Winthrop Eagles Up Next for Buckeyes
Aaron Craft is climbing the Ohio State assist charts.

Dec. 17, 2012

Dec. 18, 2012
No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes (8-1) vs. Winthrop Eagles (4-4)

Site: Value City Arena (19,049)
Game Time: 7 p.m.
Television: Big Ten Network
Talent: Tom Hamilton (play-by-play)
Jim Jackson (expert analysis)
Radio: OSU-IMG Sports Network (56 stations)
Satellite Radio: XM 92/Sirius 190
Local Radio: WBNS FM-97.1 AM-1460
Radio Talent: Paul Keels (play-by-play)
Ron Stokes (expert analysis)
Ohio State Notes | Winthrop Notes

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Ohio State In the Big Ten
The Buckeyes are No. 2 in scoring offense among Big Ten teams (80.1 ppg.) and scoring margin (+22.7). From long range, Ohio State has made 40 percent of its 3-point attempts, good for the No. 2 spot in the league. The Buckeyes also are in the No. 2 spot in both turnover margin (+4.3) and assist to turnover ratio (+1.5). Individually, Deshaun Thomas leads the conference in scoring with 20.3 points per game. Shannon Scott (5.0) and Aaron Craft(4.8) rate No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, in assists per game. Scott also is No. 2 in steals per game (2.6) and No. 1 in assist to turnover ratio (+5.0). Craft is No. 3 in the league (+3.6).

Aaron Craft: Needs 16 points to reach 700 for his career...reached 400 career assists with eight vs. UNC Asheville ... his 401 career total rates tied for No. 8 all-time with Larry Bolden (1974-77) ... Evan Turner is No. 7 with 414. Evan Ravenel: reached 300 (302) career points with 12 vs. UNC Asheville ... with seven rebounds vs. the Bulldogs he reached 200 career rebounds (207). Shannon Scott: Scored seven points vs. UNC Asheville to top the century mark in career scoring (104) ... his nine assists also moved him over 100 for this career (105). Lenzelle Smith Jr.: Needs 11 points to reach 400 for his career. Deshaun Thomas: Reached 400 career rebounds with 10 vs. UNC Asheville ... needs five made 3-pointers for 100 made in his career ... 20 points shy of No. 41 Mel Nowell (1,100) on the career scoring list. Amir Williams: 15 points shy of 100 career points and eight rebounds short of 100.

The Winthrop Series
The Eagles and Buckeyes will be meeting for the first time Tuesday. Winthrop, located in Rock Hill, S.C., is a member of the Big South Conference. The Eagles are the second-consecutive Big South representative to face the Buckeyes after UNC Asheville traveled to Ohio State last Saturday (OSU win, 90-72). Overall, Ohio State has a record of 14-0 vs. teams representing the Big South Conference, which includes five wins vs. Asheville, three wins vs. Virginia Military Institute, two victories each against Radford and Presbyterian and lone wins vs. Coastal Carolina and Gardner Webb. Ohio State has yet to play against Campbell, Charleston Southern, High Point, Liberty and Longwood. Thad Matta is 11-0 during his coaching career against members of the Big South Conference. The last Big South school to take on Ohio State (before Asheville and Winthrip) was VMI Nov. 23 at Value City Arena, a 107-74 Buckeyes win.      

A Look at the Eagles
Winthrop enters the game vs. Ohio State with a 4-4 record. Wins have come against St. Andrews, Lenoir-Rhyne, Brevard and at home vs. Ohio University last Saturday (50-49). Losses have been to Indiana State, Virginia Commonwealth, Wofford and James Madison. The Eagles are led by sophomore guard Derrick Henry with 15.6 points a game. Gideon Gamble, a graduate guard of Winthrop, and sophomore point guard Andre Smith average just shy of 10 points a game. Larry Brown is the team's top rebounder with 5.8 caroms a contest.

Seven Foes among Top 20
In the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll, seven Ohio State opponents are among the Top 20 and five opponents are ranked in the Top 10. The Buckeyes are scheduled to play 11 games against teams currently ranked. No. 9 Kansas is up next Dec. 22 in Columbus. The Buckeyes will face No. 6 Indiana, No. 2 Michigan, No. 10 Illinois, and No. 20 Michigan State twice each during the 2013 Big Ten season. No. 13 Minnesota plays at Ohio State in the lone meeting against the Gophers.

