Ohio State Uses Big Second Half to Blast Fort Wayne

Ohio State started slow, but turned it on early in the second half to blow out the Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons, 107-61 to move to 2-0 on the young season.  Utilizing stifling defense and hot shooting in the second half, the Buckeyes pulled away from a talented Mastodon team, picked to finish second in the Summit League Conference, and win their home opener.

In front of a sleepy crowd, the play from the Buckeyes mimicked the environment as the Mastodons knocked down four of their first six 3 point attempts to trail by just four, 9 minutes into the ballgame.  Following the under 12 timeout, the Buckeyes ramped up the defensive intensity and proceeded to go on a 9-2 run, completed by a Keyshawn Woods lay in to go up 7 and force Fort Wayne to call timeout at the 8:36 mark of the half.  Out of the timeout, Fort Wayne made a run of their own to get within 3 at the 4:50 mark and Kaleb Wesson heading to the bench after picking up his second foul.  In a scary moment late in the half, Andre Wesson went up for a dunk along the baseline, lost the ball in the air and fell hard on his back.  He limped gingerly to the locker room to get treatment and on the floor, but fortunately, he would return early in the second half. In his absence, however, his teammates answered.  Fueled by back-to-back triples from Duane Washington, the Buckeyes took a 9-point lead late and with the ball and a chance to take a double digit lead into the locker room.  However, it was not to be, and a turnover led to a Mastodon break out and lay in as time expired and the Buckeyes settling for a 41-34 halftime advantage. The Buckeyes held Fort Wayne to just 37% shooting for the half and just 6 of 16 from deep while hitting on 57% of their own shots, including 4 of 10 from deep.  The story was on the glass as the smaller Mastodons were able to keep within striking distance by pulling down 7 offensive rebounds and limiting Ohio State to just 1 second chance attempt. C.J. Jackson led the Buckeyes with 12 first half points along with 5 boards and 4 assists.  Duane Washington added 8 and Kyle Young 7.

The Buckeyes came out with more energy out of the break led by their senior guard C.J. Jackson. Jackson buried 3’s on three straight possessions to give the Buckeyes their largest lead of the game at 14 and the energy bled over to the defensive end.  Ohio State would extend the lead further, using defense to fuel their offense and thanks to transition triples from Luther Muhammad and Musa Jallow, the Buckeyes pulled ahead by 19 forcing Fort Wayne to call timeout at the 12:38 mark of the game. Out of the timeout, it was more Buckeyes on the defensive end.  Muhammad jumped a passing lane as was able to get the steal and convert in transition with the lay in. Another defensive stop and a feed from Muhammad to Kaleb Wesson for a jam sent the Buckeyes into the under 12 media timeout enjoying a 64-41 lead.  The Buckeyes would not let up, extending the lead to 30 forcing Fort Wayne to call another timeout at the 8:22 mark with the outcome in little doubt.  The Buckeyes would continue to extend the lead and despite emptying their bench, continue dominating the basketball game, finally settling on a 46-point margin of victory.  C.J. Jackson led the Buckeyes with a career high 25 and Duane Washington added 20, Jaedon LeDee 16 and Luther Muhammad 12 for the victorious Buckeyes.

The Buckeyes will go to work in preparation for another road test, playing in Omaha on Thursday night against perennial NCAA tournament qualifier, the Creighton Blue Jays in the annual Gavitt Games, pitting the Big Ten and Big East.  That game is scheduled to tip at 7pm and be televised by FS1.

– Jason Harris

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