Ohio State coach Thad Matta liked how his team responded to its first challenge of the young season. He’s expecting another such situation Sunday in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off tournament versus Washington at Uncasville, Conn.
The fourth-ranked Buckeyes (2-0) had dealt with little adversity leading up to Saturday’s contest against Rhode Island. Their scheduled outdoor season-opening game versus Marquette in the Carrier Classic in South Carolina was canceled due to condensation on the court on the USS Yorktown, and Albany put up little resistance last Sunday in an 82-60 romp as Ohio State made 12 3-pointers and shot 57.1 percent overall.
That may be why Matta was pleased the Buckeyes grinded out a 69-58 victory over the Rams – who had a sizable fan contingent make the 40-mile drive to Mohegan Sun Arena – on Saturday night, pulling away over the final seven minutes as DeShaun Thomas finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Aaron Craft sparked the game-breaking spurt on both ends of the court, hitting a 3-pointer and a coming up with a key steal that led to Thomas hitting two free throws to give Ohio State a double-digit lead that wouldn’t be threatened.
Now the Buckeyes will play an inconsistent but physically talented Washington squad that has shown flashes of brilliance but yet to play a complete 40-minute game.
”We’re going to know a lot more about our basketball team at 6:30 then we did coming into this tournament,” Matta said. ”I think this will be good for our team in terms of growth.”
Continue Reading: Ohio St.-Washington Preview (The Associated Press)