It was supposed to be an easy win for the #3 ranked Buckeyes, and so it was. The Roos of the University of Missouri at Kansas City hopped into The Schott tonight to meet up with Thad Matta's group on the floor of Value City Arena. With high expectations of the Buckeye men, it wasn't likely to be much of a contest. The expectations were met early as the Buckeyes scored the first 4 points of the game, and continued to build the lead through the first period. As the score reached 8-3 Ohio State took over the game, raising the lead to 20-3 before UMKC could score another point. By the end of the half Ohio State had jumped out to a 53-16 lead.
With the game well under control, Coach Matta used this opportunity to refine some points with the players, rest his starters and give the subs a chance to get some game time. Aaron Craft had 26 minutes in the game, and that was the longest play time for any of the starters. Only newly eligible transfer junior Alex Rogers didn't hit the double digit mark in playing minutes. This gave the bench players opportunity to game some valuable experience playing with starters as well as each other against game competition. They looked good. Final score: Ohio State 91, UMKC 45.
Deshaun Thomas led the scoring with 21 points. He also had 8 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block. Lenzelle Smith, Jr. hard 13 points, 6 rebound and 1 assist. Sam Thompson and LaQuinton Ross both had 11 points, and Shannon Scott had 10 points. All Buckeyes were on the scoreboard tonight, which will build confidence for future games.
While it was a good thing to be able to rest the starters, the real question at this point is whether or not the Buckeyes are ready for their next matchup. Wednesday evening Ohio State takes on the #5 ranked Duke Blue Devils in the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge. To date, the Buckeyes haven't faced a real challenger in their matchups. They've been able to get good competition, but no one who comes close to testing them the way that Duke will.
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