January 8, 2013

Buckeyes bounce back shooting over Purdue

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Follow Noon | Givler | Axelrod | Birmingham

West Lafayette, Ind. -- On Monday, Ohio State head coach Thad Matta said that nothing stood out from his team's three losses other than a sudden inability to make shots. One day later, the Buckeyes proved that that's all that was missing from their defeats at the hands of Duke, Kansas, and Illinois, turning in one of their best shooting performances of the season in a 74-64 road win over Purdue.

The makes came early and often for Ohio State, who shot a whopping 57.1 percent from the field in the first half, making 16 shots while missing just 12. en route to a 39-29 lead.The second half was even kinder to the Buckeyes as they connected on 57.7 percent of their shots, giving them a total success rate of 57.4 percent from the field on Tuesday night.

"I really thought they did a good job of doing everything they needed to do, from offensive game plan to scouting defensively," Matta said. "I didn't know what to expect tonight, to be honest, after Saturday."

As has been the case for the majority of the season, Ohio State was led by Deshaun Thomas, who scored a game-high 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-7 makes from behind the 3-point arc.

"I was so excited for Deshaun, I thought he was so efficient tonight in his play," Matta said. "I'm excited for him because he's worked really really hard and I hope that he can continue to play at the level that he is."

Given that Thomas has averaged 18.6 points in the Buckeyes' three loss, his success against Purdue wasn't necessarily the reason for Ohio State's. Rather, it was the balanced attack behind the junior forward that helped pave the way for the Buckeyes against the Boilermakers.

Point guard Aaron Craft scored 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting for Ohio State in his best effort since the Buckeyes' third game of the season, while forward LaQuinton Ross added 6 more points while connecting on three of his four attempts. On Monday, Thomas mentioned Ross as a player who had the talent to be a second consistent scorer behind him, and he certainly showed that against Purdue, but never got back onto the court after the Buckeyes headed to the locker room for intermission.

Ross was just one of five players to score six points or more for the Buckeyes, with Evan Ravenel adding 11 points, and Sam Thompson adding eight more. Every player who played for Ohio State on Tuesday scored, with the Buckeyes' bench accounting for 23of their points.

"I thought we had an element of composure with us that we had to have it," Matta said. "This was about as of a team win as you could possibly have."

Given the composition of the Ohio State roster, which features few natural shooters outside of Thomas, the Buckeyes will need to continue to put forth efforts like the one they did against the Boilermakers. With a team that will pride itself on defense due to its makeup, Ohio State has proved that the offense to match doesn't always come easy.

Currently the fourth nationally ranked team in the Big Ten, the Buckeyes will continue to hope for big shooting nights, starting this Sunday, when they host the nation's No. 2-ranked team, Michigan.


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