Backcourt Powers Buckeyes To Blowout Win

Career nights from D'Angelo Russell and Shannon Scott helped Ohio State to an easy nonconference win over the Pioneers.

After struggling with seven turnovers and just six points in Ohio State’s 74-63 win over Marquette, freshman D’Angelo Russell said his struggles would help prepare him for the next game. Apparently the shooting guard knew what he was talking about.

Russell scored 32 points to power the No. 20 Buckeyes (3-0) to a 106-48 win over Sacred Heart Nov. 23 at Value City Arena. It tied Michael Redd for the second-best scoring effort by a freshman in program history, trailing only Jared Sullinger’s 40-point outburst against IUPUI on Dec. 9, 2010. Russell added 9 rebounds and 5 assists with just 2 turnovers in the most dominating performance of his young career.

“I just told myself whoever was guarding me I was gonna destroy them,” Russell said.

Russell wasn’t the only one putting up stellar statistics against the hapless Pioneers (2-2) as point guard Shannon Scott recorded 16 assists, two better than he managed against Marquette, breaking the record set by Aaron Craft in 2011. The record-breaking assist came on a Keita Bates-Diop 3-pointer with 53 seconds remaining.

Through three games Scott is averaging 13.67 assists per game. Despite the blistering pace the senior is on in his first year running the offense full time, Scott credited his teammates for the success.

“It’s just the guys around me,” he said after his record-breaking performance. “It’s not like I’m making spectacular passes."

Scott had a double-double as he added 11 points, one of six Buckeyes in double digits. Sam Thompson and Jae’Sean Tate each had 12, Bates-Diop had 11 and Marc Loving had 10. Anthony Lee, who started in place of Amir Williams who rested a sore knee as a precautionary measure, had 6 points and 5 rebounds while Trey McDonald came off the bench to record a team-high 14 rebounds. The Buckeyes shot 56.9 percent from the floor while connecting on 10 of their 23 3-point tries. Russell led the way in that regard with four from behind the arc, including three straight early in the second half.Head coach Thad Matta was impressed by the freshman.

"D'Angelo really got rolling there," Matta said after the game. "His shot selection was good, in terms of we want him to be aggressive and we want him to score. I think in the flow of the offense he did a good job of finding the shots that were good for him."

Ohio State opened the game on a 7-0 run and the contest was never in doubt as they built a 52-27 halftime advantageous and were just as dominant after intermission. The Buckeyes made a concerted effort to get to the line, going 14-18 from the stripe after they attempted just 19 through their first two games of the season.

The game was the first time the Buckeyes hit 100 points since doing so three times during the 2010-11 campaign, a year they climbed to No. 1 in the country, and was their 106 against the Pioneers was the most by an Ohio State team since a 111-60 win over Eastern Michigan Dec. 5, 2009.

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