Three Things: Dayton

By Chris Lauderback on March 20, 2014 at 3:30p

Sam Thompson scored 18 points, Aaron Craft added 16 and LaQuinton Ross chipped in 10 but it wasn't enough to overcome 10 combined turnovers from Q and Craft, complete duds from Amir Williams and Lenzelle Smith Jr. and a game-winning shot by Dayton's Vee Sanford with :06 left. 

The loss stopped Ohio State's streak of four straight Sweet Sixteen appearances and ended the collegiate careers of Craft and Smith. 

Finishing the season at 25-10, the Buckeyes reached double-digit losses for the first time since the 2008-09 season (22-11).

Before closing the book on an early Dance exit, here's Three Things of note from the 60-59 defeat. 

how could you be so heartless?

Amir Williams, ladies and gentlemen. I knew it was trouble when in pregame warmups Amir was practically asleep, sprawled out on the floor, looking as if this lunchtime tip was going to be an issue. 

It was. 

Amir was so bad in the first half, he allowed a relative stiff in Matt Kavanaugh tally nine points on 4/5 shooting with a pair of boards and assists as Dayton took a 33-30 halftime lead. Kavanaugh hadn't scored more than nine points in a full game but twice in his previous 10 games. 

Williams was also consistently awful coming out top to hedge on ball screens and his lone turnover triggered a Flyer run out. Matta eventually opted to go with a small lineup due to Amir's ineffectiveness and Kavanaugh didn't score in the 2nd half. 

I don't write this with any rage as I fully expected this game to come down to the wire but Matta should really ask Amir if he likes playing basketball at all and if he wants to continue. He looks miserable out there. Shows no emotion and is so aloof his new thing is to stop and tie his shoes in the middle of play. 

I'm over it. If you can't play hard, you shouldn't be allowed to play here. 

seniors fall short

Craft stepped up with 16 big points today along with five boards, four steals and four assists but he also coughed it up five times. 

He hit a huge layup to give Ohio State a 59-58 lead with :17 left but on the ensuing possession, Sanford took him off the bounce for the go-ahead bucket and with one last gasp, Craft raced the length of the court but couldn't find the bottom of the cup on a driving layup in heavy traffic. 

Despite an outstanding career, Craft made too many uncharacteristic mistakes in back-to-back losses to Michigan and Dayton as he turned it over an almost unbelievable nine times and an ill-advised intentional foul on Jordan Sibert with 2:35 left that put Ohio State down by three. On a turnover by Dyshawn Pierre kept the play from being even more painful. 

Smith's postseason was nothing short of dreadful as scored 21 points in four games (5.3 ppg) on 7/25 shooting (28%). He didn't even do much on the glass averaging four per game.  Today, Matta even had to rip him during a timeout for loafing which is kind of sad to think about. 

Tough to see those two go out with consecutive defeats in such heartbreaking fashion. 


While the seniors, Smith in particular, failed to step up in the four-game postseason, junior Sam Thompson performed better each time out. 

He had a modest seven points each in the first two games but he gave the Buckeyes 11 key points on 5/7 in the loss to Michigan and today, he scored 18 points on 8/11 shooting with four boards and two steals as he tried to pick up the slack created by Q's shaky effort. 

The 18 points are 2nd most Thompson has scored in the 2014 calendar year (21 games) and mark just the sixth time during that span he reached double figures. 

When the year began, it was Thompson who many saw as on the verge of breaking out but it never came close to happening. Maybe this is the offseason where Thompson actually does make major strides? It's tough to chalk that up as a given but man could Matta use some consistent production from the will-be senior.


Comments Show All Comments

Jack Fu's picture

The loss stopped Ohio State's streak of three straight Sweet Sixteen appearances...


+1 HS
Jack Fu's picture

Despite an outstanding career, Craft made too many uncharacteristic mistakes in back-to-back losses to Michigan and Dayton as he turned it over an almost unbelievable nine times and an ill-advised intentional foul on Jordan Sibert with 2:35 left that put Ohio State down by three.

No, he had a below-average turnover rate three of his four years.

-9 HS
topgun67's picture

that wasn't what the writer wrote.  he's talking about last two games... Craft does weird things at end of games... error prone. the flagrant or intentional foul (whatever it was) was a BAD BAD move.... he's a senior and a leader, you just can't do that in NCAA tournament. 

