Ohio State never trailed and led for all but 59 seconds on Sunday as the Buckeyes blasted visiting Northeastern, 80-55, in their final tune-up before the PK80 Invitational.
The Buckeyes dominated the Huskies in the paint, scoring 14 of their first 15 points down low, led by Jae'Sean Tate, who scored 11 of Ohio State's first 13 to open the game, as the home team sprinted out to a 15-2 lead to start the game.
Tate finished with career-high 24 points and converted on all 10 of his shots from the floor, a school record for most shots made without a miss in Ohio State history.
Northeastern, coming off a loss to Stanford on Friday, never got its offense going, as the Huskies shot just 21.8 percent in the first half, converting on just 6-of-28 shots. The Huskies were also outrebounded by the Buckeyes, 23-9, in the opening frame.
"I was certainly pleased with the start of the game and really the bulk of the first half," Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann said. "Northeastern can be a really difficult team to play. Perhaps they were a little fatigued from playing on the west coast just 36 hours ago. To play as well as we did in the first half was really good."
|28-56 (50.0%)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||20-56 (35.7%)|
|3-15 (20.0%)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||7-26 (26.9 %)|
|21-27 (77.8 %)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||8-10 (80.0)|
Ohio State's play down low was sparked in part by a return to action from freshman forward Kaleb Wesson, who missed an 82-64 win over Texas Southern due to suspension. In his first game back, Wesson repeatedly got inside against the Huskies and scored 12 points while collecting five boards off the bench.
Once again, Ohio State got an impressive showing from Keita Bates-Diop who dropped in 19 points, including a pair of highlight-reel plays. The first came after a loose ball fell into the hands of Andrew Dakich, who then found a streaking Bates-Diop under the hoop for a thunderous two-handed slam. The second came on a coast-to-coast lay-in following a block on the defensive end.
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The breakaway score gave Ohio State a 41-12 lead, which ballooned to 47-17 heading into halftime. The halftime advantage was the first time the Buckeyes had taken a 30-point lead into intermission since Nov. 23, 2012, when they did so against the University of Missouri-Kansas City by a score of 53-18.
After turning the ball over an average of 14.6 times per game in their first three games, Ohio State protected the ball better against the Huskies, committing just nine giveaways.
After posting a season-high 17 points against Texas Southern, Ohio State center Micah Potter was limited to just two points in 13 minutes of action before suffering a left leg injury midway through the second half. He was taken to the locker room and did not return to action, but was able to walk off the court under his own power.
Holtmann said after the game that Potter is day-to-day with a sprained ankle and that his availability for practice and Ohio State's upcoming road trip to Portland, Ore. are unknown.
The Huskies were led by guard Donnell Gresham Jr., who scored 16 points for Northeastern, which fell to 2-2 on the season.
Next up for Ohio State is a trip to Portland for an appearance in the PK80 Invitational. The Buckeyes are set to open the tournament against nationally ranked Gonzaga on Thanksgiving night at Midnight.