Unlikely Duo Leads Buckeyes Past American
By Rob Ogden
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Less than a year ago, few could have imagined a game in which Amir Williams and Shannon Scott would be the Buckeyes' two leading scorers, but those were the two players that strolled into the postgame interview room Wednesday night following Ohio State's (4-0) 63-52 win over American (1-2).
The juniors were the only two Buckeyes in double-figures as Williams scored a career-high 16 points and Scott added 13, and a career-high 9 rebounds.
The pair combined for an average of just 8.4 points per game last season, but have emerged as two of the team's top scoring threats through four games this season.
"We've got a better attitude this year," Scott said. "We know we've got to be guys on this team that can make plays."
Scott is the team's leading scorer, averaging 12.5 points per game.
Williams has scored in double figures twice this season and leads the team with 6.8 rebounds per game.
Williams said he can trace his improvement back to the work he did in the offseason.
"I've just been working my tail off in the offseason and in practice trying to develop some moves and it's beginning to show," he said. "I'm beginning to become more confident. Seeing that ball go in the basket just gives me more and more confidence."
Confidence, coach Thad Matta said, is what his cold-shooting team lacks.
The Buckeyes got off to a sluggish start for the second consecutive game and shot just 25.9 percent from the floor in the first half.
They finished the game 3-of-16 from 3-point range.
"Shooting can be contagious," Matta said. "We've shot it well in practice but for whatever reason, (poor shooting) permeated throughout the team today. Fortunately we kept defending and were able to come away with the win."
Ohio State struggled to knock down even open looks. Aside form Williams and Scott, no other Buckeye made more than two field goal attempts.
"There were a lots of times when we made great plays and got great looks, but just didn't make the shot," Scott said.
The man many expected to be lighting up the stat sheet offensively for the Buckeyes, LaQuinton Ross, sat for most of the second half for the second consecutive game.
Ross played just 18 minutes against Marquette and 19 against American. He has just four points in those two games and is 4-of-23 from the field in his past three.
"I'm a little puzzled, because Q's a great basketball player," Matta said. "You can't make the same mistakes over and over again. He can play great basketball. He's going to play great basketball, hopefully sooner than later."
The Buckeyes got 9 points each from point guard Aaron Craft and freshman forward Marc Loving.
Despite a poor shooting day, Ohio State's defense generated much of the offense as the Buckeyes were able to turn 27 American turnovers into 26 points.
American coach Mike Brennan said he thought Ohio State was well prepared for the Princeton-style offense run by the Eagles.
Still, Scott said, the Buckeyes can be better.
"We were playing great defense at times, then we kind of let up," he said. "We've got to be more consistent and we've gotta keep pushing."
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