Buckeyes Roll in Exhibition Opener

The 2018-19 Ohio State men’s basketball team made their public debut on Thursday night and rolled to an 81-63 victory over division II North Carolina Pembroke. The Buckeyes got off to a fast start, jumping out to a 9-0 lead, led by Luther Muhammad’s quick 5.  By the under 8 timeout, the Buckeyes would lead 28-12, thanks to a trio of three point opportunities in the paint off high low action to Micah Potter. The Buckeyes continued their first half domination at both ends and went into the locker room at the break up 42-24. All eleven scholarship players saw action in the first half and freshman Luther Muhammad led the Buckeyes with 9, while Micah Potter and Kaleb Wesson added 8 each. The Buckeyes were particularly impressive on the glass, dominating the