Shannon's 3 point foul was another one...

Right there was the game breaker there... both w/ 2 min to go in the game...


+7 HS
Jack Fu's picture

What makes the mistakes "uncharacteristic" then? They sound pretty damn characteristic to me.

-6 HS
Johnny-Shane_Utah-Falco's picture

Jack Fu -- that stupid picture fits your troll comments perfectly.

Beat it, nerd.


-3 HS
topgun67's picture

i posted same message on other threads, but Amir needs to really look in the mirror and ask if he wants to be here.  Maybe we don't know some things going on between him and the school.  Maybe he isn't happy.  I do not know.  All I know is that he is the laziest BB player I've ever seen at OSU in 3 decades.  I am a disciplinarian by nature and I absolutely do not think he deserves a starting role here - no matter how much we need a big man.  Sit him down.  I think Matta did that in 2nd half, but throughout the season, I saw the same thing over and over.  The Junior needs to reflect, get out if he's not going to give his 100%.

LSJ:  i don't know what to say.  he cares, he hustles, but he just has not delivered this year.  good luck

Craft:  love him; but at end of games, just error prone.  did i say i love him... glad he was a Buckeye. 

What an awful year - in FB and BB

+5 HS
nburns18's picture

Amir doesnt deserve to be on the team. He just doesnt have the talent to compete in major college basketball. Send him somewhere else. He is a waste of space on this team

"You win with people." -Woody Hayes

+4 HS
Colerain 2004 G.O.A.T.'s picture

I think he has the talent but he just doesnt have the heart or desire needed. I imagine he takes the weight room and practice as serious as he does games and that is some what bothering. He needs to gain at least 20 lbs. of muscle and a strong desire for the game in the off season or they need to groom Q and Trey for the five next year and let Amir sit the bench and watch. It isnt over the top the guy plays softer then 95% of the women bucks.

I speak the truth but I guess that's a foreign language to yall.~~Lil Wayne

+5 HS
brandonbauer87's picture

Amir definitely deserves some blame, but I think he gets a pretty raw deal. A lot of the things people point out are true. The criticism is a little over the top to me, though. 

-3 HS
LouBuck35's picture

I disagree. Although he has talent down in there somewhere, his effort or lack thereof, is glaring. Can't have an impact in this game if you don't give all you have. He and Craft are on such opposite ends of the spectrum. I can look past not being able to put the ball in the basket, but you can't sleepwalk through the season and be blindly supported.

I want a fall Saturday in Ohio Stadium..

+10 HS
Mortc15's picture

Completely agree. Forget his talent or whatever, PLAY HARD OR GET OFF THE FLOOR. That clown show that is Amir Williams is PATHETIC to watch. It's blatantly obvious he gives no effort, doesn't go strong to the bucket, and doesnt have individual moves. His McDonald's All-American days are FAR behind him.


+6 HS
Shangheyed's picture

Fitting end to a disappointing season....

dubjayfootball90's picture

I have defended Amir up until about the last fourth of this season. I am sick of seeing him loaf down the court, play with zero emotion, with a lacking look, and being so damn soft down low, whipping balls at the backboard on layups (even just attempting layups in general, just slam it home, you can reach the freaking hoop by standing). I am done defending him. I understand sports, and I cannot believe he is showing absolutely no fire or interest... Done defending him, now just waiting until we can have an ACTUAL big man.

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

+9 HS
gwalther's picture

Have no fear about your late arrival, Dubjay. You will be welcomed into the Amir Critics Camp with open arms.

The motto is, "TREY MCDONALD 4 LIFE (not because he is awesome but because he plays with energy, passion, hits the boards hard, and can catch passes in the paint)!"

Class of 2008

+6 HS
johnblairgobucks's picture

.  I have not seen another post player in the country, and I've watched alot of college basketball, not have the instincts/desire to go to the blocks, put your ass to the basket and raise your arms high in the air to recieve a pass........ so natural for a post player, yet so not Amir.

Maybe he has 2 torn rotator cuffs, two torn pecs and two torn bicept muscles and we are just not aware.

+3 HS
TossTrap's picture

It's tough being Amir.

