COLUMBUS, Ohio -- It took two weeks after its originally scheduled start of the season, but the 2012-13 Ohio State basketball team finally put together a complete game.
After looking far from dominant in wins over Albany, Rhode Island, and Washington following the canceled Carrier Classic with Maquette, the Buckeyes looked like they deserved the No. 3 ranking that's been bestowed upon them in the Associated Press and USA Today polls with a 91-45 win over the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
"I was excited to see our guys play from start-to-finish," OSU coach Thad Matta. said. "We didn't ever want Kansas City to be comfortable on offense."
It was hard to find a weakness for OSU inside of the Schottenstein Center against the Kangaroos on Friday night. The Buckeyes made 61 percent of their shots and assisted on 21 of 31 field goals, while holding UMKC to a 25 percent mark shooting the ball.
All 10 scholarship players on the Buckeyes' roster scored on Friday night, including forward Deshaun Thomas, who led Ohio State with 21 points in 22 minutes of action. Thomas' offensive outpour against the Kangaroos has become the norm for the Buckeyes, with the junior forward ranking eighth in the nation in scoring with 24 points per game.
"We know that we've got another gear in us and we came out with fire," Thomas said. "We kept our foot on the pedal and we didn't stop and that's what we need to do to teams."
The Buckeyes jumped out to a 20-3 lead in the game's first seven minutes and never looked back, leading UMKC by a score of 53-18 heading into halftime. Ohio State's momentum carried through its intermission, where the Buckeyes led by as many as 48 points in the second half, never letting the game's outcome in doubt.
OSU guard Shannon Scott led the Buckeyes with 10 assists, adding 10 points, and two steals to the best effort of his college career. The true sophomore is earning more playing time in his sophomore season, playing in a season-high 24 minutes on Friday night.
"I've really just calmed down a lot from last year," Scott said. "I'm letting everything come to me and that's really helping me out a lot."
Defensively, the Buckeyes were just as dominant, forcing 18 Kangaroos turnovers, which translated into 23 OSU points. The Buckeyes scored 13 points off of fast breaks, which could become typical for an OSU team that has put an emphasis on getting out and running with the ball more.
"If we can get stops, we can get out in transition," Scott said. "We haven't been getting as many stops as we wanted to know, so now that we actually got them, we were able to get out and make plays for all of us."
Guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. added 13 points for the Buckeyes and sophomore forwards LaQuinton Ross and Sam Thompson each scored 11 points, but the biggest roar during regulation came when freshman Amedeo Della Valle scored the first points of his college career, connecting on a 3-pointer with one minute and 34 seconds remaining in the first half.
"He's such a good kid and works extremely hard," Matta said of his team's lone freshman. "He's going to be a great player here."
With its win over UMKC, the Buckeyes advance to 4-0 on the season and will travel to Durham, N.C. next Wednesday for a date with No. 5-ranked Duke, in what will be Ohio State's first big test of what is expected to be a rigorous regular season schedule.
"We know they're a great team," Thomas said. "It's just going to be a great experience going down there. It's going to be loud and crazy but we're just going to have to take one thing at a time and stay together down there."