Justice Sueing was a man possessed in Maui.
|#21 TEXAS TECH||37||36||73|
A career-best day for the Hawaii native allowed the Buckeyes to take fifth place in the Maui Invitational with an 80-73 win over No. 21 Texas Tech, finishing the trip with a 2-1 record and their first ranked win of the year.
A hot start for the Buckeyes gave them a double-digit lead a little over seven minutes into the action, and Ohio State led for 17:03 of the first half. The Red Raiders kept things competitive throughout, but the Buckeyes stayed out in front as Sueing dominated on offense and turned it up another notch late.
Ohio State never trailed in the second half, and Sueing finished with a career-high 33 points. The sixth-year forward scored 23 points in the second half alone. His previous high in a Buckeye uniform was 22.
It was all Ohio State through the first 10 minutes of action. Sueing scored the first six points for the Buckeyes, and Sean McNeil scored the next nine straight. By the 11:46 mark, back-to-back Buckeye threes gave Ohio State a 23-10 lead on the heels of a 16-3 run.
|OHIO STATE||STAT||TEXAS TECH|
|27-52 (51.9%)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||28-55 (50.9%)|
|8-20 (40%)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||5-18 (27.8%)|
|18-18 (100%)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||12-13 (92.3%)|
The Red Raiders closed that gap quickly, though, scoring the next six points as part of a 20-13 stretch to end the half down four points.
In a high-paced half on offense, both teams hit better than 53% of their field goals and more than 38% of their 3-point attempts. Each squad had two scorers hit double-digits through the first 20 minutes, as Sueing and Brice Sensabaugh had 10 apiece for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State had the edge in rebounds (14-11), bench points (10-3) and points in the paint (16-2) by halftime, and turned the ball over three fewer times than the Red Raiders. The Buckeyes scored eight points on seven turnovers by Texas Tech.
Ohio State went right back to Sueing to start out the final period, as the 6-foot-7 forward scored the opening five points of the half to help the Buckeyes maintain a two-possession lead. Sueing dished to Bruce Thornton for an open 3-pointer at 15:40, and knocked down a triple of his own 1:40 later to give Ohio State a 52-41 lead.
But Texas Tech chipped away over the next couple minutes, keeping itself within six points by the under-12-minute media timeout. Oral Roberts transfer Kevin Obanor, who helped knock off Ohio State in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, had another big game against the Buckeyes to keep the Red Raiders afloat in the second half.
Obanor hit another shot at 7:10 to cut the Buckeye lead to floor amid a 6-0 stretch for Texas Tech, but Sueing countered once again. The Ohio State wing was fouled on a 3-point attempt on the next possession and knocked down all three free throws.
Ohio State called a timeout up five points with 1:58 to play, and a putback layup by Sueing on the offensive glass extended the Buckeyes’ lead to seven on the ensuing possession. That was part of a stretch in which Sueing scored 14 straight points for Ohio State.
Still a tight game in the final minute, free throws ultimately sealed the deal for the scarlet and gray.
- Ohio State started Maui Invitational play Monday with an 88-77 loss to No. 17 San Diego State, but bounced back Tuesday with an 81-53 blowout victory over Cincinnati.
- Texas Tech dropped its tournament opener to No. 10 Creighton, 76-65, but blew out Lousiville by 32 Tuesday.
- Red Raider forward Kevin Obanor, an Oral Roberts transfer, helped upset Ohio State as a No. 2 seed in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
- Ohio State made no changes to its starting five Wednesday, starting Bruce Thornton, Sean McNeil, Isaac Likekele, Justice Sueing and Zed Key for the sixth straight game.
- Sensabaugh is one of just three Ohio State freshmen since 1980 to score in double digits in six straight games to start his OSU career, joining Michael Redd (12 games in 1997) and Jim Jackson (7 games in 1989).
- Eugene Brown (concussion) missed his sixth straight game for Ohio State.
- Ohio State only had two previous meetings with the Red Raiders in program history, winning the most recent matchup, 77-71, in the 2004-05 season.