Ohio State almost became the third high-major program to fall in an exhibition to a Division II school in recent weeks Sunday, but a second-half push allowed the Buckeyes to remain on that short list with St. John's and Iowa. In a game which Ohio State probably got a bigger test than it anticipated, it ultimately downed visiting Walsh, 92-82.
Sophomore forward Keita Bates-Diop led the way for the Buckeyes with 26 points on 10-of-13 shooting (4-of-5 from 3) while junior Marc Loving added 24 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman point guard JaQuan Lyle was also impressive, scoring 19 points to go along with nine rebounds and seven assists.
Ohio State shot 52.5 percent of the field and connected on eight 3-pointers. The Cavaliers used the long ball to stay in the game as they attempted 36 on the afternoon and made 14.
It appeared the Buckeyes, who played without sophomore forward Jae'Sean Tate who was out with a sprained ankle, were going to run away with the game early, jumping out to a quick 14-3 lead at the first media timeout. However, a 10-0 run by Walsh shortly after that got the Cavaliers right back into the game.
Walsh never grabbed the lead in the first half, but did keep things competitive over the first 20 minutes. The Cavaliers connected on eight first-half 3-pointers and made 10 free throws, taking advantage of 14 first-half fouls by Ohio State.
For the Buckeyes, Bates-Diop led the way with 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting and five rebounds in the first half. Loving had nine points and six boards in the opening 20 minutes and Lyle had seven points, four rebounds and four assists. Trevor Thompson was also active inside, scoring six points and grabbing seven rebounds in the first half.
Ohio State opens up the regular season next Sunday against Mount St. Mary’s at home.