Bilal Boutobba (right) in action for France’s Under-17s last season Arsenal are set to mount a pursuit for Sevilla target Bilal Boutobba, according to reports in Spain.The Marseille teenager has been on the Gunners’ radar since January and he recently rejected a new contract offer from the Ligue 1 club.Sevilla were leading the race to land the attacking midfielder but, according to Estadio Deportivo, the north Londoners are now ready to gatecrash the Spanish club’s plans.A France youth international, Boutobba made his senior debut at the age of 16 but has been kept back in the club’s second team this season.But that has not prevented Arsenal and Sevilla from continuing to scout the youngster. Both clubs are expected to make contact with the player before the end of the season to try and negotiate a free transfer. 1
ST. LOUIS – The Drake University softball team has been picked to finish fourth in the 2016 Missouri Valley Conference annual preseason poll as voted by the league’s coaches, the MVC office announced Wednesday, Jan. 27. Drake, who claimed the 2015 MVC regular season title after being selected sixth in the preseason poll, earned 72 points in 2016. Wichita State was tabbed the preseason favorite for the second straight season with 84 points. Missouri State (76) and UNI (74) finished just in front of the Bulldogs and Illinois State rounded out the top five with 70 points. Drake starts the 2016 campaign on Feb. 12 against Saint Louis at the UNI Dome Tournament in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Print Friendly Version
Corning >> The Corning girls kept the ball from No. 4 Live Oak for most of the afternoon during their 5-1 win.The Cards made more than 60 steals total with Masiel Anaya and Brisa Martinez leading with nine and eight respectively.Nayeli Lara led the scoring with two goals and Brianna Cardoso, Perla Luevano and Itzel Ramirez each made goals as well. Live Oak made one early goal but was quickly overwhelmed and for the remainder of the game as the Cardinals were determined to keep the ball as …
Independent filmmaker, Sibs Shongwe-La Mer, is challenging the film industry with his high quality low-fi movies.(Image: Shamin Chibba) Shongwe-La Mer’s “Territorial Pissings” will feature at the 70th Venice International Film Festival at the end of August.(Image: The Whitman Independent) A scene from “Territorial Pissings” depicting dispossessed youth, which is a major theme in the story.(Image: The Whitman Independent) MEDIA CONTACTS • Sibs Shongwe-La Mer +27 82 0700 640 RELATED ARTICLES • Triggerfish takes on the big boys • Locally-made films get Oscar nod • Local presence at global film event • Hollywood honour for local filmmaker Shamin ChibbaWhen South African low-fi filmmaker Sibs Shongwe-La Mer stood up on stage at TEDx Johannesburg, a conference where creative minds gather to share ideas, he seized the audience’s attention by asking: “What happened to that inner child? What happened to the creative we have left to die?” The 21-year-old was referring to society’s willingness to give its creative powers to a handful of industry gatekeepers.Dressed in a scruffy checked jacket, jeans, a red beanie and two silver studs hanging from his bottom lip, Shongwe-La Mer epitomised the anti-establishment message he delivered on stage. “I believe we should all just express ourselves. As an audience member let me decide what is good or not. I hate the idea of gatekeepers.”It is this courage to challenge the creative industry, coupled with some bold filmmaking, that has taken Shongwe-La Mer to the 70th Venice International Film Festival. His latest offering, Territorial Pissings, has been selected for the festival’s first edition of the Final Cut in Venice workshop, which will take place on 31 August. The programme will showcase four African films that are in post-production.Named after a song by American grunge band Nirvana, Territorial Pissings plays out over Youth Day and focuses on the conversations between disillusioned, middle-class young adults living in suburban Johannesburg. “Even though it is Youth Day, you see all these kids doing drugs, experimenting with their sexuality, and not knowing where they are. This is the generation I grew up in.”Shongwe La-Mer said every part of the film was taken from his experiences as a black youth raised in an affluent suburb, including the dramatic hanging of one of the characters in the introduction. “Suburbs are not havens. Bad things happen there.”At the festival, the film will compete against The Cat by Ibrahim El Batout of Egypt, Challat