Thomas Shoots Buckeyes Past Wisconsin

By Kyle Rowland on January 29, 2013 at 8:51p
62 Comments
Deshaun Thomas finished with 25 points on 10/17 shooting against Wisconsin

COLUMBUS, Ohio – “Is this real life?” asked Aaron Craft after Ohio State’s 58-49 statement win over Wisconsin. It was a good question, considering the offensive onslaught from Ohio State.

The Buckeyes shot 63.6 percent from the field in the second half, an unheard of number against Wisconsin. A 15-0 run pushed Ohio State from down four to up 11, and they never looked back from there.

Craft’s inquisitiveness also could have been due to Deshaun Thomas’s shooting clinic. Thomas played all 40 minutes, delivering one of his finest performances as a Buckeye. He finished with 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting and even dished out four assists, including a stretch of three straight.

“Without a doubt, this is right there at the top with his overall offensive effectiveness,” said Ohio State head coach Thad Matta, raving about Thomas. “I thought he was good on the defensive end too.”

But Craft was actually talking about Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan declining to enter the postgame press conference room, instead choosing to do a Q&A outside the Badger locker room.

Odd, yes. But the game was a normal Ohio State-Wisconsin slugfest, at least for the first 27 minutes. The Badgers led, 41-37, and had established their usual slow-down pace. Sensing an opening, Thomas broke right through it. He scored 10 points during Ohio State’s 15-0 advantage.

Wisconsin missed seven consecutive field goal attempts and turned the ball over three times as the Buckeyes took control. Ohio State scored 11 points off the second-half mistakes by the Badgers.

“All season long we know our best offense stems from our defense,” Craft said. “We did great getting long rebounds and getting into our offense. We’re at our best when everyone is contributing and we aren’t really concentrating on one guy.”

That one guy is No. 1 Deshaun Thomas. While he scored well over his average of 20 points per game, Ohio State was able to spread its scoring around to six other players. Craft had 13 points and seven rebounds and LaQuinton Ross chipped in with eight points.

Greg Oden takes is mesmerized by Ohio State's scoreboard.Greg Oden sighting.

The first half was either ugly or beautiful depending on your opinion of offense. Neither team connected on 40 percent of their field goal attempts, but it was exactly what Ryan wanted. Entering the game, Wisconsin had won three of its past five games against ranked opponents, and they did it with grit on the defensive end.

Halftime game-planning revolved around Ohio State creating high-percentage scoring opportunities by getting the ball down low. That’s where Thomas did a majority of his dirty work, scoring 20 points on two-point baskets. The Buckeyes scored 34 points in the paint.

“I thought we were more aggressive in our pace of our offense, the flow of our offense,” Matta said. “I thought we did a good job of getting open shots. You have to give (Wisconsin) credit – they’re as good defensively as we’ve played this season.”

Ohio State wasn’t the only team hitting shots after the break, though. Wisconsin connected on six of its first 11 shots until going in a deep freeze. And the Buckeyes weren’t interested in more late second-half nervousness. Last week, Ohio State twice allowed opponents to cut significant leads, but Wisconsin never got closer than six once the Buckeyes took the lead for good.

“We executed real well down the stretch,” Thomas said. “We knew it was going to be a low-scoring game. Coach said to show toughness. We knew Wisconsin was going to slow us down, and we wanted to get out there and punch them in the mouth.”

Consider it a KO.

One major factor in Wisconsin’s inability to make a run was its lack of free throws. Remarkably, the Badgers didn’t get to the line once. Ohio State entered the game with foul issues, but it committed a season-low 12 fouls.

“We’ve done it to other teams and we’ve had other games where we took only one or two,” Ryan said. “Ohio State played well defensively.”

Wisconsin didn’t make it much easier on itself, attempting 28 three-pointers. It connected on 11, but only made eight shots inside the arc. Wisconsin shot 36.5 percent for the game.

Thad Matta tells Samantha Ponder what it feels like to be a BuckeyeThad Matta, feeling it after passing Bo Ryan for the top winning
percentage among active coaches in the B1G.

For Thomas, the game represented a sea change. His career has involved a considerable point output from three-pointers. But he attempted just one shot from beyond the arc. Instead of playing like an athletic wing, Thomas took the approach of a more traditional forward, gaining position and backing down his defender to get easy looks at the basket.

“I was just in attack mode,” he said. “Coach Jent was telling me to be patient and relax and attack when it’s there. I was just reading my defensive man. I felt really good getting inside closer.”

Not wanting to mess up a good thing, Thomas’ teammates continued to feed him. He shot the ball 17 times, but nearly every attempt could be characterized as makeable.

