Entering the weekend, every Ohio State home game this season had ended with a Buckeye win of at least 20 points. That didn’t change on Saturday.
|#25 OHIO STATE||44||52||96|
In its first contest at the Schott since Nov. 16, No. 25 Ohio State treated fans in Columbus to a fourth blowout victory over a mid-major opponent as it ran laps around St. Francis in the second half to finish with a 96-59 win.
Ohio State moved the ball well to find a number of wide-open looks early, and the Buckeyes knocked most of them down amid a blazing hot shooting start. But the Bucks came back to earth after that, and St. Francis stemmed the tide with a stellar half shooting to stay within single digits by halftime.
However, the Buckeyes played sharper down the stretch and opened up a 26-point lead with 9:03 to play after a 14-0 run. Ohio State ran away with it from there behind a late 3-point barrage to improve to 6-2 on the season and get back into the win column after Wednesday’s loss to Duke.
The Buckeyes outscored St. Francis 52-23 in the second half, hit seven 3-pointers in the final 20 minutes and outrebounded the Red Flash 47-25. Brice Sensabaugh led the Buckeyes with 15 points, but five of his teammates scored at least 10 as well.
Coming off a career-high scoring performance against the Blue Devils, Zed Key kicked things off by posterizing a St. Francis defender with a one-handed dunk on the game’s first possession. That started a stretch in which the Buckeyes hit eight of their first 10 shots to take a 19-9 lead in the first five minutes and change.
Ohio State shot 8-for-21 the rest of the way, though, as St. Francis found opportunities to keep things competitive. The Buckeyes went up by as many as 16, but the Red Flash got within seven points of Ohio State by the 3:55 mark.
|OHIO STATE||STAT||ST. FRANCIS|
|35-69 (50.7%)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||24-59 (40.7%)|
|13-23 (56.5%)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||6-19 (31.6%)|
|13-18 (72.2%)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||5-7 (71.4%)|
The Buckeyes took a 44-36 lead into the locker room as they committed half as many turnovers and shot 10 more free throws than the Red Flash. But St. Francis knocked down 55.2% of its shots from the field and saw its top two scorers on the season – 6-foot-10 forward Josh Cohen and junior guard Maxwell Land – combine to put up 24 points.
Ohio State had five more assists in the first half against St. Francis than it had all game against Duke, and the Buckeye bench outscored the Red Flash reserves by eight points in the first 20 minutes.
Another Cohen field goal made it a six-point game to open the final frame, but Ohio State responded with a 7-0 burst to reclaim a double-digit edge by the 17:41 mark.
Then Key, who was quiet in the first half after his game-opening dunk, gave the Buckeyes a boost with four buckets in a row to extend the Ohio State advantage. With eight straight points by himself, Key gave the Buckeyes a 61-47 lead.
Ohio State embarked on a 14-0 run from 12:58 to 9:03, including five straight points from Felix Okpara in one stretch, to put the Buckeyes ahead by 26.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Brice Sensabaugh and Roddy Gayle Jr. gave Ohio State a 30-point lead, and the former converted a four-point play at 5:17 to extend it even further. Two possessions later, Kalen Etzler hit the first 3-pointer of his Buckeye career to keep the roll going.
Okpara even hit a 3-pointer with less than three minutes to go as every long-range shot seemed to fall for the Buckeyes late.
By game’s end, six Buckeyes finished with double-digit point totals, and four of them – Bruce Thronton, Sensabaugh, Okpara and Gayle – were true freshmen. Okpara and Gayle each scored 10 points in the second half alone, and the Buckeye bench outscored St. Francis 48-8 for the full game.
- Eugene Brown (concussion) missed his eighth straight game for the Buckeyes.
- Saturday’s matchup was just the second all-time meeting between Ohio State and St. Francis. The Buckeyes beat the Red Flash, 110-47, on Nov. 28, 2009.
- St. Francis sophomore Brandon Scanlon’s grandfather, Gary Milliken, was a member of Ohio State’s 1960 national championship team.
- Ohio State won its first games at the Schottenstein Center by an average of 28.7 points per contest.
- St. Francis's second-leading scorer, Maxwell Land, is a Cincinnati, Ohio, native and played high school basketball at Archbishop Moeller.
- Ohio State started the same five players for the eighth straight game: Bruce Thornton, Sean McNeil, Isaac Likekele, Justice Sueing and Zed Key.