Buckeyes Win Big Ten Opener
The Basketball Buckeyes kicked off an all Buckeye and Badger Saturday by rolling past the basketball Badgers, dominating from start to finish in an 83-58 win to open the Big Ten season. With the Buckeyes struggling to take care of the basketball in blowing leads in their last two games against Clemson and Butler, coach Chris Holtmann changed his starting lineup, inserting Kam Williams at the 2 and moving Jae’Sean Tate to the point and electing to bring C.J. Jackson off the bench. That change worked in spades as Tate and his teammates scorched the nets early, shooting nearly 80% from the floor in the first half, and hitting 7 for 7 from long range and 18 of 23 overall in route to a 23 point first half lead. The first half was all Buckeyes on both ends holding the badgers to just 5 made field goals.
Early in the second half it was more dominance as the Buckeyes turned to the post, feeding big man Kaleb Wesson and a 12-2 run early built the lead as large as 35 and the rout was on. Wesson led the Buckeyes with 19 and the double-double machine, Keita Bates-Diop finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds as the Buckeyes gave the Badgers their worst loss at Kohl Center since 1998. Tate added 16 and Jackson 10 as Ohio State opened the Big Ten season with a big road win.
So, Ohio State now sits at 6-3 and will play one more conference game in December, hosting Michigan on Monday. This team clearly has talent and after blowing leads in their last two losses, they clearly could be even better record wise. They have a chance with a home game next, to get the conference slate started with momentum. The Buckeyes lack depth but they have the ability as seen today, and can make some noise in an average conference and a road win at one of the more difficult venues proves that. When they are making shots like they were tonight, they are dangerous, but they showed in the second half how they can be especially good when they are starting the offense by going inside to Wesson who has a chance to be very special. The lineup change paid dividends today but long term bringing Jackson off the bench can be beneficial to him and the team by allowing him to understand how teams are defending and can come in a provide a spark. The future is certainly bright and days like this only excites me more because of the potential of how good this team can be. They won’t always shoot as well as they did in the first half, but the proved in the second half that they aren’t just one dimensional.
The Buckeyes continue the early season Big Ten play as they host the team up north on Monday evening at 6:30 PM in the Schott.
– Jason Harris