Stifling defense powers Ohio State to impressive road win at Marquette

It may come back to haunt Ohio State at some point this season if its jump shots remain off target, LaQuinton Ross stays ice cold and no go-to scorer emerges to replace Deshaun Thomas.

Saturday was not that day.

Ohio State delivered perhaps the most impressive true road victory by any team so far this season even though it scored less points at Marquette than the 60 its football team put up at Illinois around the same time. The Buckeyes thrashed the 17th-ranked Golden Eagles 52-35 behind a devastating defensive effort, forcing 20 turnovers and limiting Marquette to 18.9 percent shooting from the field and 1 of 18 shooting from behind the arc.

With Buzz Williams apparently unready to play highly touted freshman guards Deonte Burton and JaJuan Johnson this early in the season, Marquette lacked the perimeter scoring pop to replace the departed Vander Blue and Junior Cadougan.

Derrick Wilson, Jake Thomas and Todd Mayo seldom generated open looks for themselves or their teammates, sinking just 4 of 29 attempts and failing to get high-scoring big man Davante Gardner enough touches. Shannon Scott had five steals by himself for Ohio State, which played solid team defense by switching screens, clogging the passing lanes, communicating effectively and providing help when necessary.

Marquette's defense matched Ohio State's for a half, but the Buckeyes managed to score more efficiently after the break.

Though Ross went scoreless on six shots and Ohio State made just 3 of 18 attempts from behind the arc, the Buckeyes started attack in transition more effectively in the second half and got some easy buckets before the defense was set. That helped them score 12 points in the first 3:45 of the second half, an offensive explosion that allowed Ohio State to seize control of a game that had been tied at 19 at the half.

The visit to Marquette was Ohio State's only road game of the non-conference season and its toughest game until a Dec. 21 neutral-court date with Notre Dame. A more effecient half-court attack might be necessary that day, but credit the Buckeyes for winning convincingly without one Saturday.