Tunes by Kaouther Ben Hania of Tunisia, and Avec Presque Rien by Nantenaina Lova of Madagascar. Producers, distributors, buyers and festival programmers will assess each film, after which they will choose the best one for the grand prize. The winner will receive more than €55 000 (R750 000 or $73 000) in technical expertise, including sound mixing, digital colour correction and special effects.Even though the festival is still to start, just being selected has already brought Shongwe La-Mer international recognition. Russian, Ukrainian and French distributors have approached him to buy Territorial Pissings to distribute it globally.Shongwe-La Mer’s low-fi films are created with little or no budget, which means he needs to use equipment ranging from a camera phone to a handheld camcorder. And as with Territorial Pissings, his production crew is no more than four people. Yet he never intended on entering the independent arena. “I make and release a lot of music; I exhibit as a photographer and I write. So filmmaking kind of came full-circle. Film, it seemed, would embody everything that I love.” Anti-establishment sentimentsHis independent style, he implied, challenged the conventional way films were made. For him, being chosen for the festival was testament to the idea that films did not need budgets or gatekeepers to be successful. “Who are these five people who have money and are dictating how things are going to be? They are not experts of the soul or spirit quality. We are. What we need is people doing things with creative ideas.”In his TEDx talk, Shongwe-La Mer said the film industry was dying. Strong words indeed, which many around him feared would anger industry role players. But he was unfazed. He added that creativity started before industry put a price tag on it. “Our history was of a free creativity way before enterprise. And now enterprise has wasted away and because of that they are saying we cannot be creative anymore. But I say, ‘No, that is not true’. This is the most beautiful time because we are returning to the roots of creativity.” Minimalist filmmaking is his messageAfter graduating from high school, Shongwe La-Mer tried to join the film industry but was rejected. After some deliberation, he realised he could produce his own films without the approval of the industry. He began by using a high-definition cellphone for filming as well as a small production crew. He quickly gained recognition online for his honest storytelling. “If you have a Facebook account there will be 2 000 people who have you in their pockets at any time.”While Territorial Pissings may depict a group of directionless youth trying to make sense of life, Shongwe-La Mer said he was not trying to punt a particular message. Instead, he held that his message lay in the way he made his films. His focus is on practical action that will encourage creativity in people. “If you do what you do in an interesting way, people will be inspired to do even better things from that platform. For a lot of people, what I spoke about on [the TEDx] stage will not hit home. Not until they pick up a camera and create something, even just for fun.” The Whitman IndependentShongwe-La Mer established The Whitman Independent, a platform for independent filmmakers, artists and photographers to showcase their work at minimal cost compared to mainstream platforms.In its short existence, it has already challenged an established gallery by representing Cape Town fine art photographer Jordan Sweke. Sweke approached the gallery on his own to ask if it would exhibit display his work, but he was turned away. But after The Whitman Independent represented Sweke in an exhibition at the same gallery, the owners praised his photography. “What is this system that is killing artists like [Sweke]?” asked Shongwe-La Mer. “After being rejected, an artist does not go to the next gallery. You know what he does? He makes a fashion photography reel and goes into advertising because he does not believe he can be an artist.”The Whitman Independent, which operates in Johannesburg and Cape Town, has hosted 15 exhibitions and two film festivals since February. It has also published its first book, Culture, a compilation of illustrations, short stories and poetry. In September, it will go beyond the confines of art when it hosts its first food day in the Mother City. “Me and the Cape Town curator were saying that the first sign of a free society is when food becomes less expensive,” said Shongwe La-Mer.View an excerpt of Territorial Pissings on the Brand South Africa blog.
