Cleaning The Glass: UNC Asheville Edition

No. 2 Ohio State improved to 11-0 on the season with a dominating home victory against UNC Asheville. BuckeyeSports.com men's basketball beat writer Adam Jardy offers his take on the win and the team going forward in this installment of "Cleaning The Glass."

I think … that for the first game all season, we saw the William Buford we expected to see when the season began for Ohio State.

I have been critical of Buford's play for much of the season as he has not seemed to fit into the offense in the way he has in the past. I have felt Buford was forcing bad shots that did not come in any sort of rhythm and that he occasionally looked lost on the court.

His performance against hopelessly outmatched UNC Asheville was a great sign for what Buford can contribute to this year's team. His jumper looked as confident as it has all season and the arc was back on his shot.

Buford is among the quietest scorers I have ever seen because his points often come on mid-range jumpers. You take note of three-pointers and drives to the basket, but jumpers are easily overlooked.

With 11:58 left in the game, I was stunned to find that Buford only had 13 points. He had gone 6 of 12 from the field but was 1 of 3 from beyond the arc. Nearly all of those attempts came on pull-ups.

If Buford plays like this on a consistent basis, look out.

I think … that for as much as I have written that Jared Sullinger can pass out of the post this season, it was nice to see him actually do so.

The freshman forward entered the game with all of eight assists on the season. He tied a career-high four possessions into the game when he assisted on David Lighty's first two three-pointers. The Bulldogs made no bones about the fact they were going to pay him the most attention, and rather than force the issue he took what the defense was giving him and found his teammates. He finished with five helpers.

In addition to the assist total, Sullinger always tells us to judge his effort based on how many rebounds he has.

He finished with 16 boards and still put up nine points. 'Nuff said.

I think … that I have no idea where Lighty's performance came from.

While I think that his offensive performance has been an improvement from even a year ago, I can not say that I saw this kind of capability in Lighty.

Is he capable of putting up big numbers? Of course. You don't get to 30 points in one game by accident. But did anyone think he was capable of looking this deadly from beyond the arc?

It is unreasonable to expect this kind of production from him on a nightly basis. Much like Buford, however, it shows you that the Buckeyes really do have a number of formidable weapons.

I think … that although it was another dominating win against a less-than-impressive foe, the Buckeyes might want to be a little concerned with how they come out to open the second half.

Off the top of my head, I can name four recent games where the effort seemed to be lacking when the final stanza began: Western Carolina, IUPUI, South Carolina and now Asheville. Has it come back to hurt the Buckeyes? Statistics aside, not really.

But whenever you talk to head coach Thad Matta or any of the seniors, they will speak of their desire to put together a 40-minute game. That has not happened yet.

That can be taken two ways. On one hand, it is encouraging because it tells you that there are definite areas in which this year's team can improve. On the other, you would hope that a team with a number of experienced players would find a way to get it done.

Then again, it is hard to argue with 11-0 – and a mostly dominating 11-0 at that.

I think… That the wrist injury might have set Lenzelle Smith back even more than we already knew.

The freshman is clearly behind after missing nearly six months, but I found it interesting that he saw action against the Bulldogs ahead of classmate J.D. Weatherspoon.

It could be that Smith has more of a chance to make a contribution this season because he is more of a point guard, or it could be that Weatherspoon is more raw than we were led to believe. Either way, it is worth noting that Smith saw action ahead of Weatherspoon.


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