The Buckeyes have shot 66.3 percent from the field and 45.9 percent from 3-point range. They’ve scored 83 points per game and assisted on 43 of their 69 field goals. Still, there is at least one area that Ohio State is looking for improvement on offense: free throws.
It’s not just that the Buckeyes aren’t shooting well from the charity stripe – they’ve connected on 11 of their 19 attempts for a 57.9 percent rate – it’s that the team isn’t getting to the line with regularity.
After attempting an average of nearly 23 per game last season, the Buckeyes shot just 15 free throws in the season opener against UMass-Lowell and only four against Marquette. Ohio State didn’t attempt a free throw until nearly three minutes into the second half against Marquette.
“I think we only got to the line nine times the other night (in the exhibition against Walsh) and 15 today,” head coach Thad Matta said after the opener. “We’ve definitely got to make the free throws.”
As the coach alluded to, when they do find themselves at the line the Buckeyes aren’t doing a good job of knocking them down. Sophomore Marc Loving is the exception, having knocked down all five of his attempts from the line.
Matta said that he isn’t concerned about the percentages, the success he has seen in practice far outweighs the minuscule sample size of 19 attempts, but knows the team will have to work to get to the line for easy points in tough games.
“When you look over the course of the season and look at Big Ten play and how many games come down to the last two minutes of the game, and free throw shooting is huge,” the coach said. “I like the percentages that the guys are shooting, we tally everything and hopefully we get better at it.”