Related Posts When it comes to smart city innovation, it’s arguable that most use cases are not that exciting to the average resident. A connected garbage bin, traffic light or parking meter is not going to cause applause and adoration for city officials at least in the first instance. But as more and more local systems start to communicate, it will start to make more sense and increase consumer satisfaction, at least until residents forget a life before they existed.I spoke to Peeter Kivestu, director of travel industry solutions and marketing from analytics solutions and consulting services company, Teradata. Kivestu believes that much of the focus has been on connecting the ‘things’ rather than the data within. The value of data grows with use according to Kivestu: “If you have data and you use it, it increases in value, particularly if you curate it, integrate it or get to use it in a purposeful way.”He believes that there’s an opportunity for cities to embrace a platform business model where the city enables a level of connectivity around its data. Inherent to this is what he calls a smart data exchange, a new kind of asset that enables cities to evolve into a new way of delivering value for its citizens so this when it gets back to the social economic benefits.Smart data from cities is, for the most part, siloed and fragmentedAccording to Kivestu:“A city is working when all of its systems work together and when all of its people benefit in some way. But when systems are disconnected or parts of the population are disconnected and not able to access value, then the city is dysfunctional. A city is a system of systems. Yes the systems themselves are physically connected. So you’ve got highways, energy systems and buildings and city services they’re all there happily coexisting in the real universe, but digitally they’re not connected at all.”Kivestu offers the example of wanting to attend a football game at a local stadium, mindful that traffic around the stadium will be at capacity:“I’m just going to drive my car to a local parking lot and park there and take transit. So that’s a reasonable thing to do and I can do that in the physical world. Digitally I can find out when the transit is leaving, the departure times and so forth. But I really don’t have any idea about the situation in the parking lot so I drive my car to the parking lot. I find out the parking lot is full and therefore I miss the transit and I miss the football game.”This kind of technology in progress and shared data would increase opportunities for innovation in this space. For example, smart app, Just Park, that sells parking spaces that guide you not only to the stadium but your seat. Smart stadiums can also benefit staff and officials through accurate real-time data such as the number of people present and their locations, tools that are useful in case of an emergency or a missing child. Smart surveillance can also be utilized to provide safety evacuation information such as instructions and directions in the case of an emergency analytics can be coordinated with weather and traffic information outside of the stadium. This means fans can leave happy, with the knowledge of their fastest route home.Connecting Commercial and Public InfrastructureHowever, for this to happen outside of the commercial arena, like smart stadiums, the data needs to be connected across the city and commercial infrastructure. As Kivestu explains:“There are lots of cases where we have data but it resides in silos as it was built for different purposes. For example, there are safety implications to create variable speed limits on highways. If there’s been a blockage on the highway up ahead of you then the variable speed limit sign shows a lower speed to warn drivers that ahead of traffic congestion.However, the two systems of data that collect the blockage on the highway and determine the speed shown on the highway live in two different environments. So if somebody comes along and asks a question ‘Do variable speed limits work?’ The next thing they find it will not be easy to answer not knowing that they operate in two different systems. Then, in the process of bringing the data together, you find that the data is measured in different units or the speed limits are on roadway mile markers and the highway speed data is referenced in some other way making them difficult to compare from a data perspective.” Good data is open data with cities setting their own needs based local agendaIntegral to the notion of a shared data repository is accessible open data, a concept embraced in many cities including LA, Barcelona and New York. Many cities are opening their data to both businesses, universities, and citizens to enable them to gain in-depth insight into the lived reality of the city. Every guy who wants to build an app like that if they have to go build their own data systems it is going to take longer.”Ultimately, Kivestu believes that each city needs to determine what data is most fundamental to the life of their city.“It may be sustainability, greenhouse gases, the best way to distribute electric vehicle charging stations or what should be built and where. The growth of electric vehicles means that it makes sense for car and electricity grid data to be connected.You want to give developers the information so that they have so that they are encouraged to do the right thing. Smart cities need to make life better in the city especially with an aging population base. These problems are not going to go away.” Cate Lawrence Tags:#connect stadium#data exchange#open data#smart city#smart transport#Teradata How Data Analytics Can Save Lives AI: How it’s Impacting Surveillance Data Storage Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Follow the Puck
West Ham blow as keeper Fabianski out for EIGHT weeksby Ian Ferris25 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveWest Ham keeper Lukasz Fabianski has been ruled out for at least two months with a torn hip muscle.The 34 year old Polish stopper suffered the injury taking a goal-kick during West Ham’s 2-2 draw at Bournemouth on Saturday and was substituted in the 34th minute. TagsPremiership NewsAbout the authorIan FerrisShare the loveHave your say
