COLUMBUS, Ohio — The 2018-19 season has been a roller coaster of a journey so far for the Ohio State men’s basketball team.
After an unexpected 12-1 start to the season, the Buckeyes then proceeded to lose their next five games. Since their losing streak, Ohio State has gone 4-1 in their last five games.
A large part of the recent success of the team has been due to junior forward Andre Wesson.
Last season, Wesson barely made any offensive impact on the court as he averaged just 2.9 points per game on 37.9% shooting from the floor and 28.6% shooting from three-point range.
Wesson’s contributions were so low that fans were actually yelling at head coach Chris Holtmann to take him out of games.
“I remember everyone was yelling at me, ‘Bench [Andre] Wesson and bench [Andrew] Dakich,’” Holtmann said.
Over the last six games, Wesson has been shooting at an impressive 56.3% clip from the floor, 38.1% from three-point range and is averaging 12.5 points per game.
Over the course of this season, he’s been averaging 8.9 points per game, establishing himself as one of the top scorers for the Buckeyes. In fact, Ohio State is 7-3 this season when Wesson scores in double figures.
“I think he struggled with, ‘how do I impact the game, where do I impact the game?’,” said Holtmann. “He’s moved into this year where he’s gotten even a better understanding of that: how can he impact the game based on his skills.”
Over the course of this season, Wesson has gained plenty of confidence in his offensive abilities due to the continued support from his teammates over the course of his career at Ohio State.
“My teammates have always been on me, ‘just keep shooting the ball,’ so I have put it on them,” Wesson said. “They have done a great job of boosting my confidence.”
That confidence has led the Buckeyes to a pair of close victories in their past two games as Wesson has scored a combined 30 points in their 74-70 victory over Penn State and their 55-52 victory at Indiana.
In Ohio State’s road win over Indiana on Sunday alone, Wesson scored nine of the Buckeyes’ final 13 points, including the slam dunk that sealed the victory as he finished the game with a game-high 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting.
Ohio State senior guard C.J. Jackson said he’s been expecting this out of Andre Wesson for a while now and is happy that Wesson is finally living up to his full potential.
“This is kind of the Andre that I’ve seen since he got here,” Jackson said. “It’s just a matter of him doing it and he’s playing unbelievable for us. We know he is a big key to our team and we are going to need his scoring, his ability to do everything that he does on the court for us.”
Ohio State finally got back to a .500 record in Big Ten play with their victory at Indiana and will most likely need to finish with at least a .500 record in the conference to make it back to the NCAA Tournament.
With a tough slate left to face in the regular season which features five ranked opponents in their final eight games with four of those eight being on the road, the Buckeyes will need Andre Wesson to continue this level of play and maybe even more to keep their hopes of March Madness alive.
Ohio State will look to extend their current winning streak from three games to four this Valentine’s Day and get to a winning record in the Big Ten as they take on Illinois in Columbus at Value City Arena. Tip-off on Thursday is scheduled for 7:00pm ET and the game will be televised on ESPN2.
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Categories: Men's Basketball