The Ohio State Buckeyes started out hot, and then Wisconsin put in their big man Andre Almeida. The talented big man from Brazil gave the Buckeyes loads of problems within his first seven minutes off the bench. What was the Buckeyes' goal of beating the Cornhuskers? Simple: try to force Almeida to play smart, non-hacking basketball. And it worked.
If you can’t play defense you will not play for Thad Matta, and this game put that particular phrase front and center. The Buckeyes and there smothering defense showed up again, not allowing any opposing player to reach the free throw line for both halves against the Cornhuskers.
The Buckeyes started to hit their stride mid way through the first half, where they locked down on the defensive end and shot better from the field
The Buckeyes started the second half strongly, but they also looked sloppy in that same second half.
As good as Amir Williams was in the first half, he was that much of a non-factor in the second. Williams has the ability to be a dominant threat in the paint for the Buckeyes, but he is also known to be "consistently inconsistent".
The Buckeyes let another double digit lead slip away as a lack of offensive rebounds allowed the pesky 'Huskers to slowly creep back into the game.
The deciding factor in this game was the Buckeyes leading scorer for the night, Lenzelle Smith Jr.
Smith Jr. led the way for the Buckeyes as he scored a game-high 21 points on 6-6 shooting from the field, including being perfect from beyond the three-point arc. Lenzelle also contributed at the charity stripe, going 6-8 with the freebies.
The entire Buckeye team did well shooting free throws tonight: They made 23 out of a total of 28 free throwns.
Thad Matta stuck to his very tight 8 player rotation tonight as he does with most close game. LaQuinton Ross has been stepping up his efforts on the defensive end of the floor, which is giving him more court time and allowing him to get more opportunities to take the heat off of Deshaun Thomas.
The Buckeyes are a very young team experience-wise, but as long as they keep growing in all aspects of the game, this team could be scary in the coming months.
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