It wasn't always pretty, but Ohio State moved to 2-0 on the season Sunday afternoon with a 82-72 win over Radford at Value City Arena.
Point guard C.J. Jackson scored a career-high 19 points for the Buckeyes, adding six rebounds and three assists as Ohio State opened the Chris Holtmann era with back-to-back wins.
After a sloppy first half that saw Radford and Ohio State combine for 19 turnovers, the Buckeyes – playing with a 44-34 lead – opened the second frame on a 17-1 run to effectively put the game out of reach.
Radford closed the game on a 13-2 run, after trailing 80-59 with just 2:32 to play in the game.
Keita Bates-Diop started the second half run with a three-pointer, and was once again effective for the Buckeyes. He dropped in 22 points on 8-of-17 shooting and collected 10 rebounds, his second double-double in as many games this season.
|29-67 (43.3%)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||24-59 (40.7%)|
|8-27 (29.6%)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||11-22 (50.0%)|
|16-22 (72.7%)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||13-17 (76.5%)|
Senior forward Jae'Sean Tate also recorded a double-double, scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 boards against the Highlanders.
"J.T. and Keita led the way with the way they talked to the team and challenged the team," Holtmann said postgame. "That was good to see."
The Buckeyes opened the game with the same starting lineup as they did in the first game of the Holtmann era, but the Ohio State starters struggled early on.
Jackson committed four turnovers in the first 6:38 of the game, as Ohio State limped out to an 11-10 lead.
After a brief rest on the bench, Jackson returned to action – with Ohio State nursing a 15-14 lead – and led a 16-2 run that saw the junior point guard score eight points, including a pair of three-point jumpers.
While Ohio State was able to create separation from Radford during that stretch, some of the problems that reared their head in the season opener against Robert Morris came back to haunt the Buckeyes in the first half against Radford. The Scarlet and Gray committed nine first-half turnovers, but was able to limit the giveaways to six in the second half.
"We will learn from this," Holtmann said of Ohio State's poor start an finish to the game against Radford. "Part of it is, I subbed freely at times, maybe too freely. I am trying to get a feel for who I can play and who we can trust and the only way to do that is to see these guys in action."
Nine Buckeyes played double-digit minutes against the Highlanders, while freshman Kyle Young gave Holtmann eight minutes off the bench, but was held scoreless.
Radford was led statistically by guard and Cincinnati native Carlik Jones, who poured in 19 points on 6-of-8 shooting.
Ohio State is set to return to action Thursday against Texas Southern at 7 p.m. at Value City Arena.