Buckeyes Find a Way to Win Over Delaware
By Rob Ogden
Even on an off night, good teams find ways to win, and the Buckeyes find ways to win convincingly.
Despite many poor shooting stretches and defensive lapses throughout the game, Ohio State beat Delaware 76-64 Wednesday night inside Value City Arena.
The Buckeyes (11-0) had by far their poorest night shooting the basketball in nearly a month, yet still finished with five guys in double figures and another double-digit win.
Ohio State opened the game just 1-of-9 from the floor and trailed 9-3 before it could get its second shot to fall.
"We had practiced very well leading into this game and we came out and just weren't as sharp as we needed to be on both ends of the floor," coach Thad Matta said. "Sometimes you have some games where it's not clicking the way you want it to. The difference between good teams and great teams is that great teams can figure it out."
The Buckeyes went back-and-forth with the Blue Hens (5-6) and trailed five times throughout the first half.
"We missed some layups early and I think that affected us a little," point guard Aaron Craft said after the game. "They made a couple shots early that made us a little hesitant to help off of certain people."
The Buckeyes trailed 26-25 with 3:31 remaining in the half but went on a 12-0 to end the half and take a 37-26 lead at the break.
LaQuinton Ross, who had a game-high 19 points, had eight points on the eventual 15-0 run that extended into the second half.
The run was aided by Delaware coach Monte Ross, who picked up a technical foul with four seconds remaining in the half.
Matta said the run was a game-changer.
"Things weren't going well for us early, but we finished the first half on a strong note, and that was probably the difference in the game for us," he said.
Ohio State extended the lead to 16 points with more than 10 minutes remaining in the game, but couldn't sustain it, and Delaware eventually cut the lead to eight.
The Buckeyes struggled to sustain energy on both ends of the floor, but were aided by the bench, which provided 20 points.
Sam Thompson had only three points, but played 30 minutes off the bench because of the defensive energy he brought to the floor.
Lenzelle Smith Jr. scored 14 points to mark his seventh-consecutive game in double figures while Craft added 12.
Amir Williams had 11 points and 12 rebounds for his third-career double-double and Amedeo Della Valle provided 10 points off the bench.
Despite having five players in double figures, something was just off about the performance. Neither Matta nor Craft were able to put their finger on exactly what it was, but both said it needs to be corrected.
"Sometimes you have to find a way to win without putting the ball in the bucket," Craft said. "The best part is we found a way to win. We need to find a way to get better and move on."
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