#16 Buckeyes Dominate #10 Villanova, move to 3-0
Ohio State started fast and poured it on, dominating in all areas of the basketball game, hammering visiting 10th ranked Villanova 76-51 before a near sellout crowd at the Schottenstein Center. Duane Washington led five Buckeyes in double figures with 14. Kaleb Wesson added 10 points and 11 rebounds for his second straight double double. D.J. Carton scored 11 to go along with 5 rebounds and 5 assists and C.J. Walker added 10 points and 7 dimes. Luther Muhammad also chipped in 11 for the winning Buckeyes.
It was all Buckeyes from the jump as the Buckeyes offense caught fire early. Back to back early threes from Duane Washington followed by a C.J. Walker triple from the top forced Villanova coach Jay Wright to call timeout just a minute and a half into the ballgame with Ohio State on top 9-0. The Wildcats answered out of the timeout with a three of their own, but back came the Buckeyes. A hesitation dribble drive by Walker resulted in a bucket and a foul and after the free throw dropped through the ropes, Ohio State led 12-3. The run continued for Ohio State as Walker found Washington in transition for a highlight reel dunk and on the next possession, Washington buried yet another 3 and the Buckeyes led 17-3 just 4 minutes into the game to the delight of the big home crowd. The Buckeyes increased the lead to 19-3 on an E.J. Liddell drive and reverse lay in before Villanova got back on the scoreboard. Ohio State would continue to pour it on however and after D.J. Carton penetrated and found Luther Muhammad on the right wing for a three, the Buckeyes led 25-7 heading into the under 12 minute media timeout. The lead would balloon to 33-10 as Ohio State continued to play lock down defense, creating 8 early ‘Nova turnovers and capitalizing with very efficient half-court offense. Another Muhammad triple capped a 9-0 run that had the Buckeyes on top 36-10 and 6:30 to go in the first 20 minutes. The Buckeye lead would get as large as 27 but a Villanova 9-0 run in the last 1:35 got the Wildcats to within 18 at 40-22 as the horn sounded sending the teams to the locker room. The story for the first half was the Buckeye defense, holding the Wildcats to just 27% shooting, with many of the shots tough, contested looks. The Buckeyes also forced 10 Wildcat turnovers and took advantage on the other end, scoring 10 points off those turnovers. Offensively, it was the Buckeye backcourt that gave Villanova fits, combining for 30 points and 7 assists. Duane Washington led Ohio State with 11 and C.J. Walker added 10 to lead the Buckeyes who shot 54% from the field, including 6 of 10 from long range to build the big first half lead.
The Buckeyes struck first in the final 20 minutes. After a Villanova miss, Kaleb Wesson found a rolling Kyle Young with an alley oop, dunk to give Ohio State a 20-point lead. Villanova continued to struggle to find any offense, missing 7 of their first 9 shot attempts and when Kaleb Wesson took the ball in the post and found Duane Washington on the right point for three, his fourth of the game, the Buckeye lead was back up to 22. The Wildcats would answer with a 3 of their own to trim the lead back to 19, but with just 14 minutes remaining in the basketball game. Ohio State would build the lead back to 24 when C.J. Walker picked up his 5th dime of the game, finding E.J. Liddell in the right corner for 3 and as the teams went to the bench at the under 12 timeout, Ohio State led 56-32. The Buckeyes continued to take Villanova to the proverbial woodshed as Kyle Young found D.J. Carton on a backdoor cut that resulted in a one handed hammer dunk that got everyone in the Schott on their feet and gave the Buckeyes a 28-point bulge, their largest lead of the game to that point. On the next possession, Carton returned the favor, finding Young with the lob for a lay in and Ohio State led 62-32 with under 8 minutes remaining in the basketball game. Villanova did their best to try to get back in it, burying a triple of their own, but E.J. Liddell drilled a three to answer . Nova would hit a pair of threes to trim the lead slightly, but each time, Ohio State would answer. A crossover, step back jumper from Carton from 18 feet went down to build the Buckeye lead back to 28. A late Wildcat flurry cut the lead as close as 21, but back-to-back alley oop dunks from Walker to Alonzo Gaffney put an exclamation point on a big Ohio State victory.
Make no mistake, this was a very good Villanova team that Ohio State thoroughly dominated. The Buckeyes were the better team in all facets of the game. They stopped Villanova from getting into their offensive sets, executed in transition and were very efficient in the half court. This young Buckeye basketball team is deep and talented and on this night, they showed it for 40 minutes. Playing without their lone senior, Andre Wesson, a number of guys stepped up and delivered when they needed them the most. The ceiling is high for this basketball team and although it’s just mid November, the sky’s the limit for this team. They have a run of mid majors over the next couple weeks before a trip to Chapel Hill to face 6th ranked North Carolina looms on December 4th.
Ohio State will hit the floor again on Monday, hosting Stetson in the Schott for an 8:30 PM tip. The game will be aired on the Big Ten Network.
– Jason Harris