Five Thing We Learned in a Win Over Maryland
By John Porentas
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Buckeyes never trailed in a solid win over Maryland, Here's five things we learned along the way.
Photo by Jim Davidson
1) Aaron Craft can still control a game with his effort. The box score shows Craft with 10 points, five steals and six assists, but that doesn't come close to telling the full story. Craft made life miserable for Maryland on the perimeter, and that in no small part helped produce a 2-18 shooting night from three point range for the Terps. There was one play in the game that kind of summed it up. Maryland's final possession at the end of the half began with the shot clock off and Maryland dribbling down the clock to get the last shot. Craft would have none of that and got the steal, then got a pass to Sam Thompson that he converted into two points for the Buckeyes as the clock expired. It was a deflating play for Maryland, and set the tone for the second half.
2) Amir can still disappear. After being very productive in his last few outings, Amir Williams was pretty quiet against Maryland, at least offensively. He ended up with five points on 1-2 shooting from the field and 2-5 shooting from the free throw line. Perhaps more perplexing is his one rebound in 28 minutes of play. Thad Matta agreed that this was not a great outing for Amir, but defended him some by saying that Amir ended up contesting shots on the defensive end that had him out of position to rebound. He did have three blocked shots and his counterpart, Maryland starting center Shaquille Cleare, was held to two points and no rebounds.
3) Sam can finish. That's not new of course, but Sam Thompson may have set a new standard for himself when it comes to slam dunk finishes. Thompson said after the game that the last time he had as many dunks as he had in this game was back in high school. His rapport with Craft and Shannon Scott, combined with his athleticism, make him a wondrous thing to watch on the fast break. Matta added after the game that whenever he runs the floor defenses have to adjust, and many times that in itself leads to easy finishes for other Buckeyes as the opposition concentrates on Sam.
4) Thad doesn't really fully trust his bench yet. Thad has been spreading around the minutes pretty well this season, but he was a lot more stingy with them for his bench against Maryland. In the first half Marc Loving, Amedeo Della Valle and Trey McDonald logged a combined 10 minutes, far below that they had been seeing of late. By comparison, Sam Thompson had 14 minutes in the first half.
5) LaQuinton Ross is playing better, but may be in Thad's dog house a little. Ross was en fuego in the first half, knocking down four of five three point attempts and putting up 17 points in the first half. When his shot is falling it is a thing of beauty. He also had a team-high five rebounds in the first half. For some reason, Ross only logged 13 minutes in the second half and ended up with 20 points. As they had after the last game against North Florida, the media on hand for the game asked to interview Ross after the game, and were told they could do so, but for the second-straight game, when the interviews started, Ross was no where to be found. According to a spokesman for the OSU Department of Athletic Communications, the decision to not make Ross available was the decision of Coach Matta. No further explanation was given. For the record, it is unusual for the high scorer in a game not to be made available, and Ross was the high scorer in both the North Florida game and the Maryland game.
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