At the end of the day, there were a lot of issues for the Buckeyes against UT Arlington. You can look to the 13 made free throws on 27 attempts, the 13 turnovers or the 41.8 overall shooting percentage.
But I’m not sure any of that accounted for the biggest reason Ohio State lost the game.
For me, the problem starts on the boards, specifically on defense. The Mavericks finished the game with 18 offensive rebounds, leading to 15 second-chance points. The Buckeyes? 13 offensive rebounds for just seven second-chance points. That’s a recipe for a loss, especially when you compound it with the other areas where Ohio State struggled.
Giddens has it all: He just needs to put it all together. The freshman center was a standout in the first half with four points, five rebounds and five blocks, showcasing a skill set that is already well ahead of where Amir Williams was as a senior. But Giddens finished the game with just seven total points, nine rebounds and six blocks after struggling mightily in the second half. He also made just one of four free throws and was called for a technical foul, something head coach Thad Matta rightfully said can’t happen.
The Buckeyes shot a lot: And that’s probably not a bad thing. Despite losing D’Angelo Russell, Ohio State might actually be a better shooting team this year than last. Marc Loving and Keita Bates-Diop are both reliable shooters while Kam Williams and Austin Grandstaff are talented sharpshooters off the bench. The Buckeyes made nine of 23 attempts from beyond the arc against the Mavericks, and that’s a rate that could pay dividends down the road.
Turnovers are bad: Ohio State made them worse. The Buckeyes gave up 19 points off of their 13 turnovers, and as Matta pointed out that was a product of where the turnovers happened. Ohio State regularly had passes stolen at the top of the arc where either point guard JaQuan Lyle or his backup A.J. Harris threw a lazy pass that was picked off and UT Arlington was able to score with the Buckeyes still on the offensive side of the court. On another day, lazy passes probably won’t lead to as many points, but it’s certainly something that must be fixed going forward.