American men’s tennis is at a nadir. No Grand Slam singles champion in 11 years. No Grand Slam singles semifinalist in over five years. The U.S. Open unfolding now in New York is the 12th straight Grand Slam without an American man in the quarterfinals, and the seventh of the last eight with none in the fourth round.1The only active American man to even reach a major semifinal is Robby Ginepri, who is 31 and ranked 204th in the world.American women’s tennis is led by the No. 1 player in the world, Serena Williams, who has won 17 Grand Slam titles and remains the favorite to win the U.S. Open for the third year in a row.I wondered, though: Are the American women a stronger force in world tennis than the American men are? Beyond Serena and Venus Williams — who are 32 and 34 years old, respectively — are the women any deeper and stronger than the men?To check, I downloaded the latest singles rankings from both the men’s ATP World Tour and the women’s WTA tour — every player in the world who has a professional ranking point, even just one.As of Aug. 25, the start of the U.S. Open, there are 2,232 ranked men and 1,323 ranked women. About one in 12 of the ranked women are from the U.S., more than from any other nation (Russia trails narrowly). U.S. men make up one in 16 of all ranked professional players, tied with France for most in the world.Counting ranked players is a pretty rough gauge of national tennis strength. A player outside the Top 500 will appear in few tour events, let alone Grand Slams. Getting a ranking can be a product of opportunity as much as merit. An American player who’s just as good as, say, an Algerian player lives much closer to events where he can earn points, and therefore doesn’t have to spend as much to play.So I went beyond merely counting ranked players and added up the ranking points for each nation. This is a decent proxy for how much money players have earned in the sport, because ranking points generally scale with earnings. The bigger the tournament, the more points and dollars are available; and the further a player advances, the bigger a piece of the pie she earns. By this math, Serena Williams’s 2,000 points for winning the U.S Open last year — which still counts in the latest 52-week ranking — is worth slightly more than No. 24 Sloane Stephens’s cumulative tennis accomplishments in the last year. And Serena’s annual achievements are worth about five Sloanes in national tennis strength.That feels about right. Having lots of Top 100 players is nice in the first couple of days of a Grand Slam tournament. Having one player who can consistently reach the last couple of days of a Grand Slam is much nicer.Here, the U.S. women dominate their peers, and their male counterparts. They hog 12 percent of the world’s female tennis talent — half again as much as runner-up Russia. The U.S. men have just 5 percent of global male talent. The U.S. trails four European nations — Spain, France, Serbia and Switzerland — that combined have less than one-half the population of the U.S.Just five years ago, American men and women were much closer in their global tennis standing. American men held 8 percent of tennis ranking points, compared to 10 percent for women. The women have rebounded slightly while the men have lost ground.American men’s tennis boosters can point to a few reasonable explanations. First, the men’s long-term slump is less precipitous than the women’s. I checked by downloading pre-U.S. Open rankings data from the ATP and WTA websites for prior years, with major help from my colleague, Paul Schreiber. At this stage of the season in 1999 — the first year for which WTA ranking data is available on the WTA website — American women commanded 21 percent of global tennis power. American men held 11 percent. The men have narrowed the gender gap even as they have fallen further behind the rest of the world.2Any comparison can look different depending on which dates we choose to start and end with. The U.S. men’s slow decline over the last 15 years followed a crash, from 26 percent heading into the 1990 U.S. Open and 18 percent in 1994.Globalization also has brought more competition to the men’s game. Over the last few decades, the sport’s footprint has expanded further beyond the traditional bases in the four Grand Slam-hosting nations (the U.S., U.K., France and Australia). This is particularly so in the men’s game. That’s partly because of unequal opportunities; many countries still haven’t given girls the same chance to play sports as boys, or have done so only recently. Economic incentives have also favored the men: The Grand Slams equalized pay only seven years ago, and many other tournaments still pay men more than women. There also are more men’s professional events, which helps explain why there are more ranked male players than female players.The result is that 104 countries have ranked men, compared to just 79 countries with ranked women. That represents an increase of 14 countries from this time in 1999 for the men, but a rise of just four countries for the women.American women also are competing with fewer talent bases around the world. Russia is the only other country with at least 5 percent of the world’s ranked women. Three other countries besides the U.S. have a share that big of all ranked men.Another way to understand the men’s relative struggles is that the Williams sisters might be outliers who skew the whole comparison. Their story often has been described as one of the most remarkable in sports history, and rightly so. Their parents, Richard Williams and Oracene Price, trained them at a very young age with the goal of making each the No. 1 player in the world. Their daughters each achieved that audacious goal, and did so outside the well funded national centers. They have remained so good, past the age that most other women’s greats retired, that they account today for more than one-third of all U.S. women’s ranking points.What if the Williams family had never picked up tennis rackets? Then U.S. women would account for less than 8 percent of global talent today, much closer to their male counterparts.3Comparable earlier figures are 5 percent before the 2009 U.S. Open, 13 percent in 2004 and 17 percent in 1999. American women other than the Williams sisters have rebounded slightly after a steep decline. That group includes a number of young players who could one day enter the Top 10 but so far have performed inconsistently, including Stephens, Christina McHale and Madison Keys. None of them — nor the other three American women who rank behind the two Williams sisters but inside the Top 50 — reached the third round of the U.S. Open.4Remove John Isner and Donald Young, the top two American men, from the sport and the U.S. men’s share of global pro tennis power drops just one percentage point, to 4 percent.Here’s an even more outrageous hypothetical: What if Richard and Oracene had trained two young sons instead of daughters, and Jupiter and Steve had the same success that Venus and Serena have had? American men would hog a greater portion of global tennis talent than American women would today.While that scenario is farfetched, it is rooted in the reality of a sport usually dominated by just a few superstars. Even when American tennis was much deeper than it is today, one or two singular talents carried most of the load for winning big tournaments and contending for No. 1. Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe gave way to Pete Sampras, Jim Courier and Andre Agassi. Those men won 41 of American men’s 46 Grand Slams in the last 42 years. Maybe it’s just a fluke that another player with that kind of talent hasn’t come around since Sampras and Agassi retired — or hasn’t played tennis.As it happens, Richard Williams, who is 72, has a two-year-old son. But if Richard has his way, Dylan won’t help pick up the mantle for the American men. “He’ll never be a billionaire in tennis,” Richard Williams said earlier this year. He wants his son to buy a gold mine.
