The most significant slump of Kam Williams' career was starting to get to him. The Big Ten's top returning three-point shooter insisted that he wasn't doing anything differently. So, too, did his coaches and teammates, who lauded his effort and hard-earned ability to knock down shots from the perimeter. Yet, for three frustrating games, the same shots Williams had made over and over at Ohio State were clanking off the iron.

The most significant slump of Kam Williams' career was starting to get to him.

The Big Ten's top returning three-point shooter insisted that he wasn't doing anything differently. So, too, did his coaches and teammates, who lauded his effort and hard-earned ability to knock down shots from the perimeter. Yet, for three frustrating games, the same shots Williams had made over and over at Ohio State were clanking off the iron.

Then, less than a minute into the game Tuesday against Youngstown State, Williams swished a jumper from just inside the arc. Less than two minutes later, he canned a three-pointer and ran back upcourt, pointing three fingers to the side of his head in his customary celebration.

It was the start of a good night for the fourth-year junior, who tied for a team-high 15 points in Ohio State's most-decisive win of the season.

"It felt real good," Williams said. "It was real fun being out there."

In his previous three games, Williams had missed 15 of his 17 three-pointers as the Buckeyes lost to Florida Atlantic, squeaked by Connecticut and lost to No. 2 UCLA. Before the Florida Atlantic game, Williams had been shooting 52.5 percent (21 for 40) from three-point range after hitting 51.5 percent of his three-pointers in conference play last season.

Outside the practice gym where he had diligently worked on his shot, Williams said Monday that the struggles were playing with his head a little bit. Asked what was off, he said simply, "The ball's just not going down."

He finished 3 of 4 from beyond the arc against the Penguins and was in a good enough mood afterward to laugh about a missed dunk on an uncontested breakaway.

"It was so exciting to see him knock the first one down and a couple more of them," coach Thad Matta said. "When he missed the dunk, I told him, 'You're too close to the basket.' He has been in here, he has been working. We need Kam to do what Kam does."

Now the hope is that Williams can carry over a bounce-back night into the final nonconference game of the season tonight against UNC Asheville. The game is the final one of the calendar year for Buckeyes, who have one of their two Big Ten byes to open the season and won't play again until New Year's Day at Illinois.

Although Williams said his missed shots were playing with his head, he pointed out that they did not affect his confidence.

"I didn't really stop feeling (confident)," he said. "I was just missing. Every time I let it fly I assume it's going to go in, so it wasn't anything really different. Hopefully that's consistent (going forward). You've just got to hope when you go through a slump that it doesn't last long."

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy