Ohio State spent all of 20 seconds without a lead in Monday’s exhibition.
Even without projected starters Kyle Young and Justice Sueing – both out with injury – the Buckeyes cruised to a blowout win, 82-46, over Division II opponent Indianapolis in a game in which they never trailed.
|#17 OHIO STATE||41||41||82|
Ohio State held a 16-point lead at halftime, but blew the game wide open with a 21-1 run early in the second half and never looked back. The stretch featured three-point makes from E.J. Liddell, Jamari Wheeler, Justin Ahrens and true freshman Malaki Branham, and five Buckeyes finished with double-digit scoring figures on the night.
The Buckeyes shot 44.8 percent from the field against the overmatched Greyhounds, and hit 32.4 percent of their three-point attempts for the game. Meanwhile, Indianapolis had a sluggish night shooting, hitting on just 32.1 percent of its shot attempts.
Sophomores Zed Key and Eugene Brown both turned in impressive evenings as the pair combined for 27 points against Indianapolis. Brown came off the bench to shoot 6-for-7 from the floor to finish with a team-high 15 points, and Key had success mixing it up inside all night, closing the game out with 12 points and nine boards.
Starting the game alongside Wheeler in the backcourt, Meechie Johnson Jr. had an inspired effort with 12 points for Ohio State, shooting 3-for-9 from the floor. As a true freshman a year ago, Johnson never attempted more than three shots in a game.
After a slow start in the first half, Liddell also finished with 12 points, while Branham added 10 in his unofficial Ohio State debut.
A late first-half three from Brown put Ohio State ahead 41-25 at the intermission after a 15-for-32 shooting performance from the team. Brown hit all three of his shot attempts for seven points in the first half after coming off the bench.
Key and Johnson did the bulk of the damage for the Buckeyes offensively in the opening half, as the pair combined for 19 points. Key converted two and-ones in the first 20 minutes and pulled down seven boards before the break. Johnson led Ohio State in shot attempts early, finishing 3-for-7 from the floor in the first half after taking five of the first nine shots of the game for the Buckeyes.
|30-67 (44.8%)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||18-56 (32.1%)|
|11-34 (32.4%)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||5-21 (23.8%)|
|11-16 (68.8%)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||5-12 (41.7%)|
Liddell’s first points of the game came on a dribble-drive and-one just prior to the under-four-minute timeout, and the subsequent free throw gave Ohio State a 33-19 lead. Liddell began the game with two three-point misses, which was something of a theme for the Buckeyes early on.
Ohio State was cold from deep in the first half, shooting 4-for-15 from three-point range, and Ahrens went 1-for-5 by himself. Ahrens and Liddell went a combined 2-for-9 from the floor in the opening 20 minutes.
The Buckeyes hit six out of seven field-goal attempts during a five-minute stretch in the first half that extended their lead from one point to 11. The run was punctuated with a transition dunk from Brown.
Louisiana transfer guard Cedric Russell did not play in the first half for Ohio State, but finished with 3 points in 17 minutes in the second half.
What's next: Ohio State officially begins regular season play next Tuesday when it takes on Akron at home at 6 p.m. on Nov. 9.
- Kyle Young, Seth Towns and Justice Sueing were all unavailable for the Buckeyes. Young is out indefinitely with a vestibular dysfunction and Towns is expected to make his season debut in December following a procedure on a herniated disc in his back during the offseason. Sueing said this past Friday that the groin injury he finished the 2020-21 season with was taken longer than expected to heal.
- Jamari Wheeler, Meechie Johnson, Justin Ahrens, E.J. Liddell and Zed Key started the game for the Buckeyes. Indiana transfer Joey Brunk was the first man off the bench.
- Indianapolis assistant coach Roosevelt Jones played for Butler under Chris Holtmann in 2014-15 and 2015-16.
- Of the 16 players on the Indianapolis roster, 13 are underclassmen.
- Before Monday, it had been 606 days since fans last populated the Schottenstein Center for a Buckeye basketball game.
- Kalen Etzler, who will redshirt the 2021-22 season, entered the exhibition in the final eight minutes of play.