BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Ohio State stunned No. 4 Kentucky on Saturday, 74-67.
The Buckeyes survived a late second-half run by the Wildcats after leading by as many as 16 in what was by far the biggest win of the season.
Keita Bates-Diop led the way for Ohio State with 14 points. Marc Loving had 12, Jae'Sean Tate finished with 11 and Trevor Thompson had 10 for the unranked Buckeyes.
Ohio State's 9-for-18 effort from behind the 3-point line got things done and clutch free throws down the stretch by Daniel Giddens and Bates-Diop helped put things on ice.
|26-64 (41)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||25-63 (40)|
|9-18 (50)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||9-19 (47)|
|13-17 (76)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||8-14 (57)|
Kentucky, once down 55-39 midway through the second half, used a 21-8 run to surge back into the game. Jamal Murray was unconscious during that stretch as the freshman guard had 20 second-half points, including a 7-for-8 effort from behind the 3-point line.
Nobody inside the Barclays Center expected to see what they did in the first half.
Ohio State went into the locker room with a 12-point advantage, up 37-25, on the fourth-ranked Wildcats after playing its best half of the season, despite a scoring drought that lasted 6 minutes, 35 seconds.
JaQuan Lyle nailed a 25-footer at the buzzer to give the Buckeyes their halftime their lead and led the way with eight first-half points. Kam Williams had seven and Trevor Thompson and Keita Bates-Diop each had six as eight Ohio State players scored in the opening 20 minutes.
The Buckeyes were aided by a 20-9 run in which they hit nine out of 10 shots from the field. Williams, Bates-Diop and Marc Loving hit 3-pointers during that stretch for Ohio State. The Buckeyes were 7 for 12 from behind the arc in the first half.
Ohio State held its own on the glass, as well, as Kentucky held just a slight 23-21 edge. Kentucky got only six points off of seven Buckeye turnovers.
Ohio State will next be in action Tuesday at home against Mercer.