The first game came easy.
By the time Illinois State scored its first points on Wednesday afternoon, Ohio State had already sprinted out to a 22-0 lead. The rest of the game was a bit of a snoozefest as Justice Sueing's 19-point debut in scarlet and gray helped his team dispatch of the Redbirds with ease.
Sunday's tilt at the Covelli Center with UMass Lowell transpired differently, but the result was the same: An Ohio State victory. The Buckeyes, who trailed in the latter portion of the second half, muscled their way to a 74-64 win to improve their record to 2-0.
Ohio State exited the final media timeout with 3:53 remaining holding onto a slight 63-61 edge, which was representative of everything that had happened up until that point. Neither team led in the second half by more than five points. UMass Lowell held the lead for the majority of the first 10 minutes until Ohio State grabbed it back midway through the second half on a pair of free throws from Justice Sueing who – doing what he does best – drew a foul in transition.
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For the first time of the second half, a Duane Washington Jr. triple gave Ohio State a lead of more than five points, sending their advantage to 70-63 with 1:08 remaining. That, followed by a defensive stop, effectively put the game out of reach for the River Hawks who had to start fouling.
Washington scored a game-high 21 points, hitting 7-of-17 shots, including the dagger with 68 seconds remaining.
For the majority of the afternoon, the Buckeyes couldn't hit anything from behind the 3-point arc. Washington ended the dry spell of 11 straight missed 3-pointers in the sixth minute of the second half, but they only made three more 3s the remainder of the game. Most of their damage offensively came inside.
With 12 offensive boards and a 41-31 advantage on the glass, Ohio State scored 30 points in the paint and 15 second-chance points. E.J. Liddell recorded 11 points and eight boards.
UMass Lowell relied on their long-range bombs to make this a close one until the final minute. The River Hawks hit 11 of their 30 3-point attempts. Notably, first-team All-America East guard Obadiah Noel was held to 15 points on 5-of-21 shooting.
Next up: The Buckeyes return to the Schottenstein Center to take on Morehead State at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
- This was the first Ohio State basketball game ever played at the Covelli Center, a multi-purpose arena that is the home to seven sports, including wrestling and both men's and women's volleyball. It was used because of hockey games going on at the Schottenstein Center and St. John Arena having been turned into a workout facility during COVID-19 times.
- After playing 12 minutes in the season-opener, Musa Jallow did not play and wore a walking boot on the bench. He missed the entirety of last season with two ankle surgeries and was a game-time decision against Illinois State.
- Seth Towns, a Harvard graduate transfer, remained out with a knee injury.
- This was the second game between Ohio State and UMass Lowell in as many years. The Buckeyes won, 76-56, in their second game of the 2019-20 season.