Shannon Scott waited three years behind or alongside Aaron Craft for the opportunity to run the Ohio State offense. Finally enjoying that opportunity, he never expected to have a night like he did on Tuesday.

Shannon Scott waited three years behind or alongside Aaron Craft for the opportunity to run the Ohio State offense. Finally enjoying that opportunity, he never expected to have a night like he did on Tuesday.

A senior co-captain and the Division I assists leader entering the game, Scott sat out the final 12:07 of the Buckeyes' loss at Louisville - except for a three-second appearance on defense - while coach Thad Matta handed freshman D'Angelo Russell the reins to the offense.

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As Scott watched from the bench, No. 14 Ohio State rallied from an 18-point deficit to as close as three with 1:12 to play before falling 64-55 to the fifth-ranked Cardinals.

Russell, playing with four fouls, had 15 points, three assists and one turnover during the comeback. He finished with 17 points, six assists and four turnovers.

"When we struggle as much as we struggled in the first half (scoring 18 points and shooting 23.1 percent), we were looking for just getting some type of offensive continuity," assistant coach Dave Dickerson said, "and D'Angelo, even though he didn't shoot the ball well from the field (6 of 20), we thought he competed well and the pressure didn't bother him.

"Putting him on the basketball in the second half really paid dividends for us."

Dickerson stood in at the postgame news conference for Matta, who remained in the locker room with senior Anthony Lee, who was told after the game that his grandmother had died earlier in the day.

Scott had three points and five turnovers before Matta took him off the floor. He was credited with no assists, but a video review of the game showed him lobbing a pass to Amir Williams for a dunk early in the second half. The assist was erroneously credited to Russell.

Regardless, it was a far cry from Scott's 10.4 average assists and nearly 5-1 assist-to-turnover ratio before the game. But Dickerson said to read nothing into the move other than an in-game tactic to try to spark the offense.

"As coaches, you do what you need to do to try to win the game," he said. "Obviously, we felt comfortable with D'Angelo. I thought he did a great job of handling their pressure and finding our shooters. But that doesn't signify that we're making a change. Shannon Scott is an important person in our program, and we will continue to ride him, and he will bounce back."

Scott was not available to the media after the game. His only appearance in the final 12 minutes was for three seconds in the final minute, when he was inserted for Russell when the Buckeyes, down four points, had to foul. They did, and Russell returned.

"We didn't finish the game, but it's definitely a learning experience," Russell said. "As a team, we didn't come out ready to play. … We can't bring that forward."

bbaptist@dispatch.com

@BBaptistHoops