Ohio State Basketball: Takes from exhibition game vs. Wooster

EAST LANSING MI - MARCH 5: Keita Bates-Diop
EAST LANSING MI - MARCH 5: Keita Bates-Diop /

Things to take away from the Ohio State exhibition game vs. Wooster.

Sunday afternoon I went out to see the Ohio State Buckeyes take the court against Wooster in an exhibition game to preview the season. This was Chris Holtmann’s first competition as the Bucks new coach, and I saw many positives and one negative to take away from the contest.

In the first half the Buckeyes started off hot going on a 12-0 run to open the game, controlling the paint on both offense and defense. With a clear advantage in the rebounding department, Ohio State cleaned up the glass and gave themselves solid second chances.

Defensively the Buckeyes did a phenomenal job defending the paint, using their size of guys like Kaleb Wesson and Micah Potter to clog the lane. The guards forced Wooster players into the middle of the court off the drive, forcing turnovers and creating transition opportunities.

In the transition game I was most impressed with the play of freshman Kyle Young, who finished around the rim with confidence and consistently beat his defenders up the wings of the court.

At the half, the Bucks led 39-22.

The second half was more of the same for the Buckeyes as they controlled the game on the inside. Freshman Kaleb Wesson impressed me the most scoring 16 points while grabbing 7 boards.

Wesson played aggressive and until the end of every play, which are traits you love to see out of young players. I think Kaleb will eventually be a starter for the Bucks this season even thought it looks like Holtmann is sticking with sophomore Micah Potter to begin the year.

The Buckeyes coasted in the second half but nothing was coming from behind the arc. Finishing the contest 3-24 from the three-point line certainly was a negative. That will be something the Bucks will have to work on if they want to compete in the Big Ten Conference this season.

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Ohio State ending up defeating Wooster by a score of 88-63 and played an overall complete game. Keita Bates-Diop led the scoring for Ohio State with 17 points.

Senior Jae’Sean Tate and Bates=Diop were the clear leaders on the court, talking and directing traffic throughout the game. The leadership and experience of these two guys along with senior transfer from Michigan, Andrew Dakich, is going to have to drive the Bucks this season, and give confidence to the younger players going forward.

I think Chris Holtmann showed he is going to play 8 or 9 guys and really focus on getting to the rim, and playing tough defense inside. While giving up the three can be dangerous, especially for a team who doesn’t seem to have a three-point game themselves.

This can be risky, but the grit and hustle was shown today, which is something that can take a team far.

Next: Big Ten observations week 10, who's up, who's down?

Ohio State opens the season Friday at home against Robert Morris and I will be excited to see what the Buckeyes have to show then. A lot of work has to be done, but with plenty of talent on the roster I’m convinced Ohio State will compete well in the Big Ten this season.