Depth Helps Buckeyes to 8-1 Start
Ohio State's reserves have contributed 32 or more points four times and in three of the last four games. In all of last season the Buckeye bench scored 30 or more points in a game just three times. This season, Ohio State reserves provide an average of 24.2 points a game, outscoring opponent reserves by just under 12 points a game. Against Long Beach State Dec. 8, Ohio State reserves scored 37 points, the most since a 41-point effort by the Buckeye bench vs. North Carolina A&T Nov. 11, 2010.
Homestand Runs To Jan. 2
Ohio State has played six home games this season to date but began a run of eight-consecutive home games vs. Northern Kentucky Dec. 1. The Buckeyes will play seven games at Value City Arena in December before the Big Ten Conference opener Jan. 2 vs. Nebraska on the home court.

Buckeyes Among National Leaders
In the recent release of national statistics (Dec. 10), Ohio State ranks among the Top 15 in assist-to-turnover ratio (9th/+1.48) and fewest turnovers per game (14th/10.8 per game). The Buckeyes are No. 6 in scoring margin (+22.7). Individually, junior Deshaun Thomas is No. 19 in scoring with 20.3 ppg. Sophomore Shannon Scott is No. 5 nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (+5.0). Aaron Craft is No. 13 at +3.58.

Individual Scoring output improved
Ohio State lost two dependable scorers from a year ago in William Buford, tied for the No. 3 spot in career scoring with 1,990 points as a Buckeye, and Jared Sullinger, a first round draft pick of the Boston Celtics. Those who returned have done well to date to improve their individual offensive numbers. Juniors Aaron Craft, Deshaun Thomas and Lenzelle Smith Jr., all starters from a year ago, are prime examples. Craft averages 9.2 points a game, up from 8.8 a season ago. Thomas tallied 15.9 ppg. as a sophomore and is up to 20.3 ppg. this year. Smith Jr. turned up the offensive during Ohio State's Final Four run to finish the year with 6.8 ppg. He is up to 11.2 this season. Off the bench, Shannon Scott is shooting 49 percent from the field this year (22-45) for an average of 6.8 ppg. as a sophomore. He managed 1.2 ppg. as a rookie on 28 pct. shooting (20-71).  

Thomas Reaches 1,000, Craft Next
Juniors Deshaun Thomas and Aaron Craft both could join Ohio State's 1,000-point club this season. Thomas reached the milestone with 16 points at Duke Nov. 28. He has 1,080 for his career, good for the No. 42 spot all-time at Ohio State. Craft is 316 points away. Thomas averages 12.7 points over his career after contributing 15.9 points a game as a sophomore. Craft has averaged 8.0 points a game over 85 career outings. He averaged 8.8 ppg. as a sophomore.

Big Ten POW goes to Thomas
Ohio State junior preseason All-American Deshaun Thomas scored a career-high 31 points against Washington and tallied 25 vs. Rhode Island to average 28.0 points per game over two contests at the Basketball Hall of Fame Tipoff Nov. 17-18. Those efforts earned him his second career Big Ten Player of the Week award.  Thomas grabbed 10 boards against Rhode Island and eight vs. the Huskies to average 9.0 rebounds over that weekend. He shot 55.3 percent (21-for-38) from the field, including 46.2 percent (6-for-13) from long range. Thomas was named the BHOF Naismith Bracket MVP for his performance in the event. The last Ohio State Big Ten Player of the Week was Jared Sullinger (March 5, 2012).

Craft Closing on Steals Record
Eight games into his junior season, Aaron Craft is closing on the Ohio State all-time steals record with 185 to date, good for No. 3 all-time in Ohio State history. David Lighty (2007-11) is No. 2 with 191. Jay Burson (1986-89) is Ohio State's career leader with 204.

Thomas close to Joining 1,000/500 Club
A total of 24 Ohio State players have scored 1,000 or more points to go with 500 career rebounds. Deshaun Thomas (1,080 career points) will be the next to join the club with 100 rebounds. Jared Sullinger was the last to reach the milestone with 1,282 career points and 717 career rebounds. Thad Matta has coached five of the players on the all-time list. William Buford (1,990/666), Terence Dials (1,566/876), Evan Turner (1,517/683), David Lighty (1,458/577) and Sullinger were added to the list during Matta's tenure.

For more information click on the Ohio State Notes link above.