“When someone has a hot hand, you keep giving them the ball every possession,” Craft said. “We were able to get him the ball in different areas where he feels comfortable. That’s what we need to do. He made some big shots, but he also had some great passes.”

Dating to 2004, Ohio State and Wisconsin have split every season series when the schools have played twice in the regular season. The Kohl Center has been a graveyard for Ohio State, giving the Badgers an advantage when the teams play in February.

One thing is certain: the game will be low scoring and feature a physical, brash style. Some call it boring, others embrace it.

“It’s fun for me,” Thomas said. “I like a challenge.”

On Feb. 17, Ryan would be wise to throw a few more tests Thomas’ way.


 

 

62 Comments

Comments

SEBuckeye's picture

Without a second legitimate scorer, the ceiling for this team is only so high.

BuckeyeBoyer85's picture

I think Craft showed he can be that guy. Time will tell if he can be consistent in attacking the basket on high ball screens. I'm not as concerned at this point when our defense is one of the best in the country. We see flashes from Q and Thompson, and Ravenel has been excellent off the bench. I'm seeing an upward swing for this team.

Wayne Woodrow Hayes

SEBuckeye's picture

I respectfully disagree.  Thomas continues to score roughly 40% of the team's point every single game.  That is not a sustainable recipe for a conference championship nor a deep run in the tournament.  We simply have got to get someone else going on a consistent basis.

BuckeyeBoyer85's picture

The talent is there. We have guys that can score, it's just a matter of players settling into roles. This team is young, it just hasn't matured as fast as we'd like. We have played well at home, and even won games when DeShaun had an off night or scored under his average. (Iowa we had four in double figures; Thomas had 16, Penn St. Thomas had 11) We are good enough to compete for a B1G title on our talent and defense.

Wayne Woodrow Hayes

Chris Lauderback's picture

Thomas is scoring roughly 28% of the total team points through 20 games. I't's not 40% but 28% is still a pretty insane number. 

SEBuckeye's picture

How about in Big Ten play?

Chris Lauderback's picture

Looks like he's scoring 33% of the points in B1G play. He's got 168 of the 504 total team points. Amazing how effortless his 25 looked tonight. 

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I'm not comparing Thomas to the following guys, just putting things in context . . .
But there are players who helped their teams advance deep into the NCAA tournament while scoring over 30 percent of their teams' points: David Robinson (Navy), Glenn Robinson (Purdue), Scott Skiles (MSU), Juan Dixon (Maryland), Glen Rice (Michigan), Danny Manning (Kansas).
[Actually, in my original comment here, I calculated the percentage of their teams' points scored by the above players for the relevant seasons, but I hit the wrong button and lost the data! Sorry, I won't repeat that silly effort.]

abrahajc's picture

man you would think steph curry on that davidson team would be on this list, right?  I really think we do need a legit 2nd scorer especially this year with the incredible depth in college BB.  Deshaun is bound to have an off night evenutally and I think guys like lenzelle and Q may have to pick up the slack.  Great win tn, though, and if we play D like that all year we will not need too much scoring.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Melo was that 'Cuse team and they won it all.

DetroitBuckeye's picture

I disagree, look at Louisville's player stats from last year, they basically had nobody scoring any points EVER.  At least we have one guy that we can lean on, besides some random guy could have a stretch in a tournament.  The thing that makes me confident about this is that there is no Kentucky or dominant team this year.

 
SEBuckeye's picture

Lousville? Last year, they had 6 guys averaging over 9 a game.  

okiebuck's picture

I am so sick of hearing from guys like you dude, who say we have a "ceiling". With the defense that we have we can play with anyone. This squad has lost 4 fricken games; one to KU who is ranked #1; one to Duke at Cameron; where not too many teams win; and two on the road in the B1G; which in case you don't know; is the best damm conference in the country. Now I'm not saying we are going to run the table and win it all; but for crying out load it's the easiest thing in the world to be negitive; try showing a little support for these guys. They are getting better; and can beat anyone on any given day; just ask TTUN.

"Fate has cards that it don't want to show"

SEBuckeye's picture

If you don't like it, stop reading.

okiebuck's picture

Ok will do but why don't  buy a fucking clue.

"Fate has cards that it don't want to show"

okiebuck's picture

Naw; just don't know why folks like you are down on this team; it's still only January and they are getting better. I tend to be more of a glass half full person but to each is or her own.

"Fate has cards that it don't want to show"

Run_Fido_Run's picture

SEBuckeye wrote: 

If you don't like it, stop reading.

Too late. Now, you've sucked me into playing a new parlor game. It's called, "Will SEBuckeye ever make a positive comment?"
So far, three days into this "game," the answer is no, so the game continues. How long will the game last? Five days? Ten days? A month? A year? My curiosity has been stoked . . .

