Ohio State Pulls Away From UMass Lowell to Move to 2-0

Playing without their only senior, Andre Wesson, who sat out with a fractured eye socket, Ohio State moved to 2-0 on the young season, defeating UMass Lowell in the Schott, 76-56. Ohio State put 5 players in double figures led by Kaleb Wesson’s 13 points and 13 rebounds and D.J. Carton added 13 and 4 assists.  Luther Muhammad scored 11 and Alonzo Gaffney and Kyle Young chipped in with 10 apiece.  Despite another slow start, Ohio State got it going late in the first half and used lock down defense to limit the River Hawks to just 33% shooting.  The Buckeyes picked up their shooting from distance in the second half and were able to get offense from defense, scoring in transition and off of outstanding half court ball movement to cruise to a rather easy victory.

Another slow start for the Buckeyes as the River Hawks took an early 6-0 lead as Ohio State missed their first 4 shots as including 0 for 2 from the line.  The scoreless streak was broken at the 16:30 mark as C.J. Walker knifed through the lane for a layup. Kaleb Wesson followed with a triple and Luther Muhammad hit a running one handed floater as Ohio State went on a quick 7-0 run to go into the under 16 minute timeout leading 7-6.  UMass Lowell regained the lead quickly after the timeout and led 10-9 when D.J. Carton found Alonzo Gaffney deep in the left corner for a three to give Ohio State a 12-10 lead.  The lead would increase to 14-10 when Duane Washington, Jr. hit a runner in the paint while being fouled.  He missed the free throw, however, part of a 0-7 streak from the line for the Buckeyes in the early going.  Kaleb Wesson ended the streak, burying a pair of free throws at the 9:36 mark that triggered a 9-2 run giving the Buckeyes a little breathing room late in the half, leading 25-15.  A Lowell triple cut the lead to 7 at the under 8 media timeout and 6:31 remaining in the half.  The Buckeye lead held at 10 until a late triple off the fingers of D.J. Carton splashed through the net from the right wing to increase the Ohio State lead to 13 heading into the half.  Ohio State lead 38-25 despite 2 early foul calls on Kyle Young and C.J. Walker forced Ohio State to play without 2 of their most veteran players for much of the first 20 minutes.  The Buckeyes shot a respectable 50% from the floor in the first half, but a dreadful 4 of 13 from the stripe and just 4 of 13 from long range.  It was all Kaleb Wesson in the first half, leading all scorers with 11 and pulling down 11 first half rebounds and Carton added 7. 

Ohio State started to create some separation early in the second half, creating offense from defense, holding the River Hawks to 1-7 shooting early. After back-to-back threes from Luther Muhammad and Duane Washington, the Buckeyes enjoyed their largest lead at 50-30 with just under 16 minutes to go in the ballgame.  The lead ballooned to 25 after a pair of no look dimes from D.J. Carton, the first to Kyle Young for a dunk along the baseline.  The second, to Luther Muhammad in transition for the lay-in and the Buckeyes enjoyed their largest lead at 59-34 at the under 12 media timeout.  Ohio State continued to make life difficult for Lowell on the defensive end and offensively the Buckeyes found their rhythm, sharing the basketball and drilling open looks, upping the lead to 73-44 as Coach Holtmann emptied his bench with 5 minutes remaining.  The Buckeyes led by as much as 30 before some sloppy play by the Buckeye reserves allowed the River Hawks to finish the game on a 12-2 run to complete the scoring. 

The Buckeyes clearly have talent and at moments, it really shines.  They will continue to build and get better as they learn to play with each other as one of the youngest teams in college basketball.  Coach Holtmann utilized several lineups and went deep into his bench fairly early in the second half as he continues to look for a consistent rotation and because of that, things aren’t always going to be smooth on the court.  They did a nice job of sharing the basketball with unselfish play, with 4 guys accumulating 4+ assists. That’s a good sign for any basketball team.  They will be tested often in the pre Big Ten slate and may have to do so without Andre Wesson for the near future as his status is day-to-day and questionable for the Villanova game Wednesday evening.  

The Buckeyes host 10th ranked Villanova on Wednesday night as part of the Gavitt Games that pit the Big East against the Big Ten.  The tip time for that game is scheduled for 7 pm to be aired on FS1.

-Jason Harris

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