Five Things We Learned is Solid Drubbing of Bryant
By John Porentas
1) The Buckeyes really are their best when they play great defense. Thad Matta has been saying if for years, but it was never so apparent as it was against Bryant: when the Buckeyes play great defense other aspect of their game is better. OSU force 19 turnovers, produced 13 steals and blocked 10 shots in playing 40 minutes of smothering defense. While doing so their offense was precise, efficient and effective. OSU shot 52.5 percent from the field and 40 percent from three. They had only 8 turnovers and 16 assists on 32 made baskets, but it all started on the defensive end. More defensive efforts like that will lead to a pile of victories this year.
2) Lenzelle Smith is a lot better than people think. Smith was terrific against Bryant, scoring a game-high 19 points on 6-9 shooting from the field. He also eight rebounds and three assists. As usual, he was also outstanding on the defensive end. A lot of the preseason questions surrounding this team centered on replacing Deshaun Thomas as a scorer. They may not replace him, but what they can do is replace his scoring by several players taking up the scoring slack. They seem to be making progress with that, but they still need someone who is consistent night after night scoring the basketball. So far Smith has surprised a lot of people by being that guy this year. He has raised his level of play at the offensive end and the Buckeyes are better off for it. He is currently leading the team in scoring at 12.9 points per game and is shooting 53 percent from the field including 48 percent from three.
3) There's still room for improvement. The Buckeyes are playing well, but even in the rout of Bryant they did not exactly dominate on the glass. Bryant and the Buckeyes each had 38 rebounds, but Bryant had 16 offensive boards to OSU's 10. The Buckeyes have to do a better job on the glass. They also failed to finish on several fast break opportunities. They can get away with that against Bryant, but it will come back to haunt them in league play if they don't get that straightened out.
4) Lenzelle plays better when he's mad. Following the game Thad Matta acknowledged that Smith is playing his best basketball this season. He also asked reporters not to tell Lenzelle that. Matta said Smith seems to play best when he has a chip on his shoulder, and right now he seems to have that going for him. Matta doesn't want a lot of praise from reporters mellowing out Smith and affecting his game.
5) There is still room for a fan favorite at OSU. Walk on Jake Lorbach got three minutes at the end of the game and made the most of them. He got loose on a fast break and scored on a two-handed dunk that brought cheers from the crowd and an exuberant chest bump for Amedeo Della Valle who was also on the court at the time. Lorbach got two more shots up and made them both to score six points. Each of his baskets were cheered roundly by the crowd. He may not see a whole lot of minutes this year, but when he does get on the court there will be a buzz. He definitely has caught the imagination of OSU basketball fans.
Other Bryant Coverage
Buckeyes Produce 40 Minutes of Mayhem
Two Minute Drill - Post-game comments
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