Ross Catching Fire at Just the Right Time

By Chris Lauderback on March 15, 2014 at 8:15a
Q is shooting 51% over his last four outings, averaging 21.5 points.

LaQuinton Ross takes a ton of heat.

Coaches, fans and analysts constantly rip on the guy for various failings including a tendency to lose composure, careless turnovers in critical moments, an assumed lack of impact on the backboards, and what comes off as a lackadaisical if not unintelligent approach to the game from time to time. 

Lost is the reality that Ross, as a junior, is only now in the midst of his first full season as a starter. His freshman season was virtually wiped out by academic issues that kept him from the team until early December and as a sophomore, he only averaged 16 minutes per game. 

Through 33 games this year, though you'd hardly know it if you just listened to everyone talk about him, Ross is leading the team in points (15.3), rebounds (6.1), 3FG% (38%) and if you throw out the big men, FG% (45%). 

Even better, over the last four games, Ross is on fire averaging 21.5 points and 9.0 rebounds while shooting 51% from the floor. 

NEB 34 26 9/18 7/9 13
PUR 37 19 8/21 3/3 15
MSU 35 22 9/15 3/6 5
@IU 28 19 7/11 5/8 3
AVG 33.5 21.5 51% 69% 9.0  

In yesterday's comeback win over Nebraska, Ross again gave fans reason to shout after his third incident with an opposing player this season resulted in a technical foul, helping the Huskers extend their lead to 44-30 with just under 15 minutes to play. 

Ross had scored 10 points up to that point but it looked as if he had come completely off the rails, putting his team on the verge of an embarrassing blowout. To his credit, and to the credit of Jeff Boals and Thad Matta, Ross quickly refocused on the task at hand and the kid poured in 16 points the rest of the way, teaming with Amedeo Della Valle to lead Ohio State to the biggest comeback victory in B1G tournament history. 

When the dust settled, Ross went off for a career-high 26 points on 9/18 shooting and 7/9 from the stripe with 13 boards. Coupled with his tourney-opening 19 points and 15 rebounds against Purdue, Ross, though early, finds himself as the front-runner for tournament Most Outstanding Player honors. Not bad for a guy that only made 3rd team all-league. 

Leading up to the tournament, Ross finished the regular season slate with 22 points on 9/15 shooting against Michigan State ensuring Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr. received a proper send off from the home faithful which backed up a 19 point effort on 7/11 shooting in a loss at Indiana.

With yesterday's effort in hand, Ross has eclipsed the 20-point mark in eight games this year with six of those combing in league action. Interestingly, Ohio State is just 3-3 in the B1G play when Ross goes for 20+ though that's largely on the shoulders of his inconsistent teammates who typically put even more pressure on Q to shoulder the offensive load. 

Bottom line, Ross is the midst of his most impressive stretch as a Buckeye, including last year's three games in the Dance when he averaged 17.7 points to help the Buckeyes reach the Elite Eight.

The question is whether or not he can keep it going but one thing's for certain, for all his warts, Ross seems to find another gear once the calendar flips to March. 


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gwalther's picture

If you're drafting players from this team in order of importance, Q has to be number 2 behind AC. He's been our one consistent offensive option all year, is generally competent  (to very good) on the boards, and has improved his defensive intensity and effort from last season. I am a fan.


Class of 2008

+2 HS
Knarcisi's picture

He seems to have a tough, competitive side to him that needs pulled out. Just seems like the jaws of death are needed to do it. I've been particularly pleased with his inside play. He could be a really special player on the next level if he can find it within himself. I'd love to see him stay another year, and dominate from start to finish. 

+1 HS
Nappy's picture

Great players step up when it matters most.  Although Ross looks completely out of control driving to the rim sometimes, he always manages to get a decent shot up.  We'll need his best effort yet to win today.

I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face

BoFuquel's picture

I picked 3 in the Aaron Craft over and under: I would love to be wrong, AGAIN. GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

Horvath22's picture

Thanks for the refresher, Chris.

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Q is finally stepping it up to become the dominant player that we thought he would be.  He's show flashes at times, but then other times we are looking for him.  Hopefully this will continue through the rest of the tournament games!  If it does then look out!

Go Bucks!!

ScarletNGrey01's picture

His game is silky smooth and effortless but at times he plays with great intensity and effort.  Fun to watch when he's in the zone.  That extra gear that Chris talks about definitely was there right after the technical, heck of a performance.

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

KBonay's picture

Love Ross. He's been ready to explode since last years Zona game. Great to see it happening. 

He needs to focus on his strengths & the team needs to realize those: catch & shoot or catch & drive. Can't give it to Ross standing still.  He's struggling on the dribble-drive because of the double. Keep him moving & shooting. 

+1 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

100% agreed - When the team is doing well and on their game defensively - you'll notice that Ross actually plays defense very well as if to say - I'll turn it up when I have to............ it just doesn't happen very often

2002osubuck's picture

It's really too bad that Craft has messed with his shot to the point he's a bad shooter. When he was a freshman  with buford, diebler and thomas he came in hit 3s and jumpers all the time. If he was a consistent shooter with Ross, this team would be incredible.

mrspray's picture

I recently watched a Craft highlight video that included several made three-pointers from the final four game against Kansas. I don't recall him being that much of a shooter...

In case you're curious, it's Mr. Spray