(Image courtesy ohiostatebuckeyes.com, game information courtesy ohiostatebuckeyes.com, ESPN.com, stats courtesy of teamrankings.com)
Ohio State moved to 6-0 this season with an 89-62 win over the Cleveland State Vikings (2-4). Although the Buckeyes took a 2-0 lead on their 2nd possession and never trailed in the game, they couldn’t sustain much separation from the Vikings and went into the break leading 38-29. Part of this was driven by CSU determination to rebound their missed shots. The Vikings had 10 offensive rebounds in the half which lead to 10 second chance points.
Ohio State opened things up in the 2nd half to outscore Cleveland State 51-33. C.J. Jackson opened the scoring with a field goal 10 seconds into the half to give OSU a 40-29 lead. By the 14:06 ark, Ohio State had further outscored their opponent to take 56-36 lead, which made the rest of the game an exercise in “by how many points” regarding the outcome. During this stretch, the Buckeyes were 7-9 from the field and 2-2 on a fouled put-back attempt. Coach Holtmann tried to season his reserves – his non-starters played 48 of 100 game minutes in the 2nd half.
The Buckeyes had four players in double figures. They were led by Kaleb Wesson (19 points), C.J. Jackson (17), Andre Wesson (11) and Luther Mohammed (10). Kaleb pulled in a team high 6 rebounds and, along with C.J., had team high 3 assists.
The Vikings were led by Stefan Kenic (13) and Seth Millner (10). Algevon Eichelberger pulled in a game high 9 rebounds and Tyree Appleby a team high 4 assists.
Ohio State shot 53% from the field (34-64), 37% (7-19) from 3-point range and 74% from the foul line (14-19).
Cleveland State shot 35% from the field (21-60), 29% from 3-point range (6-21) and 78% (14-18) from the foul line.
What Went Right
Ohio State turned in yet another very solid defensive performance. Their defense was very active and overall, well positioned. The Buckeyes created 18 turnovers and had 11 steals and blocked 3 shots. The Vikings were held to 35% shooting for the game. The Buckeyes continue to be tough to score upon. They currently are #7 in the nation in FG defense – allowing 35.5% made field goals.
Staying with “shooting”, Ohio State’s freshmen were 8-19 (42%) from the field.
Again, not a hell of a lot to complain about. Yet complain I will. Ohio State’s offensive rebounding actually is getting worse. At 7.3 offensive rebounds per game, they rank #259, of 353 teams in offensive rebounds per game. In contrast, the national leading Duke Blue Devils average 14.8 per game. Duke is rebounding 42% of their misses. Ohio State is rebounding 28% of theirs. Although I am happy with their defensive effort, their rebounding effort is pretty poor.
Still some work to be done.
- Maybe Kaleb Wesson is starting to find his offensive rhythm. After scoring in double digits in one of the first three games, Kaleb has averaged 19 points over his last three games.
- Ohio State’s defensive performance continues to be a strength. They are holding opponents to 58.3 points per game and 35% shooting.
- According to teamrankings.com the Buckeyes are projected to finish the regular season 23-8 and 12-8 in B1G play. They rank Ohio State as the 17th best team in the country and #6 in the B1G. Their chance to make the NCAA’s is 81%. Granted, this is a “way too soon”, but it is fun to follow.
The Buckeyes host the Syracuse “Fightin’ Boeiheims” Wednesday evening. The game is set to tip-off at 7:15 pm ET. You can watch the game on ESPN2 or listen to it on 97.1 The Fan. Or both.
These Orangemen (3-2) are averaging 74 points per game while allowing 65 ppg. They average 42 rebounds and 12 turnovers per game. For comparison, the Buckeyes are scoring 81 and allowing 58 points per game. Ohio State averages 37 rebounds and 13 turnovers per game.
Syracuse has three players that average double figures scoring per game. They are Tyus Battle (17.6), Elijah Hughes (14.8) and Oshae Brissett (14.8). Brissett leads the team averaging 8.2 rebounds per game and Battle leads with 2.2 assists per game.
Syracuse is tall and “long”; all the better to play their trademark 2-3 zone. To shift the zone out of position, the Buckeyes need to be crisp and quick with their passing. They also need to maintain their highly rated Effective Field Goal % of 58.5%.