The No. 20 Ohio State men’s basketball team overcame early mistakes to top Marquette for the second time in as many seasons.
The Buckeyes (2-0) won, 74-63, to give the Golden Eagles (1-1) their first loss of the season on Tuesday night at the Schottenstein Center. Senior guard Shannon Scott finished the game with 14 assists, tied for the second most in a single game in program history.
Scott credited the players beside him on the court for his big assist numbers. “I just have so many weapons around me, it makes the game a lot easier,” Scott said after the game.
Scott proceeded to name off all nine of the other OSU players who took part in the game, and said “everybody played great.”
OSU coach Thad Matta said he was happy with Scott’s play, especially because he pushed the ball.
“We want him to be aggressive,” Matta said after the game. “I think he made great reads in transition and found guys.”
Former Buckeye Aaron Craft currently holds the record of 15, set in 2011 in a NCAA Tournament game against George Mason.
OSU shot 65.3 percent from the field in the game, helped by a 70.4 percent mark in the second half. The hot shooting allowed the Buckeyes to make up for the Golden Eagles scoring 13 points off of 18 total turnovers from the home team.
Matta acknowledged his team’s strong shooting, but added that the Buckeyes need to cut down on mistakes going forward.
“As I told the guys, we shoot the heck out of the basketball,” he said. “But it’s obviously some of the turnovers.”
Despite committing 13 turnovers in the first half, the Buckeyes held on to a seven-point lead at the break before opening up a 16-point lead with less than 10 minutes to play in the game.
After scoring just three points on two shots in the first half, sophomore forward Marc Loving scored seven of OSU’s first 11 points to start the second period. But the sophomore picked up his fourth foul with 7:51 to play, forcing him to the bench.
When Loving sat down, the Buckeyes had extended their lead to 16, partially because of 11 assists from Scott. OSU also cut down on mistakes in the second half, turning the ball over just three times through 13 minutes.
By the four-minute mark, the Buckeyes had extended their lead to 20 behind two layups from senior center Amir Williams, an alley-oop dunk from senior forward Sam Thompson and a 3-pointer by freshman forward Keita Bates-Diop.
Scott said OSU came into the season with the intention of going hard whenever it gets the ball.
“We played so hard on defense the last couple years that we kind of forgot about offense,” he said. “This year we know, when we get the ball we’re gonna attack every time.”
Marquette closed out the half on a 12-3 run, but OSU held on for its 11-point win.
Matta said his team could have turned up the pressure more in the first half, but mistakes held the Buckeyes back.
“I felt like in the first half we had our chances to open it up, and just some careless sloppy play (prevented that),” he said.
Redshirt-freshman guard Kam Williams led the way in the first half with nine points in nine minutes on the court as he connected on his first three attempts from 3-point range. As a team, the Buckeyes made their first four 3-point shots, helping to make up for some of their early turnovers.
Kam Williams attributed his shooting touch to the work he puts in between games.
“When I get in the gym, I just make sure I take game shots,” he said after the game. “Because if I take my game shots in practice, when it’s time for (the) game, it’s easy. Everything slows down and I’m used to taking game shots. Elevation, release, it all felt natural.”
OSU led by as many as 12 in the opening 20 minutes, but the Golden Eagles finished the half on a 7-2 run.
Kam Williams led the team with 15 points, while Amir Williams had 12 and Thompson and Loving each finished with 10 points. Thompson led the Buckeyes with six rebounds while freshman guard D’Angelo Russell was second to Scott with four assists.
All 10 OSU players scored at least two points, with everyone other than redshirt-senior forward Anthony Lee scoring at least three.
“I think this year everybody knows that when they touch the ball, it’s gonna be their shot and they’ve gotta make the shot,” Scott said. “Just the simple fact that everybody came in and contributed in some aspect of the game is a great feeling and I think everybody has a better understanding this year for what their role is.”
Marquette junior forward Steve Taylor Jr. led all players with 20 points, while redshirt-senior guard Matt Carlino finished with 10 points.
The Buckeyes are scheduled to return to the court on Sunday to take on Sacred Heart at the Schottenstein Center. Tip is set for 7:00 p.m.