The young Buckeyes broke loose the day after Thanksgiving, giving their best performance of the season against the Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos. For the first time all season, Thad Matta's squad looked like a top five team, cruising past UMKC 91-45.

Deshaun Thomas led the team again, compiling 21 points and eight rebounds. Lenzelle Smith Jr. added 13 points thanks to a 3-5 performance behind the arc, while Sam Thompson had 11 points. The Buckeyes as a whole shot over 60% from the floor and 56% from three.

The biggest story had to be the bench, though. Shannon Scott (10 points, 10 assists) played critical minutes and electrified the crowd, pushing the tempo and running the floor. LaQuinton Ross also had 11 points and 5 rebounds in 22 minutes of action. Even Trey McDonald and freshman Amedeo Della Valle looked good when they saw the floor.

Next, the Buckeyes head to Cameron Indoor Stadium to take on Duke on Wednesday.

You can find more coverage from the post-game press conference (via OhioStateBuckeyes.com) after the break...

Thad Matta, Ohio State head coach

On the game

“I was excited to see our guys play from start to finish. Going into the game we didn’t want Kansas City to be comfortable on offense because they run their offense very well. We had to disrupt them, and I thought our guys did that very well.”

On this week’s practices

“Coming out of last weekend, I didn’t think we played as well as we need to. We didn’t take a day off [this week]. Monday was a lengthy film session from both games. When you play two games you don’t get a lot of time to watch film. We’ve been very competitive in terms of practice this past week. Yesterday’s practice was very high level. Hopefully they continue to understand that the way we practice is the way we play.”

On his team’s performance tonight

“What you saw was guys doing what they were supposed to do. I think one of the biggest challenges for this team is that we continue to embrace humility and know that we’re not a finished product. There’s still a lot of role definition to do. Tonight was a step in the right direction in terms of that concept.”

On sophomore guard Shannon Scott

“I could not be happier for Shannon [Scott] in terms of him letting go, getting into the flow and having a sixth sense of what we need to be doing. He’s a talented young man and works extremely hard. Is he going to get a double-double every night? I don’t know. Tonight he used his talents on both ends of the floor.”

Shannon Scott, sophomore guard

On his improved play this season

“I think the biggest thing is that I’ve calmed down a lot from last year. At times last year I got anxious, but now I’m letting the game come to me.”

On team defense leading to offense

“When we’re all playing good ‘D’, we get excited, and it really helps to improve our offense, especially the transition game.”

On the Duke game

“They’re a great team. They have us circled on their calendar, so we know they’ll be ready. We’re going to need to have a great week of preparation to be at our best.”

Deshaun Thomas, junior forward

On the improved team play in tonight’s game

“We knew we had another gear in us. When we got up big, we kept our foot on the gas, kept playing hard as a team, and it showed.”

On the upcoming trip to Duke

“It’s going to be a great experience. Their fans are wild and it is a crazy environment. I’m looking forward to it.”

Matt Brown, University of Missouri-Kansas City head coach

On their strategy against Ohio State

“One weakness for Ohio State is on the inside. We felt like if we could get the ball within five or six feet of the basket, we could compete. They aren’t a great inside shooting team, and we wanted to get them in foul trouble. Unfortunately, they didn’t let up and kept making shots.”

On the Buckeyes dominance against the ‘Roos

“We gave them a lot of early shots. A lot of kids haven’t been in an environment like this before. Scott did extremely well with 10 assists and only one turnover. Craft does a great job of taking care of the ball. They had some wide-open looks at the basket. They are a terrific team.”

On how UMKC can learn from the loss today

“We have to play a lot of teams like this coming up. We have two big away games coming up against good teams. Hopefully it makes us better, and this experience can help leads us to some wins.”

 


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