2019-20 OSU Basketball vs Cincinnati

2019-20 OSU Basketball Team

Ohio State Turns Away Cincinnati To Win The Season Opener

For the second straight season, the Buckeyes and Bearcats opened the season against each other.  The difference this year was the color of the uniforms as the venue moved to the friendly confines of the Schottenstein Center and like last year, the Buckeyes were ahead on the scoreboard when the final horn sounded, moving to 1-0, defeating Cincinnati 64-56.  It was a rocky start for both teams, as neither team could find the range from the floor, but Ohio State eventually settled in and although it took a half plus, the Buckeyes finally made the necessary adjustments and eventually pulled out a hard fought win.  Kyle Young led Ohio State with a career high 14 points and 13 rebounds and Kaleb Wesson added 8 points and 11 rebounds.

The Bearcats jumped out to an early 5-0 lead as the Buckeyes seemed disconnected offensively in the first four minutes.   Fortunately for the Buckeyes, neither team could find a rhythm offensively early as it was a ragged start on both ends.  The Buckeyes started the game 0-7 from the floor and 0-3 from the line with 5 turnovers and found themselves down 6-0 before a transition dunk from Kyle Young got the Buckeyes off the snide at the 12:19 mark of the half.  A rebound put back by Young cut the Bearcat lead to just 4 going into the under 12 minute media timeout and UC had already committed 8 fouls, putting the Buckeyes in the bonus early.   Ohio State began to do work on the offensive glass and a pair of put backs by Young and Kaleb Wesson got the Buckeyes within 2.  Ohio State took their first lead of the game at the 7:30 mark when Andre Wesson drilled a three from the top of the key, but a bucket the other way by the Bearcats gave Cincinnati a 1 point advantage as the teams hit the bench for the under 8 timeout.  The ‘Cats went to work on the offensive glass, creating multiple opportunities for themselves and took advantage building a 15-11 lead.  The Buckeyes came right back. A pair of forced turnovers led to a D.J. Carton dunk in transition. Ohio State then gave UC some of it’s own medicine on the ensuing possession, hitting the offensive glass, creating 3 second chance opportunities before finally tying the score on an Andre Wesson put back which forced Cincinnati to call timeout with the score deadlocked at 15 and 3:36 remaining.  UC answered quickly with 5 quick points, eventually extending the lead to 8, forcing Chris Holtmann to call timeout with just under a minute remaining in the half.  A bucket by Kyle Young and a free throw on the other end for the ‘Cats finished the scoring in the first half as the teams hit the locker room with Cincinnati on top 26-19.  The Buckeyes had to feel fortunate to be down only 7, shooting just 31% from the field including just 1 of 9 from long range and 0-5 from the line.  To the Buckeyes credit, they held UC to just 29% from the field and turned them over 6 times while turning it over 8 times themselves.  Kyle Young almost single handedly kept Ohio State in the ballgame, scoring 10 to lead all scorers and pulled down 8 rebounds, 6 of which were of the offensive variety. 

The Buckeyes came out in the second half attacking on the offensive end.  A Luther Muhammad teardrop in the lane trimmed the lead to 4 and when Kaleb Wesson drilled a three from the right wing, Ohio State trailed by just a point.  After a Bearcat turnover, C.J. Walker was fouled driving to the rim and promptly buried a pair of free throws to give Ohio State their second lead of the game at 30-29 heading into the under 16 media timeout.  Kaleb Wesson began to take over on both ends, taking a pair of charges on the defensive end and drilling a triple from the top to give the Buckeyes their biggest lead of 4, a lead that they would maintain heading into the under 12 media timeout.  3 UC free throws out of the timeout trimmed the Buckeye lead to just 1.  The Buckeyes would answer, scoring the next 5, as Kyle Young scored on a driving lay in after E.J. Liddell split a pair of free throws, Duane Washington drove the baseline and scored on the reverse lay in to give Ohio State a 6 point lead.  UC’s Jaevin Cumberland drilled off balance three from the corner, cut the lead to 3 and the Bearcats called timeout with Ohio State clinging to a 40-37 lead and just under 10 remaining in the game.  The Cats kept coming, but buckets on back to back possessions by D.J. Carton, the first a circus reverse lay in off the dribble drive and the latter a triple from the left wing gave Ohio State a 49-43 advantage forcing the Bearcats to call timeout with 7:33 left in the game.  After a Bearcat miss, Luther Muhammad drilled a triple from the short corner to give Ohio State their largest lead of 9.  Cincinnati would not go away, going on an 8-1 run to cut the Ohio State lead to just 2 with 4:40 left. The Buckeyes lost Andre Wesson during the run as he was elbowed in the eye and would not return. A pair of Duane Washington free throws put Ohio State back up 4 with 4:20 left, and that score would hold as Ohio State possessed the ball and called timeout with 2:28 remaining in the game.  The Buckeyes extended the lead to 6 after Carton drilled a pair of free throws after being fouled on a dribble drive to the rim.  After a pair of missed free throws on the other end, Washington split his pair and Ohio State led by 7 with just 57 seconds on the game clock.  The Bearcats cut the lead to 4 on the next possession after a bucket while being fouled and completing the old fashioned three point play.  An Ohio State turnover with backcourt pressure fortunately did not come back to haunt them as they were able to regain possession and C.J. Walker hit a pair of free throws after being fouled attacking the rim.  The Buckeye defense locked down on the next possession and forced another Cincinnati turnover and Walker hit another pair of free throws to complete the scoring for a big 8 point Buckeye victory.  The Buckeyes improved their shooting in the second half after a dreadful first half from the floor to finish at just under 41% and although struggled for the game from the line overall, made them when they counted (19-24 in the second 20 minutes) down the stretch to seal the game.

It was a ragged game from start to finish as neither team shot the ball particularly well and the Buckeyes had to fight through a number of Cincinnati fouls, 27 for the game, as the Bearcats played a physical style, which didn’t allow Ohio State to get into their offensive sets very easily.  It was a good test for both teams and both should see their name called on selection Sunday in March, but as usual at this time of year, plenty to improve on.  The Buckeyes were careless with the basketball turning it over 15 times and never really got it going in the half court, but that will get better as they get used playing together with the myriad of new faces and as the freshmen, in particular D.J. Carton, who finished with 9 points, gets more comfortable playing the collegiate game.  Credit Cincinnati and their style for keeping Ohio State from getting into their sets, but the bottom line is Ohio State is 1-0 and it’s much easier to move forward after a win. 

The Buckeyes hit the floor again on Sunday afternoon at the Schott as UMass Lowell comes to town.  Tip time for that game is scheduled for 4 pm to be aired on ESPNU.

-Jason Harris

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