In grade school everyone made fun of him because he was freakishly tall.

Then when got older and someone told him he should be a basketball player so then he got popular because of his height. People just wanted to be around him because he could reach over most high schoolers and put a ball in a basket.

But now in college people expect something more than going through the motions.

How awful it would be for him he gets a shot at pro ball and someone asks him to show up several times a week.

First and goal at the five and Arch is getting the ball.

+3 HS
gm3jones's picture

Its tough watching someone with his skill and in his position show no heart. It will be tough to see what Amir does in life in general with no passion, heart, or fire.

There is nothing more remarkable as learning to think better.

Buckeye80's picture
How I felt nearly every time I watched Amir touch the ball this year:



+6 HS
gwalther's picture

Haha. x10000000

Class of 2008

buckeye4life050233's picture

That is awesome!!!!  couldn't agree more with the analogy either

DenBuck's picture

Amir makes me want to puke. Wish he was a SENIOR. He's terrible. 

Buckeye For Life

+4 HS
thatlillefty's picture

Amir has always been soft. I miss Ravs. And I'm really going to miss Craft. This sucks.

+5 HS
OvalBeachBum's picture

Soooo much yes.  Raven may not of had the raw talent or size, but by God you know he played hard and was always into the game.  I'll take that over the snorlax that is Amir any day...

"Well, thats just like, your opinion, man."  -The Dude

+2 HS
Toilrt Paper's picture

As the season went along it appeared as though other players didn't respond to Craft's on the floor coaching, Some as far as ignoring it.

+3 HS
Toilrt Paper's picture

Amir says he doesn't understand why Matta yells at him at every practice.

+9 HS
sivaDavis's picture

As a big man, I've always defended Amir but today was tough to watch. He was missing BUNNIES! Throwing them so hard off the backboard that they would lead to fast break chances. He can be so great sometimes but then again can be so awful. When he actually wants to play he can be a defensive force, great timing on blocks and being in the right position to defend but at other times he is just a body. I really think Amir's heart just isn't in basketball. It's not fun for him anymore. Crazy to think that but give me that size and an opportunity to play a sport I love at THE Ohio State University where I can play in front of 20k+ and get national exposure for NBA teams and I'll be in the gym everyday putting up shots and in the weight room training. You can't teach size but you also can't teach heart. I believe Amir only has one.

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

+3 HS
740's picture

had meetings all day. didn't even get a chance to watch.


that said: show some class. Lenzelle had a good career. to criticize him is ridiculous.


and, I don't care how bad Amir may have been. HIS team lost. He let HIS teammates down.


before we go verbally rampaging the character of a 21 year old kid for having a bad basketball game, maybe we should step back from the keyboard, have a little perspective and realize it's probably a lot more difficult to play d1 athletics than anybody on this message board imagines.

and to sell out craft for choking at the end of big games after all he's done for the university both academically and athletically is absurd beyond words. kid has more athleticism in his pinky, more integrity in his thumb, and more tenacity in his index finger than most of you have in your entire bodies.


it's fairly pathetic for middle-aged men to blame all their sorrows on innocent kids, especially when the most athletic thing they do themselves consists of high-fiving the toaster oven after an above-average pop-tart  browning.

+2 HS
GrayDay's picture

This article is on the money about Amir.  I've often wondered if he actually likes to play the game.  Don't mean that as an insult, and feel bad about the many harsh comments that are coming his way.  But he's kind of the opposite of the limited skill player who tries to make up for it with effort and love for the game (stark contrast to Craft).  Don't think Amir is a bad kid, or that he wants to let down his teammates, but basketball just seems like a job to him that he's never enjoyed. 

As for Craft, would we have even been competitive in this or many other games without him?  He's not perfect, but his mistakes come mostly from trying to play beyond his ability when sees no one else doing much around him.

+6 HS
wyatt's picture

The Bucks played like they were in mud, had low bb IQs, made stupid 3 point fouls, an intentional foul on a break away shot, the worst 3 point shooter in college basketball (Lenzelle) and had a center with hands taped shut (it seemed).  Sam Thompson was the only player who showed up in Buffalo.  Who would know Dayton in the best college basketball team in Ohio?

