5 Things We Learned About the Buckeyes in their Season-opening Win Over Morgan State
By John Porentas
It's just one game into the season, but there were certain things that you just couldn't help but notice in OSU's season-opening win against Morgan State. We know it's early, and things can change, but for now, this is what we think we learned about OSU in the win over The Bears.
1) Shannon Scott can be a difference maker: Shannon Scott arrived on the OSU campus with a big reputation and high expectations. His freshman year he didn't live up to them, not by a long shot. His sophomore year was better, but not close to what was expected. Now, however, watch out. In the season opener Scott showed something that has been woefully missing from his game, the ability to his the 3-point shot. He knocked down three of them in the first two minutes of the game against Morgan State and looked comfortable doing it. That sent the message that this was going to be a long day for the Bears. If Scott can do that with any kind of consistency at all this season, it's going to be a long day for a lot of OSU opponents. Scott's ability to shoot the three will force defenses to play up on him, and if they do, he will be able to use his quickness to go by them for layups. Additionally, the 3-point threat will also prevent opposing defenses from packing it in the paint, and that will open things up for perpetrators like Aaron Craft, Lenzelle Smith and LaQuinton Ross. It could take this Buckeye team to the next level, and they weren't exactly as a beginner's level last season.
2) Thad Matta may just get the balanced offense he wants. After years of having dominant scorers like Deshaun Thomas, Jared Sullinger and Evan Turner in the lineup, this year's team will have to be far more balanced in the scoring. Against Morgan State, five Buckeyes reached double figures, and everyone that played double-digit minutes scored at least four points or more. Teams will not be able to take away one scorer to cripple the OSU offense. They get offense from too many places for that strategy to work, and that will make them a tougher team to defend.
3) Thad Finally Has a Long Bench: Nine players saw double-digit minutes of playing time against, and all nine of them contributed and looked like competent players. Each player brought a little something different to the table, and the number of combinations and different skill sets Matta can put on the floor is staggering. That will make it tough to game plan against OSU. Additionally, OSU can play fast without worrying to much about fatigue. The next guy in will be reliable, so there will be no reason to not give your all when you are on the floor.
4) LaQuinton Ross can be more than a scorer. Ross came to OSU with the reputation of being a scorer, and he flashed that last season. Now, however, he appears to have added to his game. Ross led all rebounders with 11 against Morgan State, and in the process registered the first double-double of his career. His 11 rebounds are a career-high. He also is playing credible defense and is not a liability at the defensive end of the court. If he can score and continue to rebound, he will be an incredible asset to this team.
5) The Buckeyes will get some production out of the post position. The combination of Amir Williams and Trey McDonald scored 10 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, and blocked two shots against Morgan State. Neither man had a big day, but combined it was enough to give the Buckeyes some reasonable production at the post position at both ends of the floor. They are rather different players, with Williams having more size and good shot blocking ability. McDonald on the other hand is not as big, but is quicker and has the ability to guard quicker post players. The post may not be OSU's strongest position, they will surely be a perimeter team this year, but it also won't be the liability that it was at times last year.
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