OSU forces a turnover with good defense
This blog has neglected defense for most of the beginning of the season but is trying to change that. Defense is as much a part of the game as offense and takes just as much basketball skill and awareness as offense.
In this play early in the Ohio State-Indiana game, OSU had to deal with several ball screens, which they handled nicely through hedging the screen and scrambling back to their defender. Dallas Lauderdale was a little slow in rotating back but Jared Sullinger did a great job of help defense.
Let’s take a look at the ball screens set by the Hoosiers and the defense played. As mentioned above, the Buckeyes hedged hard on the screen, cutting off the ballhandler. They then had to work hard to get back to their man, who was rolling toward the basket.
As you see here, Sullinger hedges hard on the ball, cutting off the lane so the ball handler cannot penetrate to the basket. He must loop around Sullinger, which will be enough time for the initial defender to recover.
Sullinger then scrambles back to his man, preventing a pass to the screener for a layup attempt.
A second ball screen is set, defender by Dallas Lauderdale. Lauderdale hedges but is a little slow to recover. It appears as though his man (#32) will be open off of the roll.
Jared Sullinger recognizes this and slides across the paint to pick him up. Lauderdale is taking away any pass that could go to Sullinger’s man, so the roll man is the dangerous offensive player. This is great team defense by Sullinger, as he slides over early to not allow a pass, instead of defending after the pass is caught in a favorable position.
There is a pretty seamless switch of men between Sullinger and Lauderdale, meaning Lauderdale has to defend a second pick and roll. Again, he is a little slow getting back to the roll man after his hedge. For a second time, Sullinger slides over for the help defense. He steps hard to the offensive player and forces a travel.
This possession showed great team defense by Ohio State, especially Sullinger. What I did not mention was the hustle showed by the guards of OSU, fighting through the ball screens to continue defending while allowing Sullinger or Lauderdale to recover to their man. Sullinger showed great recognition, stepping up to help on two separate occasions, which prevented Indiana from getting an open look at the basket.