,” according to the school. Samford shot 50 percent in the first half and led 32-29 at the break.
Momentum shifted with 16:27 remaining, when C.J. Jackson dove into the stands to save a ball heading out of bounds. It began a feed-off from Luther Muhammad to Keyshawn Woods that ended with Andre Wesson hitting a 3-pointer (looking pretty!).
The play seemed to spark Ohio State (5-0), which went on a 21-3 run that sealed the victory. The Buckeyes shot 50 percent from the field in the second half to 24 percent for Samford (5-1).
”I think it was a momentum play, for sure,” Holtmann said. ”It was a fantastic series of saves by (Jackson) and Luther, and Key was somehow involved. I had my eyes shut for most of it. It was a fantastic hustle play that I think was critical. It fired up our crowd.”
Junior guard Myron Gordon led the way for the Bulldogs, shooting 6 for 8 in the first half and finishing with 18 points.
A BIGGER VIEW:
Ohio State came in ranked for the first time this season but had to fight hard for this one. An underestimation (who knows) of the Bulldogs started from the beginning with the early benching of the “late-bloomers” for the Buckeyes.
Both teams had to make do without much from their leading scorers. Jackson, who averages 12.8 points per game, shot 2 for 11 and finished with eight points. Samford center Ruben Guerrero averages 17 points but had just two against Ohio State.
”There is so much social media. If I get 15 points tonight the whole world is going to know on social media and I am going to get 2,500 likes and all this stuff. Because of that, kids care about it more now,” Padgett said. ”They want to get that attention through social media. Now, all of a sudden, it’s a little harder to get them to care about the name on the front, not the name on the back.”
Yes Indeed! Coach. Just another world, isn’t it?
SOME NECESSARY INFORMATION:
Ohio State signed three Top 50 recruits Tuesday, as Alonzo Gaffney, E.J. Liddell and D.J. Carton all inked national letters of intent. … Ohio State is 19-1 vs. the teams that currently make up the Southern Conference. … The Bulldogs have lost seven of their last nine road games. … Samford is off to its best start since the 1996-97 season.
The Buckeyes: Looks to extend its season-opening win streak to six games at sold-out St. John Arena on Friday night against Cleveland State, which lost at home to Samford by 13 points Sunday.