After the game, as he waited for his turn at the podium, he had to listen to Ohio State sophomore forward Marc Loving take apart his defense in the postgame press conference after doing it on the court with a career-high 18 points. McGeehan wasn’t in the room, but the following words from the Toledo native were broadcast throughout Value City Arena.
“Really, I don’t think Campbell knows so I don’t know, either,” Loving said when asked what kind of defense the Camels were playing. “They were in a man-zone, 3-2, 2-3 and that’s about it.
“They switch a lot so after a couple switches they confused themselves so you just have to take advantage of their confusion because they’ll start arguing with one another. Just take the lane and see what you can do with it.”
The comment left McGeehan irritated, and he was quick to address it when the question came.
“He seemed to have ... he doesn't think we practice, I guess,” the second-year Campbell coach said.
The Camels do, in fact, practice defense but that doesn’t mean it was particularly effective against the Buckeyes. On a night in which Ohio State started slow (Campbell had a chance to take the lead down 9-8 early), the Buckeyes still kept up their hot-shooting ways.
OSU finished the game having shot 60.7 percent from the field, and its success was borne out in the production of its two highest scorers. Freshman guard D’Angelo Russell scored 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting and Loving got his 18 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
“I’ve been pleasantly surprised because even tonight like the other night we started not shooting well but you go in at half and you’re shooting 60 percent,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. “You’re hoping that’s something you can bank on. We joked about it the other night, but I don’t know how much longer we can shoot at this clip. But I do think guys are taking more pride in their shots and seeing the ball go through the basket.”
It was a team effort on Thanksgiving Eve. All 10 Buckeyes who saw playing time converted at least one field goal, and all five starters scored at least 10 points. In addition to Russell and Loving’s outputs, Sam Thompson and Shannon Scott both had 11 points and Amir Williams tallied 10 points.
That balance has been a hallmark of Matta’s 16th-ranked Buckeyes this season.
“I hope that we can stay with this,” Matta said. “I’ve always said this: the best teams I’ve ever coached had great balance. I think there’s going to be certain nights, as D’Angelo the other night had 32, but we’ve still got to get that low-post game established down there.
“Guys did a good job posting when they were supposed to, but it’s got to be a constant of always being a threat down there. I think as long as we continue to share the basketball the way we are, I like that fact and guys making shots.”
While Matta is hoping for Ohio State to continue its stellar shooting and balance, he’d also like to see some improvements. The Buckeyes’ rebounding advantage (31-26) wasn’t ideal, and Campbell recorded 20 second-chance points compared to OSU’s 8. Additionally, Ohio State only outscored Campbell by 4 in the second half.
He attributed that in part to the fact that the Buckeyes had kept the Camels at an arm’s length throughout the first half and into the second.
“I think, unfortunately, that probably had something to do with it,” Matta said. “I didn’t think we had a lot of energy, a lot of juice. I told them at halftime that the biggest thing I was looking for in the second half was clean rebounds and running transition. We got it a couple times but it was never the consistent push that we wanted. You still score 91 points, but I don’t think we played as fast as we wanted.”
He did have Loving, though. On a night when the sophomore saved his most pointed aggression for the press conference joke, he spent a healthy amount of time over the previous two hours attacking the Camels’ defense – whatever form it may have taken.
“How Campbell plays, you really have to attack the basket,” Loving said. “I feel like Shannon and D’Angelo put me in pretty good positions to be able to get to the rim pretty easily, so I just took advantage of those opportunities.”