Buckeyes Tame the Tigers, Move to 3-0
The Ohio State basketball Buckeyes improved to 3-0 on the young season, surviving a late surge by Texas Southern and defeating the Tigers 82-64. Despite playing without Freshman Kaleb Wesson, who was suspended by Chris Holtmann one game for being late to a couple team functions, the Buckeyes cruised to their third straight win to open the season. Keita Bates-Diop recorded his third straight double double, scoring 17 points and ripping down 12 boards to lead the Buckeyes. Chris Holtmann made a starting lineup change for this game, electing to bring 5th year senior guard Kam Williams off the bench and in his stead was young Freshman Musa Jallow and the move paid off. Jallow led the Buckeyes in the first half with 10 points and five rebounds, helping his teammates go into the locker room with a 42-29 lead after the first 20 minutes.
The Buckeyes jumped on Texas Southern early in the second half, extending the lead to as many as 18 early before they seemed to relax a bit and after an 8-0 Tiger run, the lead was just nine heading into the under 12 minute media timeout.. The Buckeyes seemed out of sorts all of sudden on offense as the Tigers extended pressure to midcourt and got Ohio State, who looked very good most of the night carving up the zone defense, out of sync. After Bates-Diop drilled a three to get the lead back to 12, the Tigers once again responded. This time it was a 12-2 run cutting the lead to just two with a little over five minutes to play. That’s when the Buckeyes settled down and collected themselves and finally regained control of the basketball game. Micah Potter who scored seven of the 13 during the run led a 13-0 run over the next 2+ minutes and the game essentially was over. For the game, Potter scored 17 points and pulled down four boards while going 9-10 from the stripe and possibly playing his best game as a Buckeye. Jae’Sean Tate added 17 points as well to go along with 7 rips. Musa Jallow added 13 and 6 for the winning Buckeyes. C.J. Jackson, who had a dismal night shooting the basketball, hitting on just two of 13 from the floor including 1-9 from deep, did contribute nine assists to the winning cause. Texas Southern was playing without leading scorer Demontrae Jefferson was led on the night by Donte Clark who scored 17 points in the loss.
The Buckeyes certainly showed improvement against a team that will win its share of games this season. They moved the basketball quick and fluidly and got to the open spots in the zone. The key to beating a zone defense is quick passing and ball reversals and I thought the Buckeyes were superb at that tonight. Also a big step forward in the development of young freshman Musa Jallow, who not only adds athleticism on the floor, he adds length on the perimeter on the defensive end and provides the Buckeyes an explosiveness that they don’t get from Kam Williams. So now, there is one more tune-up prior to heading west to play in the PK80 tournament in Oregon where the level of competition rises significantly. So far, I like the progression of this young group led by Tate and Bates-Diop. If they can continue to have Potter and Jallow play like they did tonight and get Kaleb Wesson back, they have a chance to compete on most nights. If anything, they play a fun brand of basketball to watch and it will be interesting to watch them grow and mature as a basketball team.
Ohio State plays again on Sunday when they host Northeastern at the Schott. Game time set for 2:00 pm.
– Jason Harris