On Saturday, as thousands of protesters, dissatisfied with the results of the presidential election, were marching from Union Square to Trump Tower, just a few miles north, the two grandmasters sat down in the spaceship to play again. Game 2, with Karjakin handling the white pieces, began with the all-too-familiar Ruy Lopez opening, a staple of chess for 500 years. The rest of the game was an equally uncreative and plodding affair. One prominent grandmaster on Twitter called certain passages “flaccid.” After just under three hours, and not much else to speak of, they arrived at a second draw. (The computer chess engine Stockfish was in full agreement, seeing both games as nothing but deadlocked.) The last time the World Chess Championship was held in New York City, titleholder Garry Kasparov met challenger Viswanathan Anand on the 107th floor of the south tower of the World Trade Center. They played their first game on Sept. 11, 1995.That tower is now gone, a new one stands nearby, and the grandest board in chess is again set in lower Manhattan. This year, the venue is the new Fulton Market Building in the South Street Seaport, an area of the city that was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. It was rebuilt and has been thriving in recent years.The players are different, too. Magnus Carlsen of Norway, ranked No. 1 in the world, is defending his title against Russian challenger Sergey Karjakin, ranked No. 9. The first weekend of their best-of-12 match is in the books, and after two games — and two draws — the score is level at 1-1.This year’s chess venue is sparse and sleek, heavy on concrete and hypermodern black-and-white branding. Large flat-screen televisions dot the open floor, providing live views of the tense and slowly unfolding games. The sellout crowd mills around, stealing meaningful-looking glances at the game on TV, listening to live commentary on headphones, eating sandwiches and playing their own games of speed chess in the cafe’s Eames-style dining chairs.The two grandmasters play alone in a separate room, accompanied only by two stoic match arbiters. On the inside, the room resembles the bridge of a sci-fi spaceship. To the spectators on the outside, though, it evokes a reptile house in a zoo. You enter the dark, hot and humid viewing gallery through thick black curtains. You’re hushed as you enter and reminded to silence your phone. The lights inside are dimmed, and an eerie purple light glows from behind the thick glass of the one-way mirror. You can see Carlsen and Karjakin, leaning in close to each other over the board in deep thought. They can’t see you.In Game 1, Carlsen, playing with the white pieces, chose an unusual opening called the Trompowsky Attack. The joke around the Fulton Market Building on Friday was that he played it as a homophonic nod to the new president-elect. There was truth to the joke. Asked after the game whether his choice had anything to do with Donald Trump, Carlsen replied: “A little bit.”“I’m a big fan of Donald Trump,” Carlsen told Norway’s TV2 in March (in Norwegian). “Trump is incredibly good at finding opponents’ weaknesses. He speaks only about that the other candidates are stupid or smelly. There should be more of this in chess, too.” Carlsen then offered a Trumpism of his own: “Karjakin is incredibly boring!” Karjakin, for his political part, is an avowed supporter of Vladimir Putin.By the end of that first game, each side had pushed its wooden army as far as it’d go — two phalanxes scrumming at the center of the board. No further blood was drawn, however, and the players agreed to a draw after the 42nd move and just under four hours of play. (Draws are quite common in championship chess.) The actor and chess fan Woody Harrelson was on hand for Game 1. The star of “True Detective” brought to my mind that show’s oft-quoted line, bastardized from Nietzsche: “Time is a flat circle.” In chess, and at this championship, what’s old is new again, and moves and characters are strangely familiar. Donald Trump made the ceremonial first move at a qualifying event for that 1995 New York championship, at Trump Tower. And Rudy Giuliani, then the mayor and now rumored to be high on the list to be Trump’s attorney general, made the ceremonial first move in those finals. (Giuliani was late — and made the wrong move.)Carlsen remains the heavy favorite, although his chances according to my Elo-based simulations have dipped from 88 percent at the start to 84 percent now, as Karjakin has held serve.1I simulated 10,000 iterations of the remainder of the match using the players’ current Elo ratings and assumed that they draw half their games, as grandmasters historically tend to do. The players seemed to sense that the large crowds were getting a bit restless. “I ask you for your understanding that this is a long match,” Carlsen said at Saturday’s postgame press conference. “Not every game will be a firework.”Game 3 begins Monday afternoon. I’ll be covering the rest of the match here and on Twitter.
