What We Learned From Ohio State's 85-67 Exhibition Victory Over Walsh

By Tim Shoemaker on November 6, 2016 at 6:01 pm
Kam Williams scores two against Walsh.

Ohio State returned to the hardwood Sunday for an exhibition against Walsh. Thanks to a 16-3 run early in the second half, the Buckeyes came away with a 85-67 victory.

Sophomore point guard JaQuan Lyle led the way with 14 points and six rebounds as Ohio State put four players in double figures. Keita Bates-Diop finished with 12 points, Kam Williams scored 11 and Jae'Sean Tate had 10 points and four boards.

It was a first half that featured plenty of whistles as the two teams combined for 28 fouls in the first 20 minutes. The Buckeyes held a 40-32 edge at the break behind 12 first-half points from Lyle and nine from Bates-Diop.

Here are some things we learned from Ohio State's victory against the Cavaliers. 

1. The Starters

Ohio State returned all five starters from last year's team so many figured the Buckeyes would have the same starting five for this season. However, head coach Thad Matta made one change ahead of Sunday's exhibition.

True freshman Micah Potter started at center in place of Trevor Thompson. Potter joined Lyle, Tate, Bates-Diop and Marc Loving in the first unit.

Potter has earned praise throughout the summer and preseason practice from coaches and fellow players for his offensive capabilities and work ethic. Against Walsh, he finished with six points and five rebounds in 16 minutes.

2. This Team Has Bodies

Matta played all 11 scholarship players in the first half of the game and it appears as if playing time is there for the taking. 

Thompson and Kam Williams were the first two off the bench for the Buckeyes and sophomore transfer C.J. Jackson soon followed. Andre Wesson and Derek Funderburk also provide Ohio State with some depth on the wing and David Bell played solid minutes at the center position as both Potter and Thompson were saddled with foul trouble in the first half.

3. Ohio State Needs an Aggressive Keita Bates-Diop

The junior forward is perhaps the Buckeyes' most talented player and if he can take a leap in his third season Ohio State has a chance to be pretty good.

Bates-Diop finished with 12 points on 4-for-5 shooting in only 21 minutes, but what was most impressive was he seemed more decisive in this game than most of last year. Bates-Diop knew what he wanted to do when he touched the ball and there wasn't much hesitation.

This was perfectly illustrated early in the second half when Bates-Diop grabbed a rebound then pushed the ball the length of the floor, went behind his back around a defender and then dunked on a Walsh player.

4. Point Guards Complements

Lyle is the clear-cut starter and arguably the most important player on this team, but C.J. Jackson provided some very solid minutes when he got into the game.

Jackson and Lyle are different kinds of players as Lyle is a scoring guard and Jackson is more of a true point guard. Jackson comfortably ran the show during his time on the floor and finished with five points and six assists in 15 minutes. 

5. New-Look Offense?

It's hard to totally gauge it live, and the quality of opponent needs to be taken into consideration — Walsh is a Division II team — but Ohio State seemed to be getting more open shots and didn't rely as much on one-on-one play as it did last year. 

That could be a reflection of Chris Jent's addition to the staff as Jent returned to place Jeff Boals in the offseason. Again, it's an exhibition game against a Division II school, but it's certainly something to monitor going forward.

Ohio State begins its real season Friday as the Buckeyes travel to play Navy as part of the Veterans Classic.

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