Buckeyes Down Bryant



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Last updated: 12/11/2013 11:56 PM
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Men's Basketball
Buckeyes Produce 40 Minutes of Mayhem to Down Bryant
By Rob Ogden

The Buckeyes put up 86 points Wednesday night, but the number coach Thad Matta was most proud of after the game was 40 — as in 40 minutes.

Ohio State defeated Bryant 86-48 inside Value City Arena and put together one of only a few complete-40 minute performances this season.

"That was something we talked about during shoot-around," Matta said. "Sustaining that effort and intensity."

Mission accomplished.

The Ohio State defense harassed the Bulldogs all night and limited them to 27.6 percent shooting from the floor.

The Buckeyes put together maybe their most disruptive defensive performance of the year, grabbing 13 steals, blocking 10 shots and forcing 19 turnovers, which they tuned into 22 points.

"That's just when we're playing our best basketball," said Lenzelle Smith Jr, who scored a game-leading 19 points. "It's exciting for us. It gets us going on offense. Our transition game is great for this team right now."

Lenzelle Smith
Photo by Dan Harker
Lenzelle Smith

The Buckeyes have always been capable of this type of defensive performance, but haven't always put it together. That was the case Saturday in a 74-56 win over Central Connecticut State.

"(Saturday) we saw some things happening well for us initially so we relaxed on defense and decided to trade baskets but coach got on us," Smith said. "The way we want to play in March, we have to start working on those things right now. So tonight we came out with our foot on the gas."

Bryant coach Tim O'Shea gave all the credit for his team's struggles to the Buckeyes, who he called the "elite of the elite."

"Very few teams have scored 60 points on them," O'Shea said. "They play national championship-caliber defense. They've got the length, they've got the shot blocking, they've got the quickness. I'm very impressed."

Ohio State held Bryant scoreless for the final 5:25 of the first half, and took a 43-23 lead into the break.

In the second half, the Buckeyes held Bryant to 8-of-33 shooting from the floor including 2-of-14 from 3-point range.

Ohio State was led offensively by Smith and Amir Williams, who finished with 12 points and 9 rebounds.

Smith, who said his confidence is "off the chart" right now, shot 6-for-9 from the floor including 2-of-4 from 3, and generated many open looks as Bryant left him open to double-team others.

O'Shea said deciding which Buckeye to gamble on is a case of pick your poison.

"They're so talented," he said. "Who do you really want to leave open?"

Matta was quick to praise Smith — though was careful not to give him too much credit.

"He's playing at a very, very high level and being a complete basketball player," Matta said. "I would ask you not to give him credit because he plays better when he's got a chip on his shoulder."

LaQuinton Ross and Marc Loving added 9 points, a piece.

Box Score

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