Bulldogs lose 90-72 to OSU, but Hornsby a hit
For a change, the most famous Hornsby in the family wasn't Bruce.
None of Ohio State's players really had a handle on the music star, but they sure know his son.
UNC Asheville's Keith Hornsby scored a career-high 26 points but the seventh-ranked Buckeyes still rolled to a 90-72 win over UNC Asheville on Saturday.
''Bruce Hornsby?'' repeated Ohio State's Evan Ravenel. ''Isn't he a singer? Maybe a musician?''
His son, a sophomore guard, made 9 of 12 shots from the field including 6 of 8 3-pointers, to garner rave reviews from the Buckeyes.
''The funny thing is, (Bruce and I) were texting last night and he said, `Please let my son score,''' Ohio State coach Thad Matta said with a laugh. ''I told him (after the game), `We did a very, very good job of that.'''
Hornsby, with his father sitting behind the team bench, kept getting open and kept swishing shots.
''I was able to get some shots to go down and had a lot of help from my teammates to help me get open,'' said Hornsby, who added five rebounds and an assist in 37 minutes.
Lenzelle Smith Jr., who had primary responsibility for guarding him, frequently had a hand in his face on shots but he knocked them down anyway.
''Honestly, he's a good player. He came in here rolling,'' he said. ''You've got a guy like that with a hot hand, you don't contain him early in the game it's always going to be tougher.''
Will Weeks added 14 points and Jeremy Atkinson 11 for the Asheville (3-7).
Ohio State won because it shot 59 percent from the field for the game - mostly due to the Bulldogs (3-7) not getting back on defense. Time and time again the Buckeyes beat them back for easy layups or dunks.
Sam Thompson scored a career-high 18 points, Deshaun Thomas had 17 points and 10 rebounds, Smith added 16 points and Ravenel tied a career best with 12 points in the first half for the Buckeyes (8-1).
Thompson said film study helped the Buckeyes.
''We watched film a lot on them the past couple of days and we noticed that they didn't stop the ball particularly well,'' said Thompson, who electrified the crowd with a breakaway, windmill dunk after the game was long decided. ''We definitely tried to capitalize on that.''
They outscored the Bulldogs 26-2 in fast-break points and picked up 25 points off of Asheville's 17 turnovers.
The Buckeyes scored on 14 of 19 possessions during one span in the first half and took a 50-35 lead at the break before stretching it out in the opening five minutes of the last half.
Hornsby's previous career high was 23 earlier this season against another top team, North Carolina State. The Bulldogs hung around in that big intrastate showdown before falling 82-80 on Nov. 23.
''Keith is a great shooter and a great athlete. He's a great person on top of it,'' Asheville coach Eddie Beidenbach said. ''But he also has a great deal of improving to do in his understanding team play - he's not a selfish player - but he just doesn't run timing plays and he falls asleep on defense from time to time. I'm reallly looking forward to working with him this whole season and we get into his junior and senior year because he has a lot of improving to do. But he's a pretty tough player.''
Matta had seen Hornsby during his playing days at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia.
''I walked into the gym the spring of his senior year and I'm like, `Wow, this kid can play,''' Matta said. ''Obviously we didn't do a good enough job of getting our guys to guard him because he's much more athletic than most people think. As a sophomore to come in and do what he did, that was quite a performance.''
Hornsby had more to say about his team than his own performance.
''Ohio State is the best team we've played this year. We did a lot of good things but not enough against a great Ohio State team,'' he said. ''We battled hard and had some good stretches. We just need to smooth out some of the rough stretches we had and we'll be a good team.''
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