LouGroza's picture

As always Run, you are right on top of things. Been wondering the same thing while waiting for the implosion.

Killer nuts's picture

Yeah he trolls hard, he's definitely trending toward being the latest addition to the ban hammer club

German Buckeye's picture

SEB has -41 helmet stickers..he/she in the lead for negative downvotes? 

DetroitBuckeye's picture

True, but they also didn't have anyone near 20.  We also have three averaging over nine a game.  Also we average more points a game then they did last year.

 
Hovenaut's picture

Good win, great run just punched Wusky in the gut.

"Success - it's what you do with what you got" - Woody Hayes

kr66osu's picture

That 15-0 run was awesome
Our offense is still abysmal though

d5k's picture

It wasn't in this game... we scored more than 1 point per possession against a solid Wisconsin team.  People at all levels of college basketball analysis can't seem to separate tempo from offensive efficiency.  We had less possessions because Wisconsin plays slow... no one is going to score over 60 against Wisconsin unless they shoot >55% which is hard to do.  I thought overall Q, Craft, Thomas had a nice balanced game in the half court last night.  Thomas was unstoppable so why not keep going to him.  I love using him in the mid-post rather than exclusively catching at the 3 point line.  Everyone talks about needing a second scorer, but there isn't anything fundamentally wrong with getting a little bit from all our 7 other guys that play meaningful minutes.  What we need is to run our offense through Thomas, and then create opportunities for good shots for other guys off of that, plus transition opportunities whenever we can.  If we can get Ross creating off the bounce while Thomas draws attention away that's great.  But we don't NEED the same 2nd guy consistently in double figures.

Baroclinicity's picture

Good game for the Bucks.  Can't believe Wisconsin didn't get to the free throw line one time!

kr66osu's picture

It happens when you shoot a billion three pointers

abrahajc's picture

the "deal with it" chant was pretty funny, when will that be forgotten?

chimes3899's picture

As long as i have student tickets it wont be forgotten. Aka for another year

andyb's picture

Probably when those freshman that it happened to all graduate lol..I was just laughing with my wife last night about that...it happend in Deshawn/Craft/ Sully's freshman year!! haha

osu07asu10's picture

Thomas is so efficient when he takes games over. He is a pure shooter, he gains separation with his body, with a decent first/jab step, he can go down low with a smaller player defending him, and he can just pull up. I mean, he dropped 25 tonight and to me, it felt like he let the game come to him.
I guess that is what I like about him, when he first got here, he didn't meet a shot he didn't like. We're seeing him now a bit more refined. He doesn't dominate the ball, he doesn't need the ball to create. He finds spots on the floor, works off ball screens, posts, can create separation to get his shot off. When you have a player like him, it allows Scott and Craft to handle the ball, distribute, attempt to find those other solid scoring options. I just love the way Thomas is playing right now.

"They don't know what they don't know." - Coach Mick

TMargo's picture

This team is finding its identity. Looking forward to another great run at a conference championship. Thad and his staff seem to have the guys moving in right direction. 

bhartman13's picture

Solid win.  If LaQ can consistently play like this and Craft continues to pick it up on offense then I can see this team battling for a B1G title.  IU and scUM are legit top 5 teams but they will lose some games in this conference.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Deal with that.  Suck it Bo!

Class of 2010.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Excellent D tonight. The Buckeyes might have kept Wisky under 40 if not for several of Wisky's prayers from 3-pt land rattling around and going in. The Buckeyes pretty much shut them down cold for the last 5 minutes of the game, i.e., in crunch time. 

buckeye4life050233's picture

Thomas forced a couple shots early.  However his defense against Evans and in general our post defense when they did go in there was really good tonight.  The first half and most of second was crazy, we made a shot or 2 played good to even great defense and they were throwing up crap 3 pointers that had no business going in.  Ravenel had some huge blocks and game changing plays that didn't show up statistically as well as Scott.  The defense we put together on the 15-0 was reminiscent of the D against Kansas when we went from down 11-17 to being up 30-22.  The d in that stretch tonight was the game changer and Wisky tried but couldn't match it after that stretch.  I liked the way we won tonight it was a good home win, now we got to put it together on in a big time road game ala at michigan or indiana would be preferred.

RedStorm45's picture

Scott's minutes dropping since the MSU missed last shot.  Played a 4-5 minute shift in the 1st half and about the same in the 2nd half.

oregonianbuckeye's picture

Yeah, I think this is a function of them wanting to get Q more time. Also, Thompson had that big game the other day as well, so minutes at the 2/3 are sparse. Matta also doesn't like Craft off the court at all. Although he didn't post a lot of minutes yesterday, he had two giant steals that really gave us a ton of momentum. Really enjoy watching Scott play, and think he'll be really special in another year or two. 

