Ohio State Bullies Bearcats, 81-53, to Pick Up First Win in Maui Invitational

By Griffin Strom on November 22, 2022 at 7:02 pm

A quick turnaround didn’t stop Ohio State from earning its fifth straight win in the all-time series against Cincinnati during an all-Ohio affair in Hawaii.

Team 1 2 FINAL
OHIO STATE 38 43 81

Following a Monday night loss to No. 17 San Diego State, the Buckeyes got in the win column at the Maui Invitational with a commanding 81-53 victory over the Bearcats, who fell to 0-2 in the tournament. Ohio State improved to 4-1 on the season and will now move on to face No. 21 Texas Tech at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Ohio State led for all but 4:32 of the first half and went to intermission with a double-digit lead after exercising a distinct advantage on the glass. That didn’t change in the second half as the Buckeyes pulled away even further behind a dominant performance from Zed Key, who led all scorers with 19 points – the second-most of his career.

For the second straight game, Buckeye freshmen Brice Sensabaugh and Bruce Thornton both finished in double figures (17 apiece) as the pair continues to come of age early in the season.

First Half

After combining to score just 13 points in Monday’s loss to San Diego State, Zed Key and Justice Sueing scored the first 13 for the Buckeyes through the first five minutes and change. A Sueing dunk at 14:48 was part of an 11-2 run for Ohio State, which gave it a 13-10 lead and forced a Cincinnati timeout.

81 POINTS 53
30-64 (46.9%) FGM-FGA (PCT.) 20-52 (38.5%)
6-20 (30%) 3PM-3PA (PCT.) 4-18 (22.2%)
15-18 (83.3%) FTM-FTA (PCT.) 9-15 (60%)

The Bearcats briefly reclaimed a one-point edge at the 11:53 mark, but Ohio State got back out in front and maintained a lead for the rest of the period. From 4:48 to 3:37, the Buckeyes embarked on a 9-0 run to build their first double-digit advantage of the night.

A Brice Sensabaugh three at the buzzer gave the Buckeyes a 38-27 lead at the half to cap a period in which Ohio State shot 45.7% from the floor. Cincinnati struggled from the field, hitting just 38.5% of its shots and two of its seven 3-point attempts.

Key and Sueing combined to score 21 of Ohio State’s 38 points on 9-for-16 shooting.

Ohio State dominated the glass early, finishing the first half with a 23-15 edge on the boards. Eleven of those were offensive rebounds, three by Key alone, which led to 14 second-chance points for the Buckeyes.

Second Half

Key kept on rolling to start the final frame, hitting a layup and then slamming home a dunk to put Ohio State up 14 points just 72 seconds into the half. The Buckeyes capitalized on a 1-for-5 start from the floor for Cincinnati, and Bruce Thornton scored eight points in the first six minutes alone to put Ohio State up 21 at the 14:04 mark.

Thornton’s next bucket, a banked-in 3-pointer at 9:20, gave the Buckeyes a 63-39 lead as he and Sensabaugh scored 20 of the first 27 points for Ohio State in the second half. Thornton finished with 15 points in the second half alone, and has now set his season-high scoring total in back-to-back contests.

Frequent turnovers continued to sink any chance at a Cincinnati comeback, and the Buckeyes routinely made the Bearcats pay for their errors. Cincinnati turned the ball over 14 times to just six by the Buckeyes, who finished with a 24-4 edge in points off turnovers.

Foul trouble didn’t help either, as Ohio State took 14 of its 18 attempts from the free throw line in the final 20 minutes. Cincinnati attempted half as many free throws in the second half.

Despite an inefficient night shooting, Sueing gave the Buckeyes a fourth double-digit scorer in the latter half of the period, his first game in double figures (11) since Ohio State’s second game of the season.

Redshirt freshman Kalen Etzler even got into the action in the final moments, scoring the first official points of his Buckeye career to cap off an 8-0 run that ended the game for Ohio State.

Game Notes

  • Cincinnati opened its Maui Invitational run with a 101-93 loss to No. 14 Arizona on Monday night.
  • Tuesday marked the seventh all-time meeting between Ohio State and Cincinnati, with the Buckeyes winning four straight entering the Maui Invitational matchup. The pair last matched up on Nov. 6, 2019, when the Buckeyes beat the Bearcats by eight points at home.
  • There were no changes in Ohio State’s starting five, as Bruce Thornton, Sean McNeil, Isaac Likekele, Justice Sueing and Zed Key all started for the fifth straight time to start the season.
  • Eugene Brown (concussion protocol) missed his fifth straight game for Ohio State.
  • Ohio State has not lost to Cincinnati since the 1962 national championship game.
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