Done and done.
The Buckeyes (2-0) downed the Golden Eagles (1-1) 74-63 in a sloppy, up-tempo affair in front of 13,233 to earn a win in their only major-conference opponent that will visit Value City Arena before the Big Ten season.
Facing an aggressive, pressure-oriented Marquette defense, the Buckeyes made things harder on themselves, coughing up the ball 18 times and committing 17 fouls, allowing the Golden Eagles to remain in the game well into the second half.
“I felt like in the first half we had our chances to open it up, and just some careless, sloppy play,” Matta said. “We’re a different basketball team, we’re playing a different way, but some of those, the travels the errant passes, those are the ones we have to get corrected.”
“We are going to make some, but I think for the most part I liked the pace we played at tonight, if we can just clean up those.”
The Buckeyes finally seized control for good midway through the second half. After Marquette got into the bonus at the 12:13, a pair of Juan Anderson free-throws made it 48-39, cutting the Ohio State lead to single digits after it had hovered between 11 and 15 points for the previous four minutes.
Then, Shannon Scott took over. The Buckeyes point guard reentered the game and connected on a change-of pace layup. Jae’Sean Tate rebounded a Marquette miss and got the ball to Scott in transition, allowing him to find fellow senior Sam Thompson flying through the air for an alley-oop. Another Tate rebound and another Scott layup extended the lead to 54-39 with 11:04 left. Marquette wouldn’t get it under 10 the rest of the game.
“He’s been in this program for a long time and that’s how I wanted him to be in that attack mode,” Matta said. “For the most part, he just made great reads. When guys are doing what they are supposed to do it opens things up for him.”
That was part of a career night for Scott, who had 14 assists to go with eight points. The senior was one assist away from tying the school record, and he would have if not for a missed Anthony Lee dunk late in the second half – a fact that Amir and Kam Williams, Scott’s teammates at the post-game press conference, greeted with an audible "ooohh."
“Everybody played well, having so many weapons around me makes the game a lot easier for me,” Scott said.
The Golden Eagles would hang around for a little while longer, but the Buckeyes asserted themselves over the final 10 minutes, a Keita Bates-Diop 3-pointer extending the lead to 71-51 with 4:17 left.
That bucket was the first of the night for Bates-Diop, the ninth Buckeye to find himself in the scoring column and the fifth to hit from outside. Lee made it 10 players to score moments later. Redshirt freshman Kameron Williams paced the Buckeyes with 15 while Amir Williams added 12 points on a perfect 6-of-6 shooting. Marc Loving and Thompson were both also in double figures with 10.
The balanced scoring was there for the second straight game and Scott said it’s a result of a new mindset.
“I think everybody just has the mindset this year that we aren’t going to take any plays off on the offensive end,” he said. “We played so hard on defense the last couple years that we kind of forgot about offense. This year we know when we get the ball, we’re going to attack every time.”
Marquette was paced by Steve Taylor Jr. and his game-high 20 points.
Despite what ended up being a pretty comfortable win, Ohio State made things uncomfortable early. The Buckeyes committed 13 of their turnovers in the first half. Luckily for Ohio State, their hot shooting from distance kept Marquette at bay. The Buckeyes hit 8-of-15 3-pointers (53.3 percent) for the game and connected on seven of 12 attempts before intermission.
The Buckeyes trailed 9-5 in the early going before outside-shooting powered an 11-0 run. First Loving hit from the wing, then, after a Tate layup, Thompson found his stroke from distance. After Kam Williams got in on the action it was 16-9 and the Buckeyes wouldn’t trail again, taking a 33-26 lead to the half.
The emphasis shifted to the paint in the second half as the Buckeyes scored 32 of their 41 points after halftime in the restricted area, many on transition layups.
Ohio State hosts Sacred Heart Sunday at 7 p.m.