(Image courtesy ohiostatebuckeyes.com, game information courtesy sports.yahoo.com, ohiostatebuckeyes.com, ESPN.com, stats courtesy of teamrankings.com) 

The #5 Ohio State Buckeyes (10-1, 1-1) hoped to rebound after Minnesota took them to the Barn woodshed Sunday evening. They did so, with an 80-38 victory over Southeast Missouri State (3-8).

The Buckeyes started the game looking like they were still hungover from the Minnesota debacle. By the midpoint of the first half, they trailed 12-13. They had turned the ball over 11 times. In 10 minutes. Their shooting was good, 5-8, but when your turnovers are 2X your made FG, your offense is pretty dysfunctional at that point. 

Fortunately, Ohio State was less generous with the ball in the remaining ten minutes with only two turnovers, went 9-14 from the field and took a 36-25 lead by halftime. 

Not much to report for the 2nd half. The Buckeyes ode hot shooting (55% from the field, 50% from 3-pt) to stretch the lead to 27, 59-32, by the midpoint mark.  They cruised home in the final ten minutes by outscoring the Redhawks 21-16 to wrap up the final at 80-48. 

This game had an odd feel to it. In a lot of ways, once we get past the initial ten minutes, it resembled Sunday’s game against Minnesota, with Ohio State playing the role of Minnesota on Tuesday. The Buckeyes were very aggressive rebounding and once the shots started to fall, had a lot of confidence in their offense. The torrid outside shooting was complemented by impressive ball movement and “looking for the open man” style of play. The Buckeyes were actually playing basketball and enjoying themselves.

The Buckeyes had four players in double figures, paced by Kaleb Wesson’s 18 points. Andre Wesson had 14, while Kyle Young and D. J. Carton had 10 each.  Nine of the twelve players scored for Ohio State. Kaleb earned a double-double with a game high 10 rebounds and CJ Walker had a game high 6 assists. Kyle, with 9 rebounds, was one short of his double-double. Wouldn’t that have been something? 

The Redhawks had two players in double figures. DQ Nicholas and Isiah Gamble each had 10 points. Sage Tolbert had 6 rebounds and Quatarrius Evans 2 assists. 

Ohio State shot 59% from the field (30-51), 48% (13-27) from 3-point range and 58% (7-12) from the foul line.  

Southeast Missouri State shot 27% (16-60) from the field, 21% (4-19) from 3-point range and 86% (12-14) from the foul line. 

You’ll notice that SEMS had ~20% more FG attempts than Ohio State. Turnovers have that effect.

What Went Right

Damned near everything. The offense was efficient and balanced. Fifteen of OSU’s 31 field goals were assisted. Ohio State had four players in double figures but everyone who played, but for one player, Alonzo Gaffney, scored. Alonzo had no FG nor FT shots in his playing time, so that’s understandable.  Scroll through the box score, below, you see how it happened. The six players who scored in single digits accounted for 36 points, 6 points apiece. 

Bench play was again solid. This number is skewed quite a bit due to Andre Wesson’s performance, but still…  In 71 minutes of game time, the non-starters accounted for 32 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists. Bench play was sparse against Penn State since the Buckeyes didn’t really put this game away until the last 5-6 minutes or so.

Team defense continues to be stellar. Despite giving up 74 points to PSU, Ohio State is now #3 in the country in scoring defense, allowing 54.7 PPG. Last season, they allowed 66.2 PPG. Granted, the schedule gets tougher, for them, but it gets tougher for everyone.   

They won, again. That always counts for something.

What Didn’t

Turnovers, oh my god, the turnovers. SEMS’s on-ball defense caused OSU to turn the ball over  season high 21 times, 13 in the first half. Fortunately, SEMS refused to convert these to points scoring only 3 points off turnovers.  Ohio State needs to clean this nonsense up in a hurry before Saturday’s game against Kentucky. SEMS may have given the Wildcats a template to use…

The 58% (7-12) free throw shooting is terrible. They were 2-6 in the first half. Two of OSU’s four first half misses were front ends of 1-and-1 opportunities. It’s okay to leave points on the floor when you end up winning by 32, but as mentioned in third point, below, the fun times are over.

Box Scores

Southeast Missouri State box score:

sems_boxscore

 

Ohio State box score:

osu_boxscore

 

Other…

  • It was pretty clear that Ohio State ran heir offense through CJ Walker and Kaleb Wesson. CJ had six assists while Kaleb had two. Unfortunately, both players had five turnovers.
  • Now that the easy non-con schedule is complete, we have a limited data set, but through this point in the season according to teamrankings.com  Ohio State continues to lead the nation in average scoring margin at 23.2 ppg. They finished last season with a margin of 2.9 ppg, so clearly this is not last year’s team.
  • At this point, the season gets a lot tougher for Ohio State. Their two remaining non-con games are this Saturday against #6 Kentucky (in Las Vegas) and on December 29th in Cleveland against Bobby Huggins and his currently #25 West Virginia Mountaineers. Flip the calendar into January and Big Ten play begins. Then we’ll see how good this team really is.

 

Up Next

The Buckeyes travel Las Vegas this weekend for the CBS Sports Classic. Their opponent is the #6 Kentucky Wildcats. Tip-off is 5:15 pm ET on Saturday, December 21st at T-Mobile Arena. You can watch the game on CBS, obviously, or listen to it on TuneIn. Or both.