It wasn't pretty, but Ohio State found a way to win on the basketball court once again on Monday night.
The No. 13-ranked Buckeyes shot just 44 percent from the floor, never led by more than single digits and had only five scorers for the entire game, but were still able to battle past Nebraska, 64-59, to improve to 18-4 on the season and 9-0 against Big Ten opponents.
Keita Bates-Diop led the Buckeyes with 20 points – with 14 of those 20 coming in the second half – while Jae'Sean Tate scored 17 and Kaleb Wesson and C.J. Jackson each scored 12.
|NO. 13 OHIO STATE||24||40||64|
Andre Wesson, with a lone three-pointer, was the only other Buckeye to put the ball through the basket in Monday's game.
Nebraska's James Palmer Jr. led all scorers with 34 points in defeat.
The Buckeyes got the game off to a sloppy start, turning the ball over as many times as they made field goals (four) in the game's first 12 minutes. During that span, only three players scored for the Buckeyes: Tate had five of the Buckeyes' first 13 points, while Bates-Diop and Wesson each had four.
|23-52 (44.2%)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||21-54 (38.9%)|
|2-14 (14.3%)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||8-29 (27.6%)|
|16-23 (69.6%)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||9-11 (81.8%)|
Ohio State finally took its first lead of the game, 17-16, with just over five minutes to play in the first half when Jackson found Bates-Diop on a perfectly executed alley-oop. Unlike many of their other previous Big Ten games, however, the Buckeyes were unable to take control of the game before halftime, only taking a 24-22 lead into halftime after Jackson scored the final five points of the half – making him the only Buckeye other than Tate (seven), Bates-Diop and Wesson (six each) to score in the first 20 minutes.
The Buckeyes couldn't pull away in the second half either, with Nebraska leading the game, 54-53, with less than five minutes to play. Ohio State finally seized control of the game after that, however, with a seven-point run that put the Buckeyes up six, and Ohio State led the game by at least two possessions the rest of the way.
Tate, who was forced to leave the game briefly in the second half after coming up limping after a lay-up, still managed to pull down seven rebounds, in addition to his 17 points, in 33 minutes of play. Wesson also had seven rebounds, Bates-Diop had six rebounds and two blocks and Jackson led the Buckeyes with four assists.
Ohio State will look to improve to 10-0 in Big Ten play on Thursday, when the Buckeyes host Penn State in the second game of a four-game homestand, in a game that is also scheduled for 8 p.m. tip-off and will be televised on BTN.