So with that in mind, here are some of my key takeaways from the nonconference win:
- Shooting stars: It's just two games in, but it appears this Buckeye team can shoot. Ohio State hit 8-of-15 against Marquette and are shooting 46 percent so far this season.
Granted, that hot shooting probably wont continue, but the Buckeyes have the guys to power them from outside this season. Kam Williams has a lightning-quick release and good elevation on his shot. D'Angelo Russell hit on 3 on a broken play when he had barely half a step on his man. The freshman doesn't need space to knock them down and that will open things up for steady, but not great shooters like Sam Thompson and Marc Loving.
- Russell not perfect: After the first game of the season, everyone was raving about Russell (myself included) and for good reason. I am still confident he will be one of the best Buckeyes this season, likely their leading scorer, but he reminded us he's a freshman Tuesday.
"D'Angelo wasn't D'Angelo tonight," head coach Thad Matta said.
That comment was prompted by a night that saw Russell commit seven turnovers and score just six points. Clearly he was pressing at times and the physical Golden Eagle defense got to him periodically.
Still, he played 31 minutes. Matta is going to give him a long leash this season, and he should.
- Scott shines: Russell's struggles were minimized by the magnificence of Shannon Scott. Finally the starting point guard this season, Scott recorded a career-high 14 assists. He was one off from tying Aaron Craft's OSU record of 15.
Scott is a different player with the ball in his hands and I believe he will lead the Big Ten in assists this season. He has 25 through two games (against weak opposition), but a down year for lead guards in the league combined with the play-makers around him could lead to an All-Big Ten season for Scott.
- Matta trusts the bench: For the second straight game Matta played 10 guys and all of them got at least 10 minutes. There were long stretches in both halves that at least three reserves were on the floor at the same time.
- Bench boards Ohio State out-rebounded Marquette 26-23 Tuesday. Sam Thompson led the way with six, but after the game I'm confident their two most active rebounders start the game on the bench.
Jae'sean Tate hauled in five rebounds for the second straight game. He's the type of player that fans of other Big Ten teams are going to hate for four years. He's going to play a decent chunk of minutes this year (he had 15 against the Golden Eagles) and the 6-4 forward is not afraid to do the dirty work on the glass.
The other bench rebounder would be Trey McDonald. The back-up big hauled in four boards in 10 minutes of action Friday. Through two games he is averaging a rebound every 2:06 that he is on the floor, which would translate to over 19 per 40 minutes. His hustle off the bench shouldn't be over looked.