After an overtime win over Seton Hall yesterday, Washington came out strong in the beginning minutes against the number three team in the country, Ohio State University, but with time that offensive explosion subsided and Deshaun Thomas proved nearly unstoppable for the Buckeyes, leading to a 41-31 lead for Ohio State at the half.
In the second half, issues of sloppy, uninspired team defense and a half court that often stalled allowed Ohio State to control things, with the lead hovering around ten, en route to the 77-66 final score. For the Buckeyes, Thomas finished with an incredibly efficient 31 points on 21 shots to go along with 9 boards, and Aaron Craft chipped in 18 points and 8 assists. Washington was led in scoring by C.J. Wilcox’s 20 points, while Gaddy managed 15 and N’Diaye was one point away from a double double with 9 points and 11 boards.
Even though the simple fact that this game was not a blow out bodes well for a Washington team that was recently defeated at home by Albany, the optimism must be limited, as the issues that kept the Huskies from working towards an upset were the same issues that have plagued them all year. On defense, that is a lack of intensity and toughness from the perimeter defenders and an inability by the bigs to keep slashing guards from entering the paint and a real problem with allowing easy entry passes to post players underneath the basket.
On offense, the new high post system has not looked fluid thus far, and has often gone through long dry spells during which the inability to score inside has become obvious, leaving Washington’s greatest strength, perimeter shooting from Scott Suggs and C.J. Wilcox, too predictable to be effective. While improvements on both offense and defense can be expected, I don’t necessarily think these issues are going to be fully repaired, and I worry that this may be a difficult year.