Ohio State Is On Fire From Three-Point Land, Keying a 10-1 Start to the Season

By Chris Lauderback on December 20, 2019 at 9:20 am
Kaleb Wesson, Duane Washington Jr. and Luther Muhammad leading Ohio State's three-point brigade.

When a team wins 10 of its first 11 games, plenty of things are going right. 

For Chris Holtmann's squad, one of the more surprising things going right is its ability to consistently drain threes. 

So far this season, the Buckeyes are shooting a sizzling 41.6 percent from beyond the arc, good for the 6th-best mark in the country entering last night's games. 

Last season, Ohio State made just 34.1 percent of its three-point tries, good for 191st in the nation. 

The improvement is even more impressive when you consider the three-point line was moved back to 22 feet, 1 3/4 inches this year after the line stood 20 feet, 9 inches for the previous 11 seasons.  

2019-20* 41.6 6
2018-19 34.1 190
2017-18 35.3 152
2016-17 35.6 138
2015-16 33.4 232
2014-15 37.0 63
2013-14 32.4 263
2012-13 35.6 87
2011-12 33.3 215
2010-11 42.3 1 

The Buckeyes aren't living and dying by the three-point shot, ranking 27th in made three-pointers per game at 9.6, however that figure stands tall against last year's squad which made 7.5 triples per contest, good for 191st nationally. 

Holtmann's squad is only about a third of the way through the regular season so we've got a long way to go but it's impossible not to be encouraged by the shot making fans have seen thus far. 

Should Ohio State keep up its 41.6 percent shooting clip, it would be the best mark since the 2010-11 Buckeyes led the country making threes at a rate of 42.3 percent.

You might remember that squad for going 34-3 powered by names like Jared Sullinger, Jon Diebler, William Buckets, David Lighty, Deshaun Thomas and Aaron Craft, although they fizzled against Kentucky in a Sweet Sixteen heartbreaker. 

Even if this year's group can't sustain its current hot shooting, it's worth noting an Ohio State squad hasn't shot even 37 percent since the 2014-15 season. 

Powering Ohio State's scorching start from distance so far this season are Duane Washington Jr., Kaleb Wesson and Luther Muhammad. 

Washington Jr., a sophomore out of Grand Rapids, Michigan was unconscious through the team's first nine games, making 53.7 percent of his three-point tries before a rib injury forced him to miss the last two games. It's probably not a coincidence Ohio State's lone defeat this season, at the hands of Minnesota on the road, came with Washington Jr. unable to play. 

When on the floor, Washington Jr. has made at least two triples and shot 50 percent or better from beyond the arc in seven of nine contests. 

Andre Wesson
Andre Wesson is shooting 41.2 percent from beyond the arc so far this season (14-of-34).

Against three of the best teams Ohio State has played - Villanova, North Carolina and Penn State - he made 12-of-20 three point tries, good for a blistering 60 percent. 

Holtmann recruited Washington Jr. to hoist the rock but after he shot an erratic 30.6 percent from distance as a freshman, his season-to-date is still nothing short of shocking. 

Joining Washington Jr. on the splash parade is big man Kaleb Wesson. The local product entertained the notion of turning pro after last season but opted to return to Ohio State in an effort to improve his draft stock. 

His body transformation has received the most headlines and with a slimmer build and better conditioning, Wesson has also honed his outside shot. 

After shooting 34.7 percent from beyond the arc last season (26-of-75), Wesson is hitting threes at a 45.9 percent clip so far this year (17-of-37). He's also on a seven-game streak of hitting at least one three and he's connected from deep at least once in nine of 11 games including a 4-of-6 night against Penn State two weeks ago. 

Also getting in on the action is guard Luther Muhammad. 

The sophomore from Newark, New Jersey is shooting 50 percent from distance so far this season, connecting on 15-of-30 tries. He's made a three in nine of 11 games and like Wesson, lit up Penn State hitting on 4-of-5 attempts. 

Muhammad's resurgence is great to see after he limped down the stretch of his freshman campaign, missing 24 of his final 30 three-point attempts. He did have a great start to his freshman season and ended up shooting 37.5 percent from behind the arc for the full season (36-of-96). This, of course, begs the question of whether or not he can avoid another swoon in the back half of the schedule. 

Senior wing Andre Wesson is shooting just a hair below the team average from distance so far this year, connecting at a 41.2 percent mark (14-of-34) which is a major improvement over his 33.6 percent average from last season. 

The other two regulars in the rotation to attempt at least 25 three-pointers so far, freshman guard DJ Carton is shooting a respectable 37.5 percent (12-of-32) while junior point guard CJ Walker stands at 38.5 percent (10-of-26). 

As Muhammad showed last year, it's a long season and shooting percentages can fluctuate significantly over the course of 30+ games. But so far, Ohio State's blistering shooting from distance has them right in the thick of the national picture. 

Keeping up this current pace would go a long way toward making a run at a Big Ten title and an high seed in the NCAA tournament. 

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