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By Matt McCoy
To listen to Thad Matta after Ohio State's 58-49 win over Wisconsin click HERE:
Whenever Deshaun Thomas decides to end his Buckeye career, he'll go down as one of the greatest pure scorers in Buckeye history...but the junior is becoming much more than that. Thomas has never been better than he was in Ohio State's 58-49 win Tuesday night over Wisconsin.
The junior scored 25 points, making 10 of his 17 shots. Fourteen of Thomas' points came in the second half including 10 during the Buckeyes game changing 15-0 run.
In addition to the scoring, Thomas led the Buckeyes with four assists--the first time in his Ohio State career that he's been the Buckeyes game leader in assists. He also guarded the Badgers second leading scorer, Ryan Evans, who averages more than 10 points a game. Evans finished with two points, going 1-for-10 from the floor.
"Without a doubt this is probably right there at the top," coach Thad Matta said when asked if it was Thomas' best ever Ohio State performance. "Just his overall effectiveness on offense and I thought he was very good defensively as well."
It was just three years ago that Evan Turner was the national player of the year, doing everything for a Big Ten champion Ohio State team. Thomas's skill set is different but his performance in the second half reminded me of Turner.
Over the first 14 minutes of the second half, which included the 15-0 run that gave the Buckeyes the lead for good, Thomas scored or assisted on 21 of Ohio State's 28 points.
"I was in attack mode," Thomas said. "(Assistant) Coach (Chris) Jent was telling me to be patient and relax and attack when it's there. I attacked the rim and I was reading the defense. It felt really good."
It looked that way too. On a night when Thomas moved up two more spots on the all-time Buckeye scoring list, passing Jared Sullinger and Clark Kellogg, he showed how far he has come. He's still a scorer...but he's a player too.
Thomas isn't the only Buckeye who had arguably the best night of his career. LaQuinton Ross did too. Ross played 20 minutes off the bench, scored eight points, hit both of his 3-point shots had two rebounds, an assist, a steal and zero turnovers.
"I think the biggest thing I've learned is listening," Ross said. "At the beginning of the year and last year I was a little rebellious against stuff (the coaches) said because I wasn't playing so I was like, 'you can't tell me nothing,' but I see that that was hurting me. Now I'm just taking it all in this year and doing what I've got to do for my teammates, knowing that it's not all about scoring. You have to do stuff on the other end."
610 WTVN basketball analyst and former Buckeye captain Tony White joined Joel Riley Wednesday morning and gave his thoughts on the Buckeye win.
"Deshaun Thomas was just a superstar the entire game...He was really the difference maker for Ohio State," Tony said. "As good of team defense that (Wisconsin) plays, in the end if you have a guy that's a first team All-Big 10 guy who can score, it's tough to stop him. Great players can defeat good defenses and that's what Deshaun Thomas did."
To listen to all of Tony's comments with Joel click HERE: