Sluggish Buckeyes Sleepwalk Past American

By Kyle Rowland on November 20, 2013 at 9:26p
Amir Williams had a career-high 16 points against American. (Ohio State Photo)

Thad Matta said Ohio State’s shooting couldn’t get any worse. He was wrong. In the first half of Wednesday night’s game against American University, the Buckeyes shot 26 percent and made just seven field goals.

It was Amir Williams of all people who helped Ohio State break out of its offensive funk. He scored a career-high 16 points in leading the Buckeyes to a 63-52 win over the Eagles.

“I’ve seen him more energized and aggressive this season,” Matta said. “He has also been dominating in practice. Tonight, I really loved seeing his patience.”

On Saturday, Ohio State shot 27 percent in the first half against Marquette. One-upping itself wasn’t expected or thought to even be possible. Even with the porous first half against American, the Buckeyes still managed to take a five-point lead into the locker room at halftime – 28-23 – thanks to a 9-0 run and scoring 11 of the final 14 points.

Eighth-ranked Ohio State improved its offensive output in the second half, making 13-of-29 field goal attempts. It ended the game shooting 35.7 percent from the field, only 3 of 16 from beyond the arc. Once again, the Buckeyes won with superb defense and stout free throw shooting.

“I think a lot had to do with us defending for so long,” Matta said of the poor offensive numbers. “We were just slow to balls, lacked spacing, were running on top of each other and didn’t have it at the level we needed to.”

American turned the ball over 27 times and only had 21 made baskets for the game, while Ohio State made 20 of its 29 free throw attempts. The Eagles shot better than 85 percent from the charity stripe but only attempted seven free throws. 

Shannon Scott recorded 13 points and a career-high tying nine rebounds for the Buckeyes, Aaron Craft missed his first five shots but ended the night with nine points and seven steals, and freshman Marc Loving scored nine points in 15 minutes off the bench. Williams also had seven rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot.

“I have been working really hard on my moves in the post and it is finally starting to pay off,” Williams said. “I am building up my confidence and hope to continue improving and making those baskets. The work we did in the off-season is the reason my game has improved. I am taking shots I wouldn’t normally take. I am better prepared mentally as well.”

LaQuinton Ross, the player many thought would take over Deshaun Thomas’ scoring role, had another questionable outing. He finished 1 of 7 from the field with four points and played just 17 minutes. Ross was benched in the second half against Marquette after missing all six shot attempts.

The game marked the final appearance in Value City Arena for longtime official Ed Hightower, who’s retiring Dec. 31.


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Seattle Linga's picture

Great Job Aaron on moving up on the Steals list but 3-16 behind the ARC. I guess having brick layer American with 27 Turnovers really helped. Good job Bucks - now get back in the gym for some shooting drills. 

ATXbucknut's picture

A career high 16 points for Amir Williams! He looked pretty good tonight.  It's great to see that the offseason surgery to replace the feet at the end of his arms with hands (complete with opposable thumbs) was successful.

Haybucks's picture

Yea for no more Highhorsetower!

If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later. -  Mark Twain


chowoon97's picture

Good News: Amir Williams has been improved.
Bad News: We cannot make a jumper.

bucksfan92's picture

Was at the game. It was ugly, and frustrating.  We are going to struggle big time against teams that slow down the tempo.  We just could not get into a groove offensively, and Lenzelle really seemed to be forcing things too often.  VERY glad to see this is Hightower's last game here - good riddance!  Now if we can get rid of Jim Burr.....  The defense played well, but honestly the Princeton offense isn't that hard to defend, what that style does to you is disrupt your own offense.  We had at least 3 wild passes that went sailing out on the sideline, plus a few down under the basket.  I sure hope that was the worst game I have to watch at The Schott this year.

Donny T's picture

This team has a long way to go to pass mediocre. Offense is stagnant. Q can't hit a shot and seems to be in the dog house. He's also very slow, although he's rebounding okay. We have no idea if Craft, after all his work in the off-season, can hit a jumper. He seems to be afraid to even try. Smith Jr. is his usual self -- pretty much of a non-entity. Thompson can't hit a jumper. Foul-shooting is just atrocious. D is adequate, but a lot of that can be attributed to poor shooting by the other team, not great D. Shannon Scott and Amir seem to be the only two players who have significantly improved from last year. That might get you to top 4 in the BIG, and maybe, maybe Sweet 16 in the tourney if they come around. But I've definitely got low expectations for this group. When the  b-ball team can barely match the offense of the football team, you know you're in for a long season.

