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Crew fans get more on your favorite team
By Matt McCoy
**Click HERE: Matta to listen to Thad Matta after Ohio State's 85-45 win Wednesday over Savannah State**
Ohio State's 85-45 destruction Wednesday night over Savannah State wasn't unexpected. The No. 7 team in the country should win big over a team from the MEAC. Nonetheless, it was an impressive display.
Savannah State's calling card had been defense. The Tigers had been holding teams to an average of 53 points a game coming into the night and the most they had given up was 62. Even No. 5 Florida scored only 58 against them, but with Deshaun Thomas catching fire early, scoring 21 of his 22 in the first half, and the bench coming up big again with 35 points, the Buckeyes ran roughshod...with one glaring exception...Aaron Craft.
The Buckeye junior, for only the fourth time in his career and the first time in 48 games, dating back to his freshman year, did not score. In fairness, Craft only took four shots and was his typical self in all other aspects of the game, dishing out a game high 6 assists, playing pesky on the ball defense and coming up with two steals. But his shooting woes are on-going.
After three games this season, Craft had scored 51 points, an average of 17 a game. He was shooting 50 percent from the field (15-30) and from 3-point range (7-14). In the five games since, he's scored a total of 26 points, (5.1/game) is 9-38 from the floor (24 percent) and is 2-14 on his three's (14 percent).
"I'll be honest with you, I've got no problems with Aaron," Thad Matta said after Wednesday's win. "I don't know as a coach if you ever have more of a secure feeling knowing he's out there and what he's doing. Yeah, I want him to score more, he wants to score more, and our team probably needs him to score more, but that's coming to come back for him, there's no doubt in my mind. He had shot the ball very effectively the last couple days in practice. Hopefully Saturday (against North Carolina-Asheville) he'll get back on track."
While Craft struggled with his shot, the other point guard, sophomore Shannon Scott had perhaps the best shooting game of his career, scoring 12 points. The official stats have him a perfect 3-3 from the floor and 2-2 from 3-point range, although he made a steal at the end of the half and missed a three before the buzzer. Nonetheless, Scott has showed great improvement in all aspects of his game and can change the tempo of the game.
"I love how he's playing," Matta said.
Ross on a roll
Scott was one of two Buckeye bench players to finish in double-figures Wednesday. LaQuinton Ross was the other. Ross had 13 points, all in the second half. He also had nine rebounds.
Ross, a gifted offensive player, has been very impressive lately, averaging 17 points in the last 3 games. Not bad for a kid who scored a total of 18 points his freshman year. He also is pulling down 8.7 rebounds over the last three.
The question for Ross will continue to be how he'll hold up on the defensive end. He's held his own lately, but the true test on both ends of the court will come when he faces more talented players...like against Kansas and in the Big Ten season.
Another Jim Tressel "Moment"
I've had requests and notes of thanks via e-mail or Twitter for posting "A Moment with Jim Tressel" every week, so I will continue to do so. But I have to say...I hope the segment improves. This week's topic was "faith and family." Nothing wrong with that, but I think there just needs to be more energy and polish to these segments. You can judge for yourself. This week's "Moment" from Channel 3 in Cleveland is posted below.