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tBBC 2nd Thoughts: Akron

Discussion in 'News' started by Ken, Mar 16, 2016.

  1. Ken

    Ken Guest

    2nd Thoughts: Akron
    via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
    Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here

    Yeah, Thad knew they could do it…

    Ohio State (21-13) overcame a listless first half to surge by University of Akron (26-9) 72-63 to move on to the 2nd round of the NIT. By listless, if you can’t sleep at night, watch the 1st half; you’ll be unconscious in no time. Both teams combined to shoot 21-62 from the floor, resulting in a total of 54 points. Unfortunately, Akron had most of those points, leading 29-25 at the half.

    Thad had to juggle his lineup (again) after it was reported that Kieta Bates-Diop would not dress for the game. Off the bench came Kam Williams, to start his first “real” game at Ohio State. With Kam starting, this really shortened Thad’s bench.

    It was good to see Marc Loving play an aggressive, effective game, especially this time of the season. I think Loving is more a “lead by example” type. That he did against Akron. I was glad to see JaQaun Lyle respond very well, too. Against MSU, JL did not have a good game; he knew it, we knew it and Thad sure as hell knew it. Against Akron, he provided a double-double along with some of the sharpest play you’ll see. His game-sense and anticipation led him to steal an Akron outlet pass and convert it to the tying score in regulation. His heads-up snap pass assist in the lane to Kam Williams at the 1:34 mark in overtime gave OSU a 68-63 lead, their biggest lead in the game to that point.

    Viewing Experience

    Aside from the final score, this game had some interesting numbers. For example:

    • Fatigue. Both team looked tired in the first half. This was Akron’s 4th game in 6 days. Since they were all tournament (Mid-American, NIT), Coach Dambrot couldn’t really “rest” anyone. These’ tired legs’ may have been cause for both teams’ so-so offensive performance and Akron’s 0-7 FG and 1-5 FT performance in overtime. The Zips had no zip at that point.
    • Free Throw Shooting. Akron is normally a 68% shooting team. Against Ohio State they shot 40% (8-20). Ohio State is normally a 68% shooting team. Against Akron they shot 91% (21-23). Both teams being out of character certainly worked to Ohio State’s favor.
    • Three Point Shooting. Akron is normally a 40% shooting team. Against Ohio State they shot 21% (9-42). Ohio State is normally a 34% shooting team. Against Akron they shot 24% (5-21). Ohio State shot “less worse” than Akron on far, far fewer attempts. This was a lot of empty possessions for the Zips. As I mentioned, above, this could have been a fatigue factor that really hurt Akron.
    • Close to the vest. Neither team really could separate themselves from the other until the very end of the game. In a two minute stretch near the end of the first half, Akron went on an 8-0 run to have a 7 point lead, but OSU scored the last 3 points (in :31) to pull within 4 points at the half. Ohio State finally pulled away with a 6-0 run over the last 2:33 in overtime to account for the final margin.

    The Thad Matta Factor

    Thad had his hand forced with KBD’s absence. He had to go “small” with Kam replacing Kieta. The option of going “big” with two centers on the floor for OSU is probably not a good option.

    Whatever Matta told his team at half time needs to be bottled and saved. The team was flat and out of sync in the 1st half. The 2nd half was a different story; they were energized and amped up their intensity. It was just the right pep talk to have with the youngsters.

    The Three Two One Magi:

    With Tate’s injury and Bates-Diop’s illness.. and then there was one. We should thank Marc Loving for being a Gamer against Akron. He was on the court for 45 minutes; equaled only by Kam Williams. His 18 points and 13 rebounds were very instrumental in this game. But, then double-doubles typically are. Marc scored Ohio State’s first basket in the 2nd half and in overtime. Someone needs to break the ice and Loving came through.

    Lineup Mix-n-Match:

    “Bad” Mickey Mitchell looked excruciatingly bad in the first half. So bad, that despite a very short bench, he played only 8 minutes in the first half. He was 0-4 from the field (and looked bad doing it), had 1 rebound and 2 fouls. In the 2nd half, “Good” Mickey Mitchell showed up. His early offense ignited the Buckeyes to provide much needed energy and get them back in the game. In a 30-second stretch within the first two minutes of the half, Mitchell had a 3-pointer and a break-away dunk to pull OSU to within a point.

    Kam Williams (6-16 FG, 3-10 3-PT, 5 rebounds and 1 steal) scored 18 points in a grueling 45 minutes. This was his first start and he made good use of it. He doesn’t provide the “length” of Bate-Diop, but he certainly provides the “pop” this team needed against Akron.

    A.J. Harris had a fairly forgettable 20 minutes. He hit one 3-pointer and had a rebound. He did commit 3 turnovers, one of which was a pass to “no one in particular” on the Buckeye bench. Maybe he saw KBD sitting there, open.

    JaQuan Lyle had a very productive game. In 44 minutes, he had 18 points (6-17 FG), 14 rebounds and 6 assists. He did have 5 turnovers, so no one is perfect. He was scoreless from 3-point range, but since he took only 3 shots that’s not a big deal. He was 6-6 from the FT line. That is a big deal. Good game, lad.

    Ball Control:

    The Buckeyes had 12 turnovers to Akron’s 8. The points-off-turnovers was nearly a push with Ohio State getting 8 points and Akron 6 points.

    Ohio State did manage to take very late advantage of ball control. Trialing by 1 point with 3:36 remaining in regulation, the Buckeyes scored two baskets off Zip turnovers for their last points in regulation. The “killer” was JaQuan’s steal/layup at 2:18 to tie the game at 62.

    Interior play, Center(s) of Attention:

    Ohio State’s centers (Thompson, Giddens) had their hands full, in every conceivable way, against Akron’s Isiah Johnson. A few thoughts on Johnson..

    • At 6’10”, 295 lbs, Isiah is a post presence. To say the least. He used his size, surprisingly good athleticism to score 16 points and grab 12 rebounds.
    • In addition to being athletic (he took Giddens to the hoop), Johnson is reasonably fit; he played 38 of 45 minutes. That’s impressive.
    • He also contributed to OSU’s foul issues (Thompson 5, Giddens 4) that really could have put Thad in a bind.

    This was a situation where Ohio State almost held serve at the center position. Compares to Johnson’s numbers, Thompson/Giddens combined for 15 rebounds but only 6 points. It’s OK when your team mates pick up the pace, but a combined 1-7 from the field doesn’t cut it.

    Up Next…

    The Buckeyes (210-13) will host University of Florida in the second round of the NIT. Tip-off is scheduled for 12:00 noon ET Sunday. Florida defeated North Florida 97-68 on Tuesday evening.

    The post 2nd Thoughts: Akron appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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