Ohio State hosted the Ohio Bobcats on Tuesday evening in an in-state showdown between two schools separated by only 81 miles. Ohio State jumped out to a 24-7 lead in the first half, but found themselves in a close game in the second half as the Bobcats clawed back into the game. Ohio State was able to hold on for a 79-69 victory but was tested in the process. The game included 55 total fouls and lacked any real flow to the action. The Buckeyes ended up shooting more free throws than field goal attempts in the game, which helped propel them to victory on a night that they shot the ball poorly.
The one common theme so far for the Buckeyes has been a balanced scoring attack and that was the case yet again on Tuesday. Ohio State had 4 players score in double figures with Aaron Craft leading the way with 18 points. Amir Williams recorded his first double-double of the season and finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Sam Thomspon and LaQuinton Ross also scored in double figures finishing with 12 points and 10 points respectively. Ohio State received 20 points from the bench with 12 of those points coming from Thompson. It was a sloppy game after a fast start, but the Buckeyes were able to come away with a win on a night that they didn’t play their best basketball. With a trip to 17th ranked Marquette up next, Ohio State will need to be much sharper if they want to remain unbeaten.
Looking ahead: Marquette
Ohio State fans will want to set their DVR’s for Saturday because Ohio State is slated for a showdown with Marquette at 1 PM and the football team also plays at Illinois at noon. The match-up with Marquette has added intrigue because these teams were scheduled to play on the USS Yorktown last year but the game was cancelled due to court condensation. Both teams head into Saturdays match-up with a 2-0 record and will be looking to make an early statement on the national stage.
The keys to this game will be the contrasting strengths of the two teams. Ohio State’s strength lies in the backcourt, while Marquette is strong down low behind the play of Devante Gardner (17 points per game). Amir Williams is coming off one of his best games as a Buckeye against Ohio, and will be looking to continue that success against Gardner and the Golden Eagles. A road win against Marquette would justify Ohio State’s top 10 ranking early in the year, and should provide a good test for Big Ten play later in the season. After a lackluster performance in the last game, expect Thad Matta to have his players heading into this game with a chip on their shoulders. Be sure to tune in on Saturday to see how the Buckeyes fare in their first big test of the season.