ScarletNGrey01's picture

If someone (you know, the guy from the future who posts on here from time-to-time) would have told me before the season started that over a two game span Q Ross would be 1 - 13 and Amir Williams would have 30 points I'd would have asked him what he was smoking.  Season is still young, let's give Matta a chance to work his magic.  For a senior / junior laden team the chemistry does seem lacking ... at the moment.  Running wind sprints together may help build that bond.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

unholy bucknut's picture

That was the creepiest music video of all time.

Conroy's picture

Defense is really, really good.  Offense is really, really bad.

Basso Profondo's picture

I am a bit out of the loop with shooty-hoops, so bear with me if this answer is well known, but will we be seeing Kam Williams at all?

Kyle Rowland's picture

Doubtful. Had mono and missed a month of practice. Probably a redshirt year since he's so far behind. 

Basso Profondo's picture

That's too bad, thanks for the info.

d5k's picture

You rarely see basketball redshirts but I suppose since he would be the 6th or 7th guard depending on how you classify some of the guys that makes a lot of sense with him missing camp.

sbentz4's picture

Amir needs to keep it up. Tonight was a small team with the only big in foul trouble early, but something to build on. The rest of the team must really miss Chris Jent for shooting help.

southbay's picture

Hats off to Amir Williams, who is coming on.  The team is not hitting on all cylinders but I think they'll look a lot better when Q gets out of the funk he's in.  It's only November, they could be a top ten team by January,  guys have to start hitting some shots though.  But I still think they can be better than last year's team.

skid21's picture

I hope it is just a funk. Q has had some very good games but never really produced at a high level throughout a season. It is hard to imagine him in the NBA this time next year.

k5baseball's picture

Let's not overreact too much... We just went up to #17 Marquette, a team that hadn't lost on its home floor in 25+ games... and beat them by 17! Yes, offensively it will not always be pretty, but my goodness we are 4 - 0 and ranked in the top 10 with a upperclassman heavy squad... we are going to win a ton of games and hopefully go deep in the tournament... a little positivity!


d5k's picture

People are going to have to get used to a lot of ugly wins which is much better than pretty losses.  This team should be the best defensive team in the B1G and maybe the country but probably closer to average offensively.  There's some upside there but it is still too early to tell how it will swing.  With some struggles by other B1G contenders I wouldn't be too worried yet.  And yes we already got a very quality road win which will matter way more in March than winning by only 10 against scrub teams.

Buckifan4Life's picture

I miss Jon Diebler. I'm sure coach Matta does too...

The Buck Guy's picture

Painful to watch. But, like I posted before the season started, Buckeye Nation needs to have patience this season. This is a major job for Matta to use a full roster rotation in a fast tempo scheme. It will be ugly (a hint of that here, but we will see worse), and the team will be inconsistent. That's just the way it has to be for a long while. My hope is that the players progress so that they become a top ten level team before the conference tourney

~ The Buck Guy
Go Bucks!!!!

TheSpiteHouse's picture

I did see positive steps from Amir and Scott. Craft is still superb, Loving looks solid, and for better and worse, McDonald, Lenzelle and Thompson are like the same dudes from last year. Hopefully Q gets it going...

BuddhaBuck's picture

Dear 11W:
Let's refer to Marc Loving as "McLovin", because that's all I hear when JJ says his name on TV.

Don't text while driving.

d5k's picture

You could at least add an 'r':  'MrcLovin'.

OSUFlash's picture

I like Crafts mechanics but he can't get them to fall and still misses too many layups but is even better on defense compared to last year.
Lenzelle Smith needs to stop trying to dribble between the entire defense because he's just not a very good ball handler.
Q is still weak in side and is trying to do drive too much when the open shot is there. Looks like he's disinterested when not in the game.
Scott is most improved and is at times unstoppable.
Thompson can still slam, rebound and play good defense. Just needs to find his jumper.
Amir is more aggressive and has improved his FT shooting. Still has weak hands and fumbles too many passes.
Della Valla has improved on both sides of the ball but needs to pack on 25 more pounds of muscle.
Loving is very Buford like and has lots of potential but needs to hit the weights too.
Mcdonald is a good backup to Williams and moves his feet very well on defense.


MassiveAttack's picture

I thought Slam Thompson's jumper was excellent against Marquette.  I noticed he didn't get nearly as much playing time against American.  Perhaps Matta was trying to get other guys playing time?
I think overall the team needs to do more double screening to get guys more basket drives, early.  Once guys get some points scored, and feeling good, defenses will sag to the lane, opening up more space for jump shooting.
I would be getting more 3 point shots setup for Lenzelle, Q, and Della Valle.

The Ohio State University - "Haters love us!"

Toilrt Paper's picture

Just wait until teams start playing zones.