It was far from pretty, but Ohio State remained unbeaten Monday night with a 69-63 victory over N.C. Central.
The Buckeyes were led by junior forward Jae'Sean Tate, who scored 21 points and snared nine rebounds and freshman center Micah Potter, who finished with 13 points.
Ohio State's largest lead of the game came after a Kam Williams 3-pointer put it ahead by 12 with 6 minutes, 26 seconds to play. Back-to-back triples by N.C. Central, however, and the two teams played relatively evenly from there.
Ohio State shot just 46 percent from the field and made only 6-of-21 attempts from behind the 3-point line and 11-for-23 tries at the free-throw line.
|OHIO STATE||STAT||N.C. Central|
|26–56 (46%)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||25–51 (49%)|
|6–21 (29%)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||6–19 (32%)|
|11–23 (48%)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||7–9 (78%)|
A 12-0 run sparked by a pair of 3-pointers from the freshman center, Potter, gave Ohio State an early 10-point lead midway through the first half, but the Eagles responded with a 14-2 spurt of their own to retake the lead. A step-back 3-pointer by JaQuan Lyle at the buzzer gave the Buckeyes a 31-29 lead at halftime in an opening 20 minutes that didn't feature a ton of action.
Potter hit three 3s in the first half and grabbed three rebounds in 12 minutes while Tate led all scorers at halftime with 11 points. Ohio State shot 46 percent from the field and made 4-of-9 attempts from behind the 3-point line, but the Buckeyes had eight first-half turnovers and allowed the Eagles to shoot 52 percent from the floor.
Ohio State held N.C. Central without a field goal for the final 3 minutes, 25 seconds of the first half, but the Buckeyes couldn't convert on the other end before Lyle's 3-pointer at the buzzer helped them regain the lead heading into the locker room.
Next up for Ohio State is Providence on Thursday. The Buckeyes take on the Friars at 7 p.m. at Value City Arena.