Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Ohio State 85, Duke 63
By Myron Medcalf
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A quick look at No. 2 Ohio State's dominating 85-63 victory over No. 4 Duke at Value City Arena ...
Overview: Ohio State kicked off Tuesday's 22-point win over Duke in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge with an 11-0 start. By the end of the first half, the Buckeyes led 47-28. Duke, which never led in the game, found itself in that hole after the Buckeyes shot 61 percent from the floor before the break as the Blue Devils were missing 6 of 7 shots from behind the arc. The latter entered the game shooting 46 percent from 3-point range.
Star of the night: Sophomore Deshaun Thomas was a stud for the Buckeyes. He went 8-for-12 from the field and scored 18 points. He even connected on 2 of 4 attempts from long range, despite entering the game with a 28 percent success rate from the 3-point line. The Blue Devils didn’t have an answer for him. He scored 13 points in the final eight minutes of the first half as the Buckeyes turned a nine-point lead into a 19-point edge at halftime. Of course, Jared Sullinger (21 points), William Buford (20 points) and Aaron Craft (17 points, eight assists) were their normal standout selves.
Turning point: Coming out of a timeout with just under eight minutes to play in the first half -- Ohio State led 26-17 at the time -- the Buckeyes went for blood instead of resting on their lead. They outscored Duke 21-11 to end the half. That eight-minute rally -- Duke even tried a zone! -- turned a manageable deficit into an insurmountable one for the Blue Devils.
Why Ohio State won: The Buckeyes shot a stunning 59.3 percent from the floor, and 57.1 percent from beyond the arc. That's about all you need to know.
Why Duke lost: The Blue Devils have lived off 3-pointers this season. Against OSU, they hit just 20 percent of their attempts (3 of 15).
Other observations: Aaron Craft is one of the best on-the-ball defenders in America. Period. … Deshaun Thomas is a much smarter player compared to last season. He’s exploiting the gaps created by Jared Sullinger’s presence on the floor. … Not sure any defender in the country can stick with Austin Rivers off the dribble, but he’s uneasy once he arrives at the rim. … Duke’s limited athleticism could be its biggest challenge in March. … William Buford doesn’t get enough respect for what he’s doing this season and for what’s he’s done during his career with the Buckeyes.
What’s next: Duke has some well-deserved time off before hosting Colorado State on Dec. 7, while Ohio State remains at home to face Texas-Pan American on Saturday.