Watching film Thursday of Ohio State’s season-opening loss to No. 22 South Florida revealed a few themes for coach Kevin McGuff.

When the Buckeyes, who fell 71-47 on Tuesday, strayed from their game plan — taking rushed, ill-advised shots or deviating from their offensive sets — they struggled. The 47-point output, the program’s lowest since Jan. 16, 2014, and 29.6 shooting percentage from the field reinforced McGuff’s observations.

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“We really have to stay within ourselves and the set or the offense that we’re trying to run,” he said. “Too much freelancing for us wasn’t good, which is a departure. We used to be able to do that in years past, but this team isn’t at a point where they can do that.”

Ohio State has a chance to make its first entry in the win column on Friday as it plays Detroit Mercy, which is 35-57 in its last three seasons, including a 2017-18 season in which it failed to win a game until Jan. 13.

Winning for Ohio State will require more efficient shot selection. The Buckeyes drove to the basket with more success in the third quarter against South Florida, but they had stretches in which they settled too easily, and too early in the shot-clock cycle, for three-point attempts.

The Buckeyes’ three post players in the rotation — Makayla Waterman, Dorka Juhasz and Aaliyah Patty — went a combined 0 of 10 from three-point range.

“It’s really just in general about taking good shots,” McGuff said. “If we execute, we’ll generate enough good shots and if we’re patient enough, we’ll make enough. But we just didn’t execute and got impatient at times.”

Improvement in practice was a key talking point for players and McGuff in the month leading up to the start of the season. Now comes the hard part.

“We’re practicing well. It’s going well and we’re getting better,” graduate transfer guard Carmen Grande said. “We’ve just got to show up on the big stage and actually do it.”

aerickson@dispatch.com

@AEricksonCD

Game preview

Detroit Mercy at Ohio State

7 TONIGHT

Where: Value City Arena

Notable: Junior guard Jensen Caretti returns to the lineup after a one-game suspension due to a violation of team rules. … Detroit Mercy is 1-0 after defeating NAIA school Michigan-Dearborn 68-60 Tuesday. … Ohio State has not gone 0-2 to start a season since 2015-16, when it opened the season against No. 2 South Carolina and No. 1 Connecticut. … Detroit went 2-28 last season.