The redshirt freshman drained a 25-footer just seconds after coming on to start a stretch where Williams scored 13 straight points in less than five minutes for the Buckeyes. That run allowed Ohio State (7-1) to pull away from visiting High Point (6-3) for a 97-43 win.
Williams finished with a game-high 23 points, but deflected praise for his career-best effort.
“I try to take all my shots in the flow of the offense,” he said. “The shots that I was making today, I practice those every day. The key is when you’re practicing is just to take game-time reps so when the game time comes it’s a lot easier.
“I just wanted to come in and play my role and that’s for me to make shots and hunt shots and just bring energy whenever I come into the game. That’s the biggest key. If everybody on our team does their job and brings energy we’re going to be a hell of a basketball team.”
The Buckeyes were certainly that Wednesday. Coming off a sluggish 70-50 win over Colgate Saturday, Ohio State got plenty of energy in their route of the Panthers. High Point kept things close over the game’s first ten minutes, but a bench heavy lineup helped turn a 16-10 edge at the 10:33 mark of the first half into a 43-24 advantage at the break.
Williams was the trigger man for the run while D’Angelo Russell added 11 points before the break.
It seemed like Williams couldn't miss, he connected on eight of his 10 shots and four of his five threes in the game, and set the tone for more bench production in the second half. Jae’Sean Tate entered the second half with just under 17 minutes remaining and was dunking just 13 seconds later. It was the start of an impressive second half for the Pickerington Central product as Tate scored all 12 of his points in the final 20 minutes.
Keita Bates-Diop added nine in the second half as the Buckeyes bench posted 51 points on the night.
“Kam obviously led the charge there but Keita has been practicing at a very high level,” head coach Thad Matta said. “Was pleased to see just him, he's getting more aggressive. Jae'Sean if you look at some of the plays he made tonight, but there's two more guys that understand, 'Hey, this is what I'm supposed to do when I go in the basketball game.' If we can have that type, Kam's probably not going to shoot it that way all the time but having that energy and fire coming off the bench, it's obviously going to help our team.”
The starting lineup contributed as well. Russell finished with a quiet 18 points to go along with nine rebounds and five assists while Shannon Scott and Sam Thompson scored 11 and 10, respectively.
Power forward John Brown scored 19 for High Point, and Matta pointed to that as one negative from the blowout.
“The only downside is we had a focal point in terms of Brown, and he got 19 on us,” Matta said. “We gotta get those bigs down there and playing better basketball in terms of what their job is for us.”
Still, there was little to complain about in a 54-point victory as the Buckeyes dominated every aspect of the game. Ohio State was led by its freshman off the bench and they had fun doing it.
“When I’m out there it’s just effort,” Tate said. “Coach can’t stress that enough, just give it 100 percent. I was just out there playing basketball. I know you could see like it was just fun. I was out there smiling and it was just a great experience.”