November 12, 2010

Here we go

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Buckeyes made quick work of the Aggies from North Carolina A&T fueled by true freshman DeShaun Thomas and his 24 points, eight rebounds as the Buckeyes opened the 2010 season with style in a 102-61 win. Things will get dramatically more difficult with a road date with the Florida Gators in the offing in less than a week.

Dallas Lauderdale recorded his first career double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds (and 8 blocks) against a small Aggie team. Jared Sullinger had 19 points and 14 rebounds for his first official double-double for the Buckeyes. William Buford and David Lighty each scored in double figures to represent the veteran players.

But even with all of the positives of the game there is no denying that the Buckeyes did have a little bit of a slow start and there will be plenty to review leading into a trip to Gainesville (Fla.) next week in front of a national audience.

"I thought we had great looks and didn't shoot the ball particularly well but the rebounding was definitely a difference in the game and I felt that we did a very good job of getting on the glass and rebounding the ball off of the misses," Ohio State head coach Thad Matta said.

Ohio State ended up shooting 48-percent for the game and held North Carolina A&T to 38-percent shooting. The Buckeyes were dominant on the glass during the game and racked up 60 total boards including 30 on the offensive glass.

"They had more offensive rebounds than I did total," Aggie head coach Jerry Eaves said after the game about his team's 22 total rebounds against the Buckeyes.

Thomas showed his muscle early in the game and put up a team high 15 points early. Thomas scored inside and outside hitting two of his three point attempts as well as cleaning up the mess several times on missed Ohio State shots.

"I was feeling it, when I was on the bench I was just ready to play and that is what you got to do when you are on the bench and come out and play hard and that is what I did," Thomas said.

Matta subbed in for freshman point guard Aaron Craft at the 15:51 mark of the first half when the Ohio State offense started to stall. Craft continues to be a productive player on the court and his eight points were overshadowed by his nine assists to go along with zero turnovers. Sullinger has been playing alongside Craft for some time now and knows that people don't know what they are getting into going against him.

"Craft is the glue guy and he keeps everybody together," Sullinger said. "Whatever it takes he will do. He is a great defender and he also knows his role... a lot of people take him lightly also. They see a little kid out there and they think they can pressure him and next thing you know he makes a move and drops off to Dallas for a dunk and nobody realizes how good Craft can be."

Lenzelle Smith Jr. saw his first action of the season coming off of a wrist injury that cost him his summer and fall practice. The Buckeyes were able to keep all ten players who went into the game to less than 30 minutes apiece.

The Aggies had two players go for 14 points with Marc Hill and Nic Simpson but Eaves knew that his style of play would put his team at an extreme disadvantage trying to press the Buckeyes and play very up tempo.

"Our team's goal was to score 70 points and worry more about ourselves," Eaves said.

The Aggies were not able to reach that number but Eaves added that his team needed this in order to make a run in the MEAC portion of his season.

The Buckeye perimeter shooting will have to bounce back during the next game with Ohio State going 5-22 from beyond the arc including a 3-8 night for Jon Diebler and a 0-3 night for Lighty. But when the bigs combine for 50 points (Sullinger, Thomas and Lauderdale).



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