Ohio State dusted off the basketball uniforms and then dusted the Walsh Cavaliers at The Schott, winning convincingly, 95-49 in an exhibition contest. William Buford led the Buckeyes with 17 points, four rebounds and five assists in only 21 minutes, including 3-6 beyond the arc. Jared Sullinger (15 points, 6 rebounds), Jordan Sibert (15 points, 4-5 on treys), and J.D. Weatherspoon (13 points) also reached double figures in a game that featured a lot of freshmen and sophomores seeing extended playing time. Joining Buford and Sullinger in the starting lineup were sophomore point guard Aaron Craft (4 points, 4 steals, 3 assists), sophomore forward DeShaun Thomas (7 points, 3 rebounds) and sophomore guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. (6 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists). Smith and junior transfer Evan Ravenel led Ohio State with eight boards apiece.
Buford, who missed a heartbreaking final shot of the 2011 NCAA tournament, hit his first triple on his first shot of 2011-12. The Buckeyes started quickly, breaking a 5-5 tie with a 21-2 run. Walsh made a 10-2 run with the starters on the bench to close within 13, but the starters came back and finished the first half with a 7-0 run, then used a 12-2 spurt after halftime to take complete control. Ryan Burrell and Brad DuPont each scored 13 points to lead the overmatched Cavaliers. Ohio State shot 60.7% for the game and a swarming defense held Walsh to 35% shooting. The Buckeyes hit 47.4% behind the arc and held the Cavs to 36.4% On the glass, Ohio State dominated, 46-22.
The one real problem area for Ohio State was the free-throw line, where the Bucks knocked down just half (12-24) their shots. Only the poor charity-stripe shooting prevented triple digits on the scoreboard. With an 18-13 assist-to-turnover rate, Ohio State took care of the ball for the most part, with freshman Shannon Scott having a tough night (5 turnovers, 2 assists, 1-5 FG, 0-1 3FG and 2-4 FT).
Overall, it’s what you’d expect from a No. 3 team playing an exhibition contest. The Buckeyes roared out to a big lead, pulled the starters and let the kids play. Sam Thompson was an exceptionally bright spot off the bench. Smith and Sibert were outstanding. Ravenel played well defensively but looks to be the heir apparent to Dallas Lauderdale’s free-throw shooting woes (2-6). Weatherspoon was the other surprise, making plays at both ends with his athletic ability, including some thunderous dunks. The defense was tenacious, even with a big lead and everyone chipped in (11 steals, with Craft and Thompson each swiping 4). Craft was his usual self, diving all over the floor for loose balls and generally making life miserable for the opposing point guard.
Thad Matta experimented liberally with the lineup, looking for the best chemistry. The starters seemed to work best together, but Thompson seemed much more active than Thomas when inserted. Scott was shaky and possibly nervous and Amir Williams seemed a little flat-footed at times but had some good moments as well. The reports out of camp about Smith and Sibert were confirmed. Both players looked confident and played well. Matta played 12 guys and 11 of them scored. Trey McDonald failed to score but registered a rebound and a big-time swat. Walk-on Alex Rogers was the only player who didn’t get into the game. All-in-all, it was a good tune-up for the opener against Wright State this Friday.
Ohio State led 48-28 at the break, paced by Buford’s 12 points and Sully’s 10 points and five boards. Weatherspoon chipped in eight points in the opening 20 minutes. Burrell had eight at the half for Walsh, with Kenny Kornowski adding seven points and three rips.
Interestingly, Ohio State also beat Walsh by 46 points last season, 102-56.