When the American League takes the field in Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game, Derek Jeter will walk out of the dugout to what is sure to be thunderous applause and take his familiar place at shortstop.That’s nothing new. Jeter, who plans to retire at the end of this season, has been named an All-Star 14 times in his storied career, starting the game at shortstop nine times. This year, though, he’s playing at nothing near an All-Star level. According to wins above replacement (WAR), Jeter has been one of the AL’s worst shortstops this season.It’s tough to get too worked up, though, about Jeter getting the starting nod — however undeserved — in the final All-Star Game of his career. Although Erick Aybar of the Los Angeles Angels almost certainly warranted the accolade instead, baseball has a long history of awarding statistically unjustified All-Star Game starts. Surprisingly, though, the worst All-Star starting bids (since 1974 — excluding 1981, due to the players’ strike — according to FanGraphs’ WAR through the end of June for the season in question) are not exclusively the realm of sentimental picks like Jeter:Forty-year-old Cal Ripken Jr.’s 2001 All-Star Game start was awarded purely out of legacy, and it’s been frequently compared to Jeter’s this week. Ripken, however, had the worst first half of any All-Star Game starter from the past four decades, having played much worse than Jeter has thus far in 2014. Ripken’s first-half triple-slash line in 2001 was .240/.270/.324 (good for a 56 Weighted Runs Created Plus); Jeter’s 2014 line is .272/.324/.322 (80 wRC+), despite playing in a more difficult offensive environment. Jeter may not be playing like a typical All-Star, but he hasn’t been as bad as Ripken was at the same age.Perhaps more interesting is the fact not all — or even most — ill-advised All-Star starting picks went to sentimental selections. Of the 50 worst starters listed above, there are more players under age 30 (18) than 35-or-older (16). For most of the prime-aged players who started the All-Star Game despite poor first halves, though, their presence can be explained by a good season the year prior. This phenomenon is fueled by baseball’s long-standing confusion over whether the All-Star Game is supposed to honor the players who played best in the first half of the season in question, those who played best since the previous All-Star Game, or simply the best players in general.Jeter falls into none of those three categories, but he will carry on the proud tradition of the legacy pick when he takes the field tonight.
For the past two seasons, the Ohio State men’s basketball team was, for the most part, all Evan Turner, all the time. But with Turner now in the NBA, the Buckeyes appear to be, after one game, much more balanced. In Friday’s 102-61 win over North Carolina A&T, five Buckeyes scored in double figures, including freshman forward Deshaun Thomas with a team-high 24 points. Thomas, who scored 15 points in the first half, shot 10 for 16 from the field including 2 for 3 from outside the arc. “I was feeling it,” Thomas said. “When you’re on the bench, you have to be ready to play and play hard, and that’s what I did.” Known for his prolific scoring in high school, Thomas admitted that it took him a while to get up to speed in other areas of the game, specifically his defense. Though Thomas might not be quite as good as he needs to be yet, coach Thad Matta said the freshman showed how much he’s improved with his performance. “Deshaun has been so focused on his defense in practice,” Matta said. “We always tell the guys, ‘When you focus on the defense the offense will come’ and I think he found it today.” Freshman Jared Sullinger, despite a less-than-stellar first half in which he played just eight minutes and scored only three points, finished with 19 points in his OSU debut. But it was his 14 rebounds that Sullinger said were most important. “What I focus my game on is how many rebounds I get,” Sullinger said. “That’s something that has been established by my brothers and my father. (My father) being my basketball coach in high school, he told me if I don’t get a lot of rebounds, I’m not trying hard.” Senior center Dallas Lauderdale recorded his first career double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds to go along with eight blocks, and guards William Buford and David Lighty both scored in double figures, with 11 and 10 points, respectively. The Buckeyes play at No. 11 Florida on Tuesday.