It was one of the biggest questions for the Ohio State Buckeyes going into the 2013-14 season. Who would step up and fill the scoring void that Deshaun Thomas left?
Thomas left for the NBA after last season. He led the Buckeyes and the Big Ten in points per game with 19.5 during the 2012-13 season. It is a big void to fill, one that is not expected to be taken over by just one player. It is likely that many players would have to step up and score for the Buckeyes. That is just what they did in their season opener on Saturday against the Morgan State Bears.
This great scoring effort resulted in an 89-50 win for the Buckeyes.
The Buckeyes had five players who were able to put up 10 points or more. Lenzelle Smith Jr., who Thad Matta hoped would carry more of the offensive load, led the team in points on Saturday with 18, along with nine rebounds and two assists. He only came up one rebound short of a double-double. Smith Jr. was nothing short of impressive, and Ohio State has to hope this trend will continue for him all season.
Shannon Scott was next with a career-high 16 points, along with four rebounds and seven assists. LaQuinton Ross, another one Matta wanted to carry more of the offensive load, and Sam Thompson each had 14 points. Ross had his first career double-double as he also grabbed 11 rebounds. Freshman Marc Loving contributed 10 points of his own.
If the Buckeyes keep this up, they will be tough to beat. Shutting down one player is one thing for a defense, but trying to shut down multiple players is completely different. The Buckeyes made 48 percent of their field goals to go along with 44 percent of their three-point attempts made.
This game was over early. The Buckeyes scored the first eight points and had a 26-point lead at halftime. They never gave the Bears much of a chance at all, and that was to be expected.
Ohio State will face somewhat of a tougher test on Tuesday as the Ohio Bobcats come to town. Hopefully this multiple player scoring threat will continue all season for the Buckeyes. That is exactly what they need if they want to make it to the Final Four and beyond.