So Far Lineup Change Helping Buckeyes
By Rob Ogden
Three games – and three wins – after junior guard Shannon Scott asked to be removed from the starting lineup, the results have varied.
Scott said he made the move to get Sam Thompson going. Thompson had been struggling during a rough month of January for the entire team, and replaced Scott in the starting lineup.
Although he said the change was intended to help his teammate, it has appeared to affect Scott in a positive way, as well.
From Jan. 12 against Iowa through Jan. 29 vs. Penn State, Scott had 19 points in five games. In the three games since making the change, he's scored 29 points and shot 50 percent from the field.
"I feel like I got my edge back a little bit," Scott said. "I feel like if you come off the bench you've got to bring a spark to the team, and that's what I've been trying to do."
The change hasn't been bad for Thompson, either.
The junior forward struggled in the two games prior to the lineup change. He attempted only six shots and made only one.
But in the three games since, he's been looking for his shot more, and is shooting 50 percent from the floor.
But even though the lineup appears to have given the pair a boost, coach Thad Matta isn't convinced it's the one he's going to roll with for the remainder of the season.
"I don't know," Matta said. "I didn't like the start we got off to (vs. Purdue Saturday), being down 6-2 at the first timeout, but I love the way Shannon's playing right now in terms of his energy, and coming in and really giving us a spark in terms of his energy on defense. It looks like he's playing with a lot more confidence offensively."
Thompson started all 37 games for the Buckeyes last season, and Scott came off the bench in each one.
One thing that Matta said he does prefer about the lineup is that it allows him to give senior point guard Aaron Craft a breather when Scott is able to come in and play the point off the bench.
Since Scott began coming off the bench, Craft and Scott have spent fewer possessions per game on the floor together – meaning each of them get more time playing on the ball while the other sits.
Before college, point guard was all Scott knew, so he had to get used to playing off the ball when he got to Ohio State, where Craft had already established himself as the team's primary point guard.
Scott said at times he used to defer to Craft, but he said it's not a hinder to play with Craft. Matta and Craft agreed.
"I would hope I don't make Shannon worse when I'm on the floor," Craft joked.
Scott described playing on the ball as different, but not better.
"It doesn't really get me going more," he said. "I know I gotta make different decisions and be more of a creator for other players."
But results don't lie. 3-5 in the Big Ten with Scott in the starting lineup, 3-0 since.
"I think the way Shannon has been playing, that's the Shannon we want to see in terms of aggression on both sides of the ball," Matta said. "He's looking to score, he's looking to disrupt and he's really good at that."
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