If there was a halftime speech, it certainly felt like Ohio State heard the message loud and clear.
After leading a lowly Fairleigh Dickinson team by just one point at halftime Saturday afternoon, the Buckeyes used a 16-2 run to open the second half then hung on to defeat the visiting Knights at Value City Arena, 70-62.
Ohio State put four players in double figures and was led by Marc Loving's team-high 18 points. Kam Williams scored 17 points in his fifth-straight start in place of the injured Keita Bates-Diop while Jae'Sean Tate (12 points, 12 rebounds) and Trevor Thompson (10 points, 12 boards) each recorded double-doubles for the Buckeyes.
Williams scored the final five points in Ohio State's run to open the second half while Tate had four. Loving's three-point play on a made dunk was the highlight and brought the relatively quiet crowd to life. The Buckeyes' largest lead in the second half was 17 points at 51-34 with 14 minutes, 34 seconds to play.
For the game, the Buckeyes shot 50 percent from the field and were 6-for-15 from behind the 3-point line. Ohio State also finished just 12-for-21 from the free-throw line.
Thad Matta said Friday he was anxious to see how his team performed after a tough loss against Virginia. He likely wasn't pleased with the first half.
|OHIO STATE||STAT||FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON|
|26–52 (50%)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||22–56 (39%)|
|6–15 (40%)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||7–22 (32%)|
|12–21 (57%)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||11–14 (79%)|
Ohio State led just 33-32 at halftime and trailed for nearly 10 minutes of action.
The Buckeyes were largely out of sync offensively in the opening 20 minutes before a late flurry that included back-to-back 3-pointers from Loving and Williams helped give Ohio State a one-point halftime advantage.
The Knights led by six points at 21-15 before the Buckeyes responded by scoring 18 points over the final 6:38 of the first half. Ohio State shot just 46 percent from the field in the early going and committed nine first-half turnovers — a stat which plagued it in the loss to the Cavaliers.
Loving led the way with 13 first-half points while Williams added 10. Each played had a pair of first-half 3-pointers. Trevor Thompson came off the bench to contribute four points, five rebounds and three blocks in the first half.
Ohio State will next be in action Tuesday against Florida Atlantic.