Chris Holtmann wasn't quite sure what to expect in Ohio State's three-game stretch to begin the season with road games against Cincinnati and Creighton and a home matchup against Purdue Fort Wayne. He knew Mick Cronin and Greg McDermott would have their teams prepared for matchups with the young, inexperienced Buckeyes, and he believed the Mastodons might pose them with a stout challenge.
Ohio State (3-0) exited Cincinnati with an eight-point win and beat Purdue Fort Wayne by 46 points, then capped off the opening stretch with a 69-60 win against Creighton in Omaha, Nebraska, on Thursday as part of the annual Gavitt Games.
The Buckeyes held a 12-point lead with 14 minutes remaining, but the Bluejays evened the game up with 9:47 remaining, then took a 55-54 lead with 5:40 remaining when Martin Krampelj tipped in a shot. Creighton hung onto a four-point lead with less than three minutes remaining.
But after the three-minute mark, the Bluejays went cold. Ohio State scored the game's final 13 points to clinch the victory.
One game after putting up 25 points against Purdue Fort Wayne, C.J. Jackson seemingly couldn't get anything to fall. In the first 37 minutes, he had zero points and six turnovers. But with his team down a point with 2:10 remaining, he hit his first shot – a 3-pointer – to give the Buckeyes a 62-60 lead. He added three more points in the final minute.
Keyshawn Woods had 11 points in his first two games of the season combined. He surpassed that mark in just the first half and ended the opening 20 minutes with 15 points. Woods settled down in the second half and finished with 19 points.
|26-55 (47.3%)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||23-52 (44.2%)|
|10-21 (47.6%)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||9-25 (36%)|
|7-12 (58.3%)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||5-9 (55.6%)|
Duane Washington Jr. had 12 points, the second most of an Ohio State player, and hit three 3-pointers. Kaleb Wesson played just 21 minutes, but had nine points. Kyle Young added six points and a team-high six rebounds.
Creighton's Ty-Shon Alexander and Davion Mintz were their team's double-digit scorers.
Creighton jumped out to an early 10-2 lead in the first six minutes of the game, but Woods hit a 3-pointer that both settled down his team and cut the lead to five points. Less than four minutes after the triple, Duane Washington Jr. hit a shot from beyond the arc that gave the Buckeyes their first lead of the game.
Ohio State went on a 14-4 run in the final 4:05 of the first half to extend its two-point lead to 12 points, allowing it to enter halftime with a 37-25 lead. Ball control and 3-point shooting played a key role in the Buckeyes' halftime lead.
Ohio State had more assists (9) than turnovers (7) in the first half, while Creighton had 11 turnovers and just three assists. The Buckeyes also connected on 7-of-13 shots from beyond the arc in the opening half.