-1 HS
toad1204's picture

Everyone's riding Amir, what about LSJ.  Dude puts up more shots than the local alcoholic.  His D is superb (minus Stauskus shooting bulls eyes over him) but his offense has been lacking the last five games of the season (combined 10 of 35.). Would have hoped he would have kept up the 19 pt Indiana game output.

Best of luck to those, that move on.

What happened today at TWHAC?  I need something positive.

Nothing like dancing on the field in 02... 

-1 HS
BukFan's picture

Didn't we already realize we weren't very good??  Nobody should be angry at the results, we've stunk all year.

PittBuckeye's picture

Still should have won this game, yes they've stunk recently, but this Dayton team really didn't have anything that posed trouble for the Bucks. 

You let a team like that hang around though, and anything can happen, and it did.

+1 HS
thatlillefty's picture

Just watched some post game interviews with Craft over on The Dispatch. So depressing.

Dougger's picture

I'll never criticize someone for playing hard. Sometimes I didn't see that today. I can't imagine how frustrating that must have been for Thad. So many mental mistakes from a lot of players.

Beau Bishop IMO said it pretty well today; Craft thrived best as a role player, and did the best he could in this situation. Hats off to ya kid!

I like football

+1 HS
jkrk's picture

Unless the new recruits contribute next year, this is only going to get worse. Think about it: the only real production we lost from last year was Deshaun. Now we lose two, and possibly three, guys who have the ability to score in double figures and I don't see anyone already on this team stepping up to fill these kinds of roles. Sam Thompson, maybe. But he was supposed to do it this year and Q wasn't so all-world that there wasn't room for Sam to do it. Shannon Scott, no. The offense is never going to be consistent. If none of next year's freshmen start I'll be surprised if we do better than the NIT.

+1 HS
ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

I thought Matta was getting on Amir's di...back.  I'd say Matta needs to keep doing it, but if Amir needs someone to keep getting on his di...back, then maybe he should reconsider playing basketball. 

Class of 2010.

+2 HS
Johnny-Shane_Utah-Falco's picture

Did Kavanaugh rape a 17 year old girl?

-1 HS
Buckifan4Life's picture

When Amit finally leaves, it will be addition by subtraction. If he put as much effort into playing his position as he does getting tattoos, he might resemble an average big man in the NCAA.

I'm anxious to.see the Freshman that will be coming in. I hope they can develop quickly and make an impact.

OSUFlash's picture

Craft has the ball in his hands every single play of course he's gonna lead the team in turnovers. Doesn't the freakin QB always lead the team in interceptions. Craft is the reason we were leading late to begin with so blaming him for a silly foul with 2+ minutes is plain nonsense. Shannons foul with 30 seconds was the biggest bone head play of all along with Amir Williams even dressing for this game. But it still shouldn't have come to that.

The bottom line is we got beat by an average MAC team.....a MAC team!! That speaks volumes on maybe how this team over achieved all season winning 25 gmes. This loss subplanted the 2 losses to PSU as the most devastating in Mattas career. He needs to find a JUCO big ASAP for us to avoid a sub .500 season next year.

Pass the tylenol.


NCBuckeye2011's picture

I get what you're saying, but Dayton plays in the A10.

BuckeyeChris's picture

Giving Matta the full benefit of the doubt, not all teams are "coachable."  This team was making the same mistakes and forcing the same bad shots yesterday as they were in January. It was hard/frustrating to watch (for everyone, I'm sure).

Not all teams "click."

Not all teams can become great.

Better things to come next year (...or the next). 

Welcome to baseball season/football season eve. 

+1 HS
spqr2008's picture

Well, the good news is that I don't have to give the NCAA anymore money this year.  I can quit watching their cash cow, which is hopefully a nice punch in the nuts to Emmert.  I already feel like I've overpaid them by $3.07.

+1 HS
Ball-Z-Buck's picture

IMHO - Craft tried to do to much at the end of games because nobody else on the team wanted the ball and was willing to take a shot. That includes Scott, Smith and Ross. Williams is a different story all together.....I refrain from comment.

OSUGoBucks414's picture

Craft should have passed it to Ross for a buzzer beater that goes IN.

I'm not trying to win popularity poles, I'm trying to win football games. -Woody Hayes