Big Second Half Lead Ohio State to Rout of Penn State

6th ranked Ohio State opened Big Ten play in emphatic fashion, blowing out visiting Penn State 106-74 to move to 9-0 on the season.  The Buckeyes, who continue to play high-level basketball, never trailed and broke open the game midway through the second half with red-hot shooting to run away from Penn State to get a big win to open the conference schedule. Kaleb Wesson set a career high with 4 triples as part of a 28 point, 10 rebound day to lead the Buckeyes.  Andre Wesson added 15 and Luther Muhammad and Duane Washington each scored 14 as Ohio State hit 14 of their 26 attempts from long range.

Ohio State (9-0, 1-0) opened the scoring with Kaleb Wesson drilling a long three from the top with the shot clock expiring on the Buckeyes’ first possession.  Penn State answered with a 3 of their own, but Kaleb Wesson went back to work scoring 7 of Ohio State’s first 9, including drawing fouls on both Mike Watkins and Lamar Stevens, Penn State’s two best players, as Ohio State led 9-5 and owning possession at the first media timeout. An Ohio State turnover out of the timeout was followed by a Stevens jumper to cut the lead to 9-7.  C.J. Walker hit a 15 footer and E.J. Liddell with a beautiful dribble drive for a layup as part of a 6-2 Buckeye burst to lead 13-9. The Buckeyes pressure on the defensive end continued to give the Nittany Lions fits and a 9-0 run later, the Buckeyes led 20-9.  Stevens buried a three that ended an almost 5 minute Lion drought but Ohio State led 22-13 at the under 8 media timeout thanks to the run and suffocating defense. The Buckeye increased their lead to 13 when D.J. Carton split the defense with the shot clock expiring and scored with a teardrop and 4:30 on the game clock. A pair of Luther Muhammad free throws gave Ohio State their biggest lead at 36-21.  Penn State would fight back, going on a 10-4 run to cut the lead to 9 with C.J. Walker and Kaleb Wesson on the bench with a pair of fouls each. After an errant Carton pass, Penn State got a break out dunk to trim the lead to just 7 with 1:30 to go in the half, but Luther Muhammad drilled a big triple from the left wing to get the lead back to double digits and the teams would head to the locker rooms with Ohio State leading 46-35. Kaleb Wesson led Ohio State with 11.  Andre Wesson added 9 and D.J. Carton chipped in 6.  The Buckeyes dominated the first half glass by a margin of 20-8, and shot 58% from the field, holding Penn State to 39%, which enabled them to have a nice halftime lead.

The second 20 started with a bang as Kaleb Wesson picked up a technical after hanging on the rim too long for the officials’ liking following a dunk off a feed from Luther Muhammad.  The Buckeye lead increased back to 13 when Duane Washington buried a triple from the right baseline.  Penn State cut the lead back to 10 but a Muhammad three built the Buckeye lead back to 13.  Penn State would not go away, trimming the lead back to 9 at the first stoppage of the second half. Penn State cut the lead to 8 before Washington drilled a long three from the right point to get the lead back to 11.  A critical moment in the game came with just under 14 to go as Ohio State got out in transition and as Walker went to the rim, he was fouled by Penn State’s superstar, Lamar Stevens, picking up his fourth foul and subsequently picked up his 5th and final foul after he slammed the ball down in frustration. Penn State played with some emotion with Stevens on the bench and trailing by 13, going on a 5-0 run to get the game back within 8 forcing Chris Holtmann to call timeout.  The Buckeyes ended that mini Penn State burst out of the timeout as Washington drilled yet another 3, this one from the left wing, giving Ohio State a 66-55 lead with 12 minutes remaining in the game.  Another Washington three built the lead to 14 but Penn State answered with one of their own to get it back to 11.  Ohio State went on a 8-0 run bookended by the Wesson brothers’ triples, the latter by Andre forcing Penn State to call timeout, trailing by 19 with 9:43 to go. The offensive explosion continued out of the timeout as back-to-back triples from Kaleb Wesson gave Ohio State their largest lead at 23 with just under 7 minutes to play. Luther Muhammad got in on the act, burying a pair of triples, as part of a 16-2 run, to effectively end the ballgame. The exclamation point as Muhammad found Kyle Young in transition for the alley oop jam, bringing the fans in the Schott to their feet with Ohio State on top 99-64, lighting up Penn State with hot shooting from beyond the arc. 

Folks, this is a very good basketball team that can hurt you in a number of ways, especially with Kaleb Wesson adding long range shooting to his repertoire.  He was able to score in the paint, from long range and he even put it on the deck and got to the rim off the bounce.  When the polls come out on Monday afternoon, expect the Buckeyes to take a jump into the top 5 and it is much deserved. The Buckeyes will take a little time off for finals before going on the road to continue Big Ten play in Minneapolis next Sunday. That time off should benefit the young team and enable them to get healthy, as they’ve been a little beat up, including D.J. Carton who has been dealing with an ankle.

Ohio State will next take the floor in Minneapolis next Sunday. Tip time for that one is scheduled for 6:30 pm and airing on BTN.

-Jason Harris

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