Mark L. Baer
Back-to-back games with a seven man rotation caught up to the Dawgs. They came out strong but faded as the game went along. Washington stayed tight with the fourth-ranked Buckeyes through the first ten minutes despite Deshaun Thomas making his first six shot attempts.
The high post offense was successful for most of the first half and had flashes in the second half, but the Dawgs never consistently put together a strong half-court offense which ultimately led to their demise.
Time for some Dots. These are some deflated Dots for a deflating game. I'm really scraping the bottom of the barrel to find deflated Dots, as the Dots are generally fantastic.
- On the whole, the offense looked solid if unspectacular. When in transition the Huskies found open looks. The struggles came in igniting the fast breaks. Ohio State battled for every rebound, and Washington almost never had a clean catch and outlet pass. The few fastbreak opportunities were typically when Abdul Gaddy grabbed a long rebound.
Layups are considered the easiest shot in basketball. To be specific, uncontested or just slightly contested layups are the easiest baskets in basketball. Somebody should tell that to Desmond Simmons and Aziz N'Diaye. Simmons missed two nearly wide open attempts at the basket and N'Diaye missed at least one himself, maybe more. They were missed at times when a scoring run was either in the making or when a run was sorely needed.
- Thomas was fantastic for Ohio State. He battled for rebounds and hit a few jump shots. He is not a great jump shooter, but passable. Today he finished anything within ten feet of the hoop and was generally accurate on any attempt outside of the ten feet.
The statsheet shows that he has four offensive rebounds and eight total. That understates the effect he had underneath the basket on rebounds. Whenever a shot went up, Thomas was scrapping underneath the hoop with Simmons, N'Diaye and Jernard Jarreau. He was the reason Washington was unable to get out in transition and play their preferred style of basketball. He stayed low, beneath the taller Huskies, which did not allow for the clean catch and outlet pass as stated above. Thomas just kept pushing until the ball was finally caught by someone, anyone. By that time the Buckeyes were set up defensively.
- The scoring came from C.J. Wilcox and Abdul Gaddy with a little bit of Scott Suggs sprinkled in. Suggs actually had the most shot attempts in the game sans Deshaun Thomas. His shot was just a bit off today, characterized by his 4-13 performance. Suggs' shot selection left some to be desired, as he took quite a few contested long twos and several threes with time left on the shot clock. Now, he wasn't absolutely smothered, but they were shots that shouldn't be taken with 15 seconds remaining in the possession.
Gaddy was efficient offensively, with 15 points on 4-6 shooting. He was not afraid to let the ball fly from deep when he was left alone as he hit three of his four attempts from beyond the arc. He had three assists but should have had more if N'Diaye and Simmons finished their easy lay-ups.
Wilcox had a quiet 17 points. He hit open jumpers but did little else. He has yet to show strong ability to attack the basket despite all of the physical tools being there. I missed the Seton Hall game thanks to amazing Wave Broadband not having WatchESPN access, so I personally have not seen him attempt a free throw all season. Regardless, a team's best free throw shooter who also happens to be 6'5 with hops and speed should be attempting more than 1.7 free throws per game.
Part of this is how he is being used in the high post offense. He is being run off of screens and almost all plays run for him are for three point attempts. It would be nice to see how he would do in isolation or curling off of screens instead of coming off of screens directly into three-point attempts. He is extremely good at the three ball of course, one of the best in the country, but he has the potential to be so much more.
- The last Dot is just being used to scream COMMUNICATION ON DEFENSE. I know you can't hear me, but whatever voice you hear in your head that is me when you read (I would hope it is the Men's Warehouse owner, that guy's voice is awesome) imagine it screaming. If Ohio State ran more screen-and-roll plays then the game wouldn't have been nearly as close as it was.