Associated Press, December 9, 2017
(AP) Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann sat his leading scorer less than five minutes into the game. It was a message that the Buckeyes had to play better defensively.
Keita Bates-Diop returned to the game two minutes later and went on to score a career-high 27 points to lead Ohio State to a 97-62 blowout victory against William & Mary on Saturday.
"I just wanted to see him improve his effort a little bit," Holtmann said. "I was ready to put him back in the game, I just wanted to see a little bit more stuff for him."
Bates-Diop shot 11 of 16 from the field and scored all his points after his brief moment next to Holtmann on the bench.
"I think it kind of just helped because it reset my mind," Bates-Diop said. "I obviously wasn't ready to play in those first few minutes so then him taking me out reset my mind, got back in and I was ready to play."
David Cohn and Nathan Knight led the way for the Tribe (6-3) with 15 and 13 points, respectively.
Freshman Kaleb Wesson scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds, and C.J. Jackson added 16 with six assists for the Buckeyes.
The Buckeyes (8-3) shot 65 percent from the field and made 11-of-21 3-point shots while dishing out a season-high 19 assists. Ohio State made 10 straight shots early in the second half and went on a 16-0 run to lead by 40 with four minutes remaining.
On the other side, William & Mary entered the game eighth in adjusted offensive efficiency and third in team 3-point makes per game. The Tribe shot 5 of 16 from 3 on Saturday.
"I thought they were terrific defensively," head coach Tony Shaver said. "I thought they prepared well for us and defensively, just really, really impressed. To beat a team like that, we have to rebound the ball and we couldn't hold our own inside, and we have to shoot it well. And we didn't do either one of those two, really."
Knight entered the game averaging 20.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. With the Tribe trailing 28-22, Knight caught a pass off a pick-and-roll and attacked the basket, but Ohio State forward Musa Jallow drew a charge. The next possession, Knight fouled Bates-Diop and went to the bench for the final 7:49 of the half with three fouls.
From that moment on, Ohio State attacked the paint and outscored William & Mary 20-10 the rest of the half. Andre Wesson's 3 with 12:05 showing on the first-half clock gave the Buckeyes a 22-20 lead and began a 27-4 run through the next 11 minutes.
"We obviously don't have much depth inside and we knew that coming in," Shaver said. "Obviously that changed the complexion a great deal."
Ohio State: The Buckeyes offense took advantage of a defense that ranks 316th in adjusted defensive efficiency. However, Bates-Diop turned in another impressive performance for he remains the Buckeyes' best scoring option.
William & Mary: The Tribe continues to struggle defending the 3-point line, ranking 233rd in the nation in 3-point field goal defense. The team has less than two weeks before play at No. 20 TCU.
Ohio State forward Kyle Young sat out Saturday's game with a sprained ankle. Holtmann said he will probably be available for the Buckeyes' next game next Saturday. William & Mary guards Matt Milon and Connor Burchfield are two of the Tribe's top sharpshooters. Ohio State held Milon to zero points and limited Burchfield to four in the second half after eight in the first half.
HE SAID IT:
Tony Shaver provided a candid opening statement that summed up the game from his perspective. "We got whipped. What else can you say? We got humbled by a team that is much, much better than we are."
Ohio State hosts Appalachian State at 6 p.m. next Saturday.
William & Mary returns home to play Milligan College next Sunday.