Ohio State ran it back.
A year after going on the road and topping Cincinnati, 64-56, in the first game at a newly renovated Fifth Third Arena, the Buckeyes returned home to the Schottenstein Center on Wednesday night to welcome the Bearcats to the 2019-20 season by handing out another defeat by the same score on Wednesday night.
|#18 OHIO STATE||19||45||64|
An ugly first 20 minutes full of missed shots on both sides went Cincinnati's way, with the Bearcats entering halftime with a 26-19 lead. The Buckeyes rebounded, though, to grab the lead with a pair of free throws from CJ Walker just 3:05 into the second half. They maintained the advantage – which never reached double digits – throughout the rest of the game.
Cincinnati had a 6-0 run to cut what had been an eight-point deficit into a two point-deficit with 4:40 remaining, but the Buckeyes then closed the door on a potential comeback.
Kyle Young shined amid an ugly first half – the teams combined to make just five of 28 shots in the first 10 minutes – by tying his career-high of eight rebounds just 17 minutes into his junior season. He finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds, both of which were career-highs. It was the first time at Ohio State that he led his team in scoring, and he had his first career double-double, too.
|20-49 (40.8%)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||19-57 (33.3%)|
|5-16 (31.3%)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||4-21 (19.0%)|
|19-29 (65.5%)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||14-23 (60.9%)|
Kaleb Wesson had four fouls in his season opener but played a sizable role on both ends with eight points and 11 rebounds.
Ohio State's point guards, both making their Buckeyes debuts, didn't have a banner first half. DJ Carton and CJ Walker combined for two points, two assists, three fouls and four turnovers in the opening 20 minutes. But both of them picked it up a bit in the second half. Carton had a sequence that included a reverse layup in transition followed by a 3-pointer that forced John Brannen to call a timeout, and finished with nine points and five rebounds in his first collegiate game.
Jarron Cumberland and Keith Williams led the Bearcats with 13 points each.
Next up: The Buckeyes play host to UMass Lowell at 4 p.m. Sunday. That game will be televised on ESPNU.
- Andre Wesson left the game in the second half after being poked in the eye and did not return.
- Every Ohio State player wore a "Hondo" patch to recognize former Buckeye John Havlicek who died in April. He was remembered with a moment of silence before Wednesday night's game.
- Jerry Lucas, whose number hangs in the rafters beside Havlicek's number, was in attendance. He was recognized on the video board of the Schottenstein Center at the under-16 timeout in the first half. Archie Griffin sat beside Lucas. Former Buckeyes guard Michael Redd and former Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones were also in attendance.
- A DJ was posted up in the corner of the lower bowl playing music. Ohio Stadium added a DJ to its pregame and in-game entertainment package for football games this year, too.
- The Buckeyes hosted multiple in-state recruits for the season opener. London's Trey Woodyard (2021), Cincinnati Princeton's Bowen Hardman (2022) and Dayton Belmont's Shawn Phillips (2022) were all in attendance. Both Hardman and Phillips received offers from Ohio State this fall and are viewed as priority targets in the 2022 class. Phillips is the No. 39 overall prospect and the second-ranked Ohioan in his class.