Some nights the game is never in doubt, and so it was in Ohio State’s 85-45 drubbing of Savannah State at the Schott. The Buckeyes (7-1) dominated from the opening tip and weren’t really challenged by the visiting Tigers (5-5). Deshaun Thomas did the damage in the first 20 minutes, scoring 21 of his 22 points, leading to a 42-18 halftime advantage. LaQuinton Ross scored all 13 of his points after the break. Depending on what box score you look at, he either tied his career high with nine boards or notched his first career double-double. Evan Ravenel spread his 11 points and career high nine rips out more or less evenly between the two halves. Shannon Scott added a career high 12 points, four steals and three assists. It was a team effort and it was a team massacre.
It wasn’t all peaches and cream for Ohio State though. Aaron Craft was 0-4 and failed to score for the first time since his freshman season. Craft last laid an egg against Texas-San Antonio on March 18, 2011 in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Though he didn’t score, Craft managed to grab three rebounds and dish out six dimes, with two steals. Then there were the 21 OSU turnovers. Five different Buckeyes committed at least three of them. Woof. Still, the Buckeyes put up 85 on a decent defensive club and out-rebounded the Tigers by an incredible 48-21 mark (19-7 on the offensive end).
The carnage was so complete that Jake Lorbach saw his first action for Ohio State. The walk-on brought one of the biggest cheers of the night when he hit the second of two free-throw attempts for his first collegiate point. Lorbach joined the team Oct. 22 and his freebie brought his teammates to their feet, after he short-armed his first try.
A game like this is good for confidence (except maybe for Craft), but it does little to get the Buckeyes prepared for the likes of Kansas and Indiana. Sure, Thad Matta will find plenty of teaching moments, but this was little more than an exhibition for guys like Thomas and Ross. Ravenel showed plenty of desire in the game, but Amir Williams continues to play softer than his hulking frame. Williams scored six points and grabbed four rebounds off the pine, but turned the ball over three times and is still a spectator too often.
Sam Thompson continues to find ways to contribute, scoring nine points with six rips, an assist, two steals and a block. He had two more rim-rattling dunks in the game to add to his already-substantial personal highlight reel. Scott may be the player showing the most improvement. Aside from his usual good defense, ball handling and distribution, his outside shot is starting to fall. Scott hit two thee-pointers and his growing confidence is evident. Ohio State hit 7/10 (70%) outside the arc as a team in the first half. The Buckeyes cooled considerably from downtown after the break (2/9, 22%) but actually improved their overall field goal percentage from 45.5% at the break to 47.5% for the game.
Notes: Thomas passed both Ken Johnson and Jamie Skelton for 44th on Ohio State’s career scoring list, with 1,063 points. Thomas needs 11 points to pass Carter Scott and 14 to pass Scoonie Penn…Craft’s two steals puts him seven behind David Lighty for second on the all-time OSU list and 20 behind Jay Burson’s school record 204…Ohio State has won 37 consecutive non-conference games in Columbus…Thomas grabbed seven rebounds and is now just 10 shy of 400 in his career…Ohio State and Savannah State met for the first time. The Buckeyes are now 16-0 against teams from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference…Ohio State’s 12 steals were a season high…Amedeo Della Valle hit a three-pointer for the third consecutive game…Scott’s four steals and two made triples were career highs.