COLUMBUS - The seasons are a time for sharing and the Buckeyes were able to share the load with ten players getting on the board including five for double figures as the Buckeyes drilled St. Francis (Pa.) 110-47, setting the highest scoring output since the 1995 season (121-96 over George Mason). The 63 point margin of victory is also the highest margin since the 1990-91 season when the Buckeyes were 73 points better than Chicago State.
"We got shellacked," St. Francis head coach Don Friday said. "I just felt like I went through a 15 round street fight with an 18-wheeler."
Ohio State shot 63-percent for the game and as a team was much closer to the 70-percent range before taking the foot off of the gas in order to clear the bench. No Ohio State player played for more than 28 minutes but that didn't stop several players from having solid individual performances including a Jeremie Simmons leading all Ohio State scorers with 18 points coming off of the bench.
Saturday's game was a far cry from the last outing against Lipscomb when you look at how the game started. The Bucks ran away with it early and opened up a 30-7 lead before the Red Flash knew what hit them. Just how important was it for the Buckeyes to get the quick start after having several previous games start out in a much slower gear?
"Coach really emphasized coming out with a lot of energy," Jon Diebler said. "I think what also helped is the two practices we had leading into the game our energy was at a high level."
Diebler made the most out of his limited minutes going 5-7 from beyond the arc going for 17 points while everyone wanted to key in on Evan Turner who didn't turn in a triple double on Saturday night but anything could have happened if he would have had more minutes on the court. Turner did enter the Ohio State record books after becoming the 44th player in school history to eclipse the 1,000 point plateau. After going nearly 40 minutes for the past couple of games, is it nice to get a bit of a rest seeing 27 minutes of action?
"If coach asks me to play that much then I will do it," Turner said. "It is all good to see my teammates score and to be able to watch a good team win."
Ohio State head coach Thad Matta had played a short bench when the team was in New York for the Coaches versus Cancer classic but Saturday gave him a chance to see players like Nikola Kecman and Zisis Sarikopoulos get extended minutes. Neither disappointed as Kecman put up nine points while Big Z had four points, four boards and three blocks.
"I like it because obviously we are in pretty good position there to get guys more minutes and rest those guys a little bit," Matta said. "But I have never been opposed to playing guys a lot of minutes."
The Buckeyes held a huge size advantage on the court and that put the Red Flash behind the eight ball before the game even started. But nobody on the St. Francis team was making excuses for running into a very good Ohio State basketball team.
"We may be able to get away with that in our Northeast Conference if we are fortunate enough," Friday said. "We are going to get exposed (out of conference) and we got rung up tonight like that."
Dallas Lauderdale has continued to improve after starting off the season on the bench with a hand injury en route to putting up 11 points, six rebounds and six blocks. The most notable change from last game to this one is his free throw shooting, a subject that receives a lot of attention. Lauderdale joked after the last game about going out and shooting 1000 free throws. The Ohio State forward admitted it has been closer to 100 shots but that the number has been getting better and better.
"Ironically I have been shooting around the 75-76 out of the 100 area and I shot 75 percent tonight," Lauderdale said. "I will just keep on pushing away."
Ohio State also got a boost seeing William Buford snap out of his shooting doldrums in going 5-9 for 15 points in 28 minutes of action. P.J. Hill also chipped in with ten points of his own.
But Saturday's game was not just solely about offensive output and coach Matta was thrilled with a defensive outing that held St. Francis to 27-percent shooting from the field and turning that into offense on the other side.
"We were able to score off our defense today which is something that hopefully we can continue to build on," Matta said.
Saturday's lay-up will have to be put away quickly with Florida State waiting in the wings for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and the Buckeyes will get a chance to see their next opponent on Sunday as the Noles play for the championship of the Old Spice Classic. It is unlikely that the Bucks will be able to clear the bench in that game but the team will be fresh going into the game regardless.