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

Honestly, I think our problem may be that we have too much talent leading to shared PT by these guys.  I'm going to say that last night was Q's best all around game - offense and defense and it was great to see.  Scott is just a pure point guard and holy cow does he create opportunities on offense and is a tough defender.  He's still gun shy on his shot and I'd like to see him take some more shots only because this is the only way to develop.  Thompson was an athlete and a good defender, but recently he hasn't been afraid to shoot and more recently, he's looking better shooting and has been making shots - he's becoming a ball player.  All three of these guys look to be getting better, they still have a ways to go, but we should celebrate the improvements.  Put all 3 of these guys in the mix with Smith Jr., who has been the most stagnant and you've really got a problem - you've got 4 guys realistically competing for 2 spots - 80 minutes total.  You don't want to hurt confidence, but you've got to play them.  It's not easy.

d5k's picture

The problem is never too much talent.  I agree about the development though.  The more correct way to say it is that we have 4 guard/wing guys all around the same level with different attributes. 
But here is the funny part.  For the last few years the armchair critics constantly rag on not playing bench players.  Now they see a team that has a go-to guy and a bunch of role players but going 8 deep and they say 'why don't we have 3 guys in double figures and then scraps for the rest?' when really we are getting contributions from 8 guys.  I think what this team lacks is that 4th outside guy whether it is Scott or Thompson to make an open shot and for more consistent play out of Amir.  Other than that this team is a contender in the best conference and therefore has to be considered a darkhorse national title contender at this point.

okiebuck's picture

Yeah but his steal and run out three pointer was a big moment in the game.

"Fate has cards that it don't want to show"

drumsontheside's picture

Good to see some flashes of toughness from Q and Amir tonight, especially against a defensive team like Wisky. I actually really like this team and think that its worst days are behind it. 
 
Also, the Schott is finally starting to have semi-consistent atmosphere! Be loud people!

WB

RedStorm45's picture

A little disappointed with the folks behind the students on the sidelines...empty seats and I don't think they stood at any point in the game.

dcbuck-i's picture

I hope you don't mean the 2-3 rows that the university leaves empty behind the students so they can stand all game?

RedStorm45's picture

No, the people (who did show up) above that...looked like they were enjoying a nice picnic in the park or something.

buckeye4life050233's picture

It's mostly the Personal Seat License people who have no business being that close to the game if they don't chear.  I wish they would do more to fill it up every game by allowing people to move down after halftime if seats are empty and selling cheap 10-15 dollar tickets and then getting the messege through that if you have tickets you need to show up.  indiana is packed every game, same with champaign illinois even when they are bad.....we need that it could be special to play in that environment every game and would entice big time athletes to ohio state

mclovin's picture

I like that Thomas and Ross are getting on the floor at the same time.  I would prefer that it be with Craft or Scott and Thompson or Smith along with a Big but Matta seems determined to have Craft and Scott on the floor at the same time.  As much as I have had my doubts about Thompson outside of his freakish jumping ability, he looked great against Penn St and I was hoping we would see him build on that in this game.  We should have a fairly easy one against NE this weekend that will hopefully tune us up for the scUM game next week. 

buckeyebart's picture

A true analysis of Thomas:
He has really become a true team player. He passes, he rebounds, obviously he shoots,  he applauds others success, he looks really good overall. He has improved defensively, my only concern is he gets tired in the second half, He looked whipped tonight and that will be an issue over the next several weeks. We go as Thomas goes, make no mistake. Gotta get him a couple of rest minutes or he will poop out.

buckeye4life050233's picture

He was whipped tired tonight.  He barely got any rest in the first half and then finally when others carried the load in that huge defensive stretch that turned into the 15-0 run and he was dead beat on his last 2 shots that coulda iced the game a little sooner than letting them hit 2 more 3 point shots to cut it to 5 or whatever it was.  still that run was exactly how they have to play as much as possible even if some run out of gas they need to play that way to win the elite games....

buckeyechad's picture

Scott and LaQuinton need more minutes. Both provide a nice spark off the bench. Scott would be really good if he could finish around the rim.

IBleedSandG's picture

Awesome win!
A few things that I really liked:
1. Q played his best game of the year, by far, even though he only scored 8 points
2. Craft scoring the ball a bit
3. Amir playing with some emotion
DT is a beast, great all around game from him. He better make first team AA.
Maybe this win will help the team turn the corner.

