In any normal year, a 44-point defeat of a second-tier opponent in an exhibition game might not tell you much about a particular Buckeye basketball team.
This year, with all the new pieces on Ohio State’s roster not having much time to play together, Tuesday’s show was more insightful than usual. Among the headlines from 101-57 beat Chaminade It was an outstanding performance from Tanner Holden, injury absences to Judge Swing and Eugene Brown and a wide range of contributions from the Buckeyes’ freshman class.
Here are a few takeaways from the Tuesday fair in Schott.
Holden red hot off the bench
Wright State’s transfer came off the bench at Tuesday’s Show. If Holden continues to play as he did against Chaminade, that will quickly change.
In just 25 minutes of play, Holden lost 25 points to lead all scorers, firing 10 of his 12 shooting attempts on a highly efficient night. Holden demolished his 3-point shot attempt, dipping the ball twice and diverting it on several shot attempts as well.
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Nineteen of Holden’s points came in the first half alone, as he led Ohio State 19-2 in the final 6:26 before the break. This extension essentially killed off any hope of a close relationship with Chaminade, which the Buckeyes couldn’t hold out after that.
Holtman said Holden struggled in the Bucks’ “secret” brawl against Wake Forest last week, but his performance against Chaminade suggests that won’t necessarily be the norm.
“Tanner was good. Tanner really struggled in the melee. …so I felt he was playing better. Obviously he was really engaged and did some great things tonight and played really well,” Holtmann said. “But I think that day was kind of like ,” Stop “. It was such an opening for him, he just came back the right way and lowered his head down and worked differently. I knew he would respond.”
Holden led the bench unit that scored 57 of 101 points at Ohio State on the night, and it will be tough to take him off the field if he continues as productive as he was in Tuesday’s game with the Silverswords. Either way, Holtman said Holden would play “start-type minutes” even if he didn’t start, and Holtman said he’s comfortable playing any role with the Buckeyes.
“I would play anywhere. Coach Holtman is a great coach. He knows where to put people and what to do,” Holtman said. “In general, just finding my league. We got off to a great start. But we have a lot of players, a lot of multi-skilled players who can play. My teammates have done me really well. As you know, we have a lot of players who can score such a goal. So it will be a good season for us.”
Still no prosecution
Any fans hoping to see the return of Judge Swing after he missed all but two games last season has left the Schuttenstein center frustrated.
During pre-season, the Buckeye attacking captain and year six said he had an “110% chance” of health from the abdominal injury he has sustained since the end of the 2020-21 season. But Swing had another health issue in the lead-up to the season, albeit a much less serious one.
Holtman reported at Big Ten Media Days last month that Sueing sprained his ankle the previous week, and that caused the veteran winger to walk out of the Tuesday show. However, it seems likely – though not certain – that Swing might fit in for Ohio State’s season opener against Robert Morris on Monday.
“I would expect Justice to get close to that point. Justice, I feel bad for the baby,” said Holtmann. “Because it was a part of pretty much everything we did once he was healthy at the end of the summer. He might have played in the Bahamas, but that was more of a precaution. And that, he just had a sprained ankle, came back, and played in the melee. Then he sprained his ankle again, the same ankle, which is why he came out.”
Swing is an Ohio State starter when he’s healthy, and he might even be the best player on a team full of transfers and freshmen. He’ll have to go to court to prove it, but Sueing’s ankle shouldn’t keep him out for long.
Even without long wingers in Swing and Brown, whom Holtman called two of his best rebounders, Ohio State had a size advantage against Chaminade. It appeared at 54-22 edge in points in the paint.
However, it did not appear on glass to the same extent. Especially early. Ohio State held only a 25-24 rebound advantage in the first half, and that was after a late rally in the opening period. The Buckeyes gave up nine offensive rebounds to the Silverswords in the first half and 16 in the game. Ohio State only has nine offensive boards for the entire game.
“I don’t think we’re nearly where we need to be at that end. On both ends,” Holtman said… We really stressed it out.” I don’t think we’re nearly where we want to be. We are not physically enough. We don’t chase the ball hard enough. Our size is okay, but not overwhelming. And I think we have to be better in this area.”
Felix Okpara finished off with nine rebounds to lead all the pokies, but Kee, who started from the center, only slipped with five rebounds. While Holtmann credited Kee’s ability as an offensive offensive player, he said the big little guy should work on clearing the glass when defending.
Beginning of the new students’ struggle to attack
Holtman started two true starters against Chamenade, with Bruce Thornton and Bryce Sensabao having their first exhibition match at Ohio State. In terms of proficiency in attack, though, they both left something to be desired.
Despite finishing 11 assists at the highest level, Thornton fired 1 for 7 from the ground and finished the night with two points in 26 minutes.
As for Sensabaugh, who Sueing may replace in the starting lineup when the Hawaiian is back to full health, he was none hotter than attacking. Sensabao missed his first five shots as he struggled to go early. The first-year winger went on to score three of his last six shots to finish the game with 11 points, and his eight follow-up was a welcome sight as well, given the overall effort in this division. But it wasn’t the explosive performance some had hoped for.
Rudy Gale had the best night of any new Buckeye player in attack, dropping 6 of 7 shots to finish 14 points and +/minus 41, and Bowen Hardman silenced some skeptics with a 12-point performance in a 4-of-6 out of 3 range points.
But Holtman said Hardman, a three-star candidate who graduated from high school, “is not physically ready to compete at either end.”
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Likely, McNeil sticks things together
Holden had an outstanding performance that night, but two other additions from Ohio State showed that they will be able to contribute a lot to Buckeye’s squad this season as well. Oklahoma State and West Virginia both got the nods of Isaac Leekeley and Sean McNeill to start Tuesday, and both finished with double figures or close to that in the scoring column.
Likekele, who often played the ball when Thornton was on the floor, put in 10 points in a 4-for-6 shot. Likekele scored in different ways, going from coast to coast on a single throw, hitting a turning jump at the high post and even calling on his 3-pointer attempt at the night. For a player who reached just 19 triples in his first four seasons in college basketball, the 3-point score was an especially promising mark for Holtman and company.
Lakele also had four rebounds, three assists and three steals, packing it all into just 19 minutes of play.
McNeil didn’t score in the first half but quickly intensified at the start of the final frame. Of his four three-point attempts in the second half, McNeil scored three of them, finishing with nine points in just nine minutes on the field in the closing period.