Wayne Blackshear scored 18 of his 22 points in the first half and Terry Rozier had three huge buckets down the stretch as No. 5 Louisville held off a surging No. 14 Ohio State to win 64-55 at the Yum! Center on Tuesday night.
It was not a complimentary performance from either team.
Ohio State couldn’t do anything right in the first half. Star freshman D’angelo Russell was forcing bad shots and throwing passes away as the Louisville-native struggled in his first trip back to his hometown, and as a team, the Buckeyes finished the first half just 6-for-25 from the floor.
The Cardinals built a 35-18 lead at the break, but they opened the second half shooting like the Buckeyes did in the first half, and if it didn’t take Ohio State until the 10 minute mark to finally wake up, they may have actually finished off their comeback.
There are a couple of things to take away from this game, and they don’t all involve some combination of “these two teams stink offensively” and “these two teams are great defensively”:
- Louisville needs that Wayne Blackshear to show up this season. That was the best game that he’s played since … his freshman season? He had 22 points on 6-for-13 shooting, hit four threes and chased down Kam Williams once in the first half, forcing him to miss a layup before drilling a thrill not five seconds later. That was a five-point swing that changed momentum early in the game. Obviously, he’s not going to average 22 a night, but if he can become that third option offensively, that’s huge. Because …
- … Chris Jones is not that guy. He was 3-for-15 on Tuesday, with three assists and four turnovers. He’s now shooting 28.6 percent from the floor and 10-for-33 from three with a 1.4/1 assist-to-turnover ration. But he does get after it defensively, I will give him that.
- Louisville’s Anas Mahmoud is going to be really good one day, and Quentin Snider might be as well, but the Cards are going to need those two freshmen to develop fast. Their bench is non-existent right now.
- Louisville needs a closer? Looks like Rozier is the guy. He hit two threes and had a driving bucket in the final minutes to hold off the Buckeyes.
- Ohio State’s Shannon Scott cannot go 1-for-7 from the floor with five turnovers and no assists. He simply cannot do that as a senior.
- Russell is still trying to do too much right now, but when he slows down and makes the right play, he can be a nightmare to try and slow down. The key for him? Don’t force shots. Don’t try to squeeze in passes to a tight area. Make the smart play, don’t try to make Sportscenter.