We don't give a damn for the whole state of Michigan, we're from O-HI-O!

petebuc52's picture

Funny I got on here after the MSU game and said Ross should play more and got down voted by flag waving no-it-alls who rather be right than see the team they are supporting win smmfh...anyway good win against wisky (deal with it bo)...Go Bucks!

buckeyechad's picture

Really? I thought the general consensus around here was that Ross should get more minutes.

petebuc52's picture

No Buckeye Chad because I had the nerve to question thad's decision making i didnt know what the hell was talking about..It's cool i've been playing/watching/coaching sports since 1975 so I got tough skin..It's just funny when you see progress and folks who thought you were crazy are nowhere to be found *shurgs* anyway..Go Bucks!

CALPOPPY's picture

Well, it is the internet.

I'm a hurtin' buckaroo.

andyb's picture

"It's cool i've been playing/watching/coaching sports since 1975 so I got tough skin"

 
Says the guy who is on here complaining about something that happened 11 day's ago when we should all just be rejoicing in a win.
The internet has no gold medal for being a visionary...people who know what they are talking about probably agreed with you but just didn't speak up. To that point I'm not sure I know of one person myself included who has not been calling, NAY, BEGGING Matta to play Q more after the Duke game...so if you were saying it after the MSU loss you were late to the party...sorry maybe they were downvoting you for trying to take the credit.

d5k's picture

That was because he played well against Duke in limited minutes and Thompson etc did not.  In the larger sample size of 'every game against top 150 RPI teams' Thompson had provided more overall due to his athleticism, defense, and finishing ability in transition.  Ross had defensive issues and some nonsensical turnovers but he still was getting double digit minutes almost every game.  Q definitely played well last night and the conservative style half-court game played to his style more than Thompson since we had very few transition opportunities.  In the bigger games Thomas and Craft are going to and should play 35+ minutes and I would challenge anyone to dispute that.  Outside of the 2-headed center situation there are then 2 rotation spots for 4 guys between Scott, Smith, Thompson, and Ross.  So if you take the 10 minutes that Craft or Thomas can be replaced by those guys that is about 90 total minutes for the 4 guys.  I wouldn't have a problem with every guy getting 20+ but Matta loves Smith's intangibles and rebounding at the guard position in particular.  I think we will probably see it vary by matchup.  I.e. more of Smith and Ross in a half-court game and more of Thompson and Scott if we can get out in transition.

petebuc52's picture

Im from Cleveland, so I take wins from the teams I support when they come with pleasure and thats not often besides O-State, so miss me with the how i should be rejocing in a win..What I said must have touched a nerve or applied to you because you felt the need to fly they flag for the folks I was commenting about.. Whatever, No medal needed, not looking for credit, just making a point about the painfully obivious need for secondary scorer and voicing my views. Also giving it back to those whom give it to me.. Oh and thanks for the internet lessons you expert you lol, Im so old i cant overstand the concept of it Lol..

Ohio Guy in Jersey's picture

I wasn't one of those posters, Pete, but I'll bite. Until last night, you typically had one reason to play LQR - scoring. If he wasn't shooting well, Thad was better off playing Thompson because he plays better defense, blocks shots, and can get garbage points. He's also a pretty high energy guy. In fairness, LQR had a pretty short leash because Thad is a defense-first coach.
Last night, Ross played solid position defense. He didn't get beat on any back door cuts. He got some defensive rebounds. And he made big shots. THAT is a performance that earns more playing time.
I expect he'll get some more time against Nebraska.

d5k's picture

You are also leaving out that he was turning the ball over.  Also, he was a better matchup in the half-court game vs. a team like Wisconsin.  I think we need to continue to play all 6 non-bigs significant minutes and Matta will find matchups to exploit against every team.  I think he found something in the half-court last night with Craft attacking and Deshaun in the mid-post.  Q did look better with and without the ball last night and didn't have any brain-dead turnovers.

DJRoss926's picture

For me this was one of the most impressive wins of the year. Down at the break and playing Wisconsin's style most of the first half, they were able to make the proper adjustments at half and impose their style of play on the Badgers. (As opposed to starting fast and holding on late for the win).
The 11 point lead created during the 15-0 run must have seemed like 50 with Wisconsin's glacial pace of play hindering any chance of a comeback.
If the Bucks are able to finish out games like they did last night the future looks awfully bright for this team.

WiliestBuckeye's picture

The team plays its best ball when they are in attack mode. Everybody was getting to the rim in the second half, which was the key. Outside Thomas, and occasionally Q, we can't shoot. We need to continue being aggressive driving into the lane like we were in the second half. We are getting better with every game, this team is fun to watch.

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."