The Ohio State men’s basketball game against Sacred Heart was delayed for a matter of minutes because of a lighting conflict, but it didn’t keep the Buckeyes from lighting up the scoreboard once the game tipped off.
The Buckeyes shot 56.4 percent from the floor in the first half and didn’t let up as they defeated the Pioneers, 106-48, Sunday night.
The Buckeyes were led by freshman guard D’Angelo Russell, who scored an OSU season-high 32 points, coming up eight points shy of the school freshman single game scoring record.
Jared Sullinger holds the freshman record with 40 in a game against Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in December 2010.
Russell said after the game he wasn’t trying to make up for only scoring six points against Marquette.
“The last game was behind me at the end of that game. I didn’t think about it at all. The beginning of this game, I just tried to prep for it,” Russell said. “I didn’t honestly know who the opponent was, I just prepared the best way I could and I just told myself whoever was guarding me, I was going to destroy him.”
Russell executed his plan well, as he added nine rebounds and shot 57.1 percent from the floor.
Senior guard Shannon Scott, who compiled 25 combined assists in his first two games of the season, recorded a double-double and broke the OSU single game assist record as he tallied 16 helpers to pass the previous record of 15 set by Aaron Craft in 2011.
After the game, Scott said that the record isn’t significant if the Buckeyes don’t continue to win games.
“It doesn’t mean a lot, I mean it’s good to say that you have it, but I can’t really hold my head on that,” Scott said. “We want to win a lot more games and you can’t really focus on just having a record right now. We want to be the best team that we can be. We can kind of put the game behind us now and get ready for the next one.”
OSU had 24 assists as a team, which coach Thad Matta said he was pleased with.
“We did a great job of sharing the basketball,” Matta said after the game. “Shannon, 16 assists and whatever he had the other night, he has got a great command right now in terms of his demeanor and finding guys.”
Matta put it as simple as he possibly could after the 58-point win.
“That was a heck of a performance by our starting backcourt tonight,” he said.
The Buckeyes never trailed as they opened up a 25-point lead at halftime as Russell, sophomore forward Marc Loving and senior forward Sam Thompson all scored in double figures in the opening 20 minutes.
Thompson got the crowd of 12,941 at the Schottenstein Center out of their seats early with a trio of alley-oop slams in the first half, the last coming at the first-half buzzer off a lob from Russell.
Russell said he gets just as much, if not more, excitement when his teammates make a play as compared to when he does.
“They are both a crazy feeling. Sam is a crazy athlete,” Russell said. “Just throwing it up to him, knowing he is going to dunk it, I think it is more exciting when he is dunking the ball than me (scoring).”
Thompson finished the night with 12 points on six-of-eight shooting.
OSU shot a sweltering 56.9 percent for the game from the floor as all nine Buckeyes that played scored at least four points.
Redshirt-senior forward Anthony Lee got his first career start as a Buckeye with senior center Amir Williams sitting out Sunday’s game with a sore right knee. Lee finished the night with six points and four rebounds.
Matta said after the game that Williams was held out as a precaution, but could have played if needed.
“It’s just been a lingering problem. I felt like we probably needed to hold him out one more night. He told me during the game, ‘Just so you know, I am playing on Wednesday,’” Matta said. “It’s nothing structural or anything like that. We have just been monitoring it and thinking big picture for him.”
Senior center Trey McDonald led all players with 14 boards and added eight points in extended minutes with Williams out.
Sacred Heart freshman center Filip Nowicki led the Pioneers with 10 points to go along with nine rebounds.
The Buckeyes are set to return to action Wednesday against Campbell University. Tip is set for 7 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.