smith

Lenzelle Smith Jr. rebounds as No. 17 Ohio State beats Illinois

Leave a comment

After playing well on the offensive end of the floor for much of non-conference play, stringing together seven consecutive double-digit outings at one point, Ohio State senior guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. struggled in the 17th-ranked Buckeyes’ first six Big Ten games.

Reaching double figures in three of their six games entering Thursday’s matchup with Illinois, Smith shot 4-for-25 from three and 35.1% from the field overall. Given the Buckeyes’ lack of a marquee scoring option they need multiple players to step up offensively, and that includes Smith.

So if there’s anything to be taken from the Buckeyes’ 62-55 win over the Fighting Illini, it may be the fact that Smith snapped out of his slump in helping Ohio State end its four-game losing streak.

Smith scored 16 points on the night, making four of his eight shot attempts from beyond the arc, to supplement the 18 scored by LaQuinton Ross. Ross scored 14 of his 18 in the second half, and as a team Ohio State shot 54.2% from the field and 5-for-9 from three in the game’s final 20 minutes. While Thad Matta’s team did a better job of working the ball around (eight assists on 13 made baskets) in the second half, the fact of the matter is that they made shots after struggling to do so in losses to Minnesota and Nebraska.

With their improved shooting the Buckeyes scored 1.15 points per possession in the second half after scoring just 0.86 points per possession in the first. Add in some solid defense, which included making sure that the slumping Rayvonte Rice (0-for-8, no points) didn’t get untracked, and the Buckeyes were able to end the program’s longest losing streak since the 2007-08 season.

At this point in the season it’s clear that Ohio State doesn’t have a player capable of taking over offensively in the manner that Deshaun Thomas did a season ago. But with that being the case, the consistency of players such as Ross, Smith and Aaron Craft (11 points, six rebounds and five assists) becomes even more important. Thursday’s win wasn’t the prettiest of results, but given the struggles of Ohio State as a team and Lenzelle Smith Jr. individually it was a night the Buckeyes needed.

VIDEO: Kentucky’s ‘Dancing Guy’ has scary fall while carrying girl

Leave a comment

Kentucky’s ‘Dancing Guy’ has turned into a fan favorite at Rupp Arena.

Every home game, during one of the TV timeouts in the second half, ‘Mony Mony’ will come on, Dancing Guy will hop into the aisle and he’ll break it down like only a middle-aged white guy from Kentucky can.

As you can see, it didn’t quite go all that well for Dancing Guy on Tuesday night, as he tried to do a rail slide while holding a young, female fan and completely ate it.

Here’s another angle of the fall:

It looks much scarier that it actually was, as all reports indicate that everyone made it through the fall healthy.

No. 5 Xavier stumbles at Creighton, lose 70-54

Creighton's Cole Huff (13) and Toby Hegner, left, guard Xavier's Jalen Reynolds (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Leave a comment

Mo Watson went for a career-high 32 points, seven boards and five assists as Creighton jumped out to an early 21-4 lead and never looked back, beating No. 5 Xavier, 70-54, in Omaha on Tuesday night.

 

It was a massive win for the Bluejays, who still have an outside shot at earning an at-large bid this season. (We wrote all about that here.)

As well as Creighton played, the bigger story here may actually be Xavier, who lost for just the third time this season; they had been the only top ten team with just two losses to their name.

The issue for the Musketeers tonight was two-fold, but they both are a symptom of what could be an issue down the road for this team: Xavier doesn’t really have a true point guard.

They certainly didn’t have anyone to stop Watson. By the second half, they had essentially asked Reynolds, who was playing the middle of their 1-3-1 zone to matchup with Watson. It was weird but was actually somewhat effective.

The Musketeers also started out ice cold from the floor, missing 11 of their first 13 shots, and those misses led to leak outs from Bluejays, who got layups and open threes in transition to build that 17 point lead. Once Xavier got behind, it turned into scramble mode for Xavier. They forced shots early in the clock and didn’t start pounding the ball into the paint until it was too late. What they needed was someone to be able to settle things, to ensure that offensive would get initiated and sets would get executed when they were able to get the lead down to single digits.

That 1-for-19 shooting performance from beyond the arc certainly didn’t help matters, and neither did the fact that they got just nine field goals all game from players not named James Farr or Jalen Reynolds. The most frustrating part for head coach Chris Mack? They had good shots. It wasn’t like Creighton took away everything that Xavier wanted to do.

The kids just had one of those nights where nothing went down.

Those happen.

And when you combine them with a total inability to contain the opposing team’s point guard, what you get is a 16 point loss on the road against a team that was desperate to get a good win.