Thad Matta clearly did not want another repeat of Tuesday’s slow climb toward the win. After a lethargic first half, Ohio State (12-1) came out to run circles around Miami of Ohio (3-7), beating the in-state “rival” 69-40. The Buckeyes are now 78-2 at home against non-conference opponents under Thad Matta and have won 33 straight in Columbus. Meanwhile, it was the Redhawks’ first game of the season that was decided by more than 10 points.
The biggest milestone of the game was William Buford knocking down an early three that made the senior the fourth Buckeye to have more than 1000 career points, 500 career rebounds and 300 career assists. He joins the club alongside previously anointed members Jim Jackson (who co-announced on the BTN, Evan Turner and David Lighty). Buford also led the team with 18 points, three rebounds and four assists. Deshaun Thomas added 15 points followed by Jared Sullinger with 11.
The Buckeyes came out with their second 11-0 start of the season. The first was against Duke. Miami was 0-4 in the first three minutes after continuously trying to make three point shots. Drew McGhee was first on the board for Miami with two. After that, both teams never really got it together offensively. Miami had six turnovers and Ohio State had two in the first nine minutes of the game. Leading Miami scorer Julian Mavunga finally got on the board to make the game 13-4. Mavunga is number one in the MAC in scoring and is one of three Div. I players in the country to average more than 20 points and 10 rebounds per game.
A few minutes later, Buford broke the “miss” cycle, hitting a two to make the game 15-6 and Miami’s Quinten Rollins was fouled sending Sullinger to the free throw line (1-1). Buford continued to lead the scoring game, but overall, balls were consistently bouncing off the rim. Ohio State led 26-17 and Redhawks were lucky it wasn’t by more.
Miami struck first in the second half, as Josh Sewell made a layup off an assist from Mavunga, but Ohio State wasn’t going to take the second half as light as the first. Buford answered Sewell’s basket with a baseline jumper off of an Aaron Craft assist followed by a layup off of a Lenzelle Smith assist. Craft, our very own Honey Badger, put too much pressure on Rollins for a mid-court steal and a layup (which I am convinced could have been a dunk if he hadn’t tripped up on the run).
Both teams continued to trip up on three’s, and Ohio State still hasn’t recovered from the loss of David Lighty and Jon Diebler. However, this became a small factor as the Buckeyes started to pull away with a 20-point lead with ten minutes left to play. Evan Ravenel and Buford drew back-to-back and-1′s (Ravenel missed his FT), and the starting five was eventually weaned off the court. While Buford’s monumental achievement was the game’s highlight, JD Weatherspoon and freshman LaQuinton Ross put on a show for the grand finale. Ross, who had been academically ineligible for the first part of the season, made a three for his debut shot for the Buckeyes, followed by a pair of free throws to end the game. He played four minutes and came away with five points. Weatherspoon made a pair of free throws after being fouled by Mavunga and a few minutes later scored two more in a dunk (assisted by Shannon Scott).
The Buckeyes get a short break for the holiday weekend before beginning conference play against Northwestern on the 28th. That game is at home..as in the Schott..at 5:30 on B1G Ten Network.