Buckeyes survive upset-minded Ohio
Columbus, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - No. 10 Ohio State knew it had a tough game on the horizon -- Saturday's visit to 17th-ranked Marquette.
Its first test this season came earlier than that.
Aaron Craft had 18 points, Amir Williams scored 14 and the Buckeyes beat Ohio 79-69 on Tuesday.
The Bobcats were within 65-60 with under four minutes to play after Maurice Ndour's putback, but the Buckeyes held on.
Lenzelle Smith Jr. made a 3-pointer to give Ohio State (2-0) a 74-64 lead with 1:55 remaining, all but sealing the win.
Smith was lucky to get the ball in the right corner. Fellow guard Shannon Scott lost control of it under the basket and it floated right to him.
"Down the stretch we made some big plays," said Ohio State coach Thad Matta. "I was happy with the things we did right."
Sam Thompson had 12 points and LaQuinton Ross scored 10 for the Buckeyes, who beat Morgan State 89-50 on Saturday to open the season.
Nick Kellogg and Stevie Taylor scored 21 apiece to lead the Bobcats (1-1), who opened with a 75-64 win over Northern Iowa on Saturday.
The Buckeyes held Ohio scoreless for the first 5:31 to take a 9-0 lead. They were outshot 44.4 percent to 40.9 in the game, but went 38-of-51 on free throws.
"They got into the lane so many times, especially early in the game. It got a lot of our key guys in foul trouble," said Ohio coach Jim Christian.
Five Bobcats players fouled out of the game.
"You have to be able to play people," said Christian. "This is why we play this game and the same reason why we played Northern Iowa and the same reason why Valparaiso is up next. We wanted to play three really good teams and see what do we have correct, what do we have to get better at and what do we have to learn. We learned some things about ourselves today, no question about it."
Ohio State's lead reached 16 points in the first half after a 13-1 run and was 40-28 at halftime.
Ndour's offensive rebound and putback to get the Bobcats within five came at the end of a 7-1 burst.
"Towards the end of the game we couldn't really take any plays off because each possession became that much more important," said Craft.
The teams combined for 15 assists on 42 baskets ... Ndour had 10 points for Ohio ... Ohio State leads the all-time series with Ohio 18-4 ... The Buckeyes had lost the most recent meeting in the 1994 preseason NIT ... The Buckeyes improved to 228-75 all-time against Ohio schools and 53-13 vs. teams from the Mid-American Conference ... Ohio plays at Valparaiso on Sunday.
11/12 23:41:50 ET