Slow Start by Ross Puzzling
By Rob Ogden
Ohio State forward LaQuinton Ross worked magic for the Buckeyes last March during the NCAA Tournament. Saturday, he made himself invisible.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Ross came into the season with high expectations surrounding him because of the way he performed at the end of last season, but hasn't lived up to those expectations through three games this year.
In the Buckeyes' 52-35 win at No. 17 Marquette on Saturday, Ross played just 18 minutes and didn't score a single point. He was 0-for-6 from the field and rode the bench for the final 14 minutes of the game.
So far this season, Ross ranks fifth on the team with 8 points per game and is shooting only 26.7 percent from the field.
Ross averaged 15 points off the bench for the Buckeyes during four NCAA Tournament games in March, and hit a game-winning shot to advance Ohio State to the Elite Eight.
Matta said the junior might have been trying too hard on Saturday.
"I think he was trying to get himself going," Matta said. "He probably pressed just a little too much early. When things didn't go well for him he wasn't as effective as we probably need him to be on a nightly basis."
Matta also said Ross needs to use better judgment when making in-game reads.
With Ross on the bench, Matta went to freshman Marc Loving, who played a career-high 22 minutes, though he had only three points.
If the Buckeyes are to become the type of offensive team they want to be, Matta knows they're going to need more from Ross.
"We need Q to play at his best level," he said. "W'eve shown him the things that need fixed and hopefully he sees it."
Shannon Scott scored a team-leading 13 points for the Buckeyes against Marquette. Scott, Ross's roommate, said one poor-shooting game won't deter Ross.
"I think Q will be fine honestly," he said. "He's been a scorer his whole life. Having one off game isn't gonna get to him. He's gonna stay positive and do what he has to do to make sure we succeed as a team."
Matta attributed some of Ross' struggles to a number of injuries the forward has had to deal with.
Even before the season began, Ross had inflammation in his shooting hand after bending it up against an opponent during a pre-season scrimmage. He had the hand in a cast until just a few days before the season began.
More recently, he banged up his left knee about a week ago, Matta said.
"He's pretty banged up right now to be honest with you," Matta said. "I knew the back of my mind, the more we could rest him, the better he would be."
We'll see if a rested Ross makes any difference when the Buckeyes face American on Wednesday.
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