Last week, the wheels were falling off of Ohio State’s basketball season, and it took the entire pit crew to put them back on.
The Buckeyes held a players-only meeting after last week’s home loss to Penn State, trying to determine why a team once ranked in the nation’s top five had suffered five losses in six games.
For fans, the most tangible result of the proceedings was a lineup change. Junior Sam Thompson joined the starting five, with classmate Shannon Scott assuming a place on the bench.
What followed was a pair of tough road wins at Wisconsin and Iowa.
If we’re to infer a cause-and-effect relationship between the rotation switch and winning, then Buckeye coach Thad Matta directly gave credit for the two victories to Scott. Matta told the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Ari Wasserman, “It is funny, because Shannon came to me and said, ‘Hey coach, I wouldn’t mind coming off the bench.’ That kind of tells you what kind of kid he is.”
With the renewed excitement from victories on two ranked opponents’ home courts, are the Buckeyes ready to resume a path toward NCAA tournament glory?
Finding the Right Mix
Scott’s return to the bench-pest role he inhabited last season agreed with him. He helped harass Wisconsin point guard Traevon Jackson into a 2-of-9 shooting night while recording his own best shooting percentage (4-of-10, 40 percent) in six games.
Against Iowa, Scott was even better. His 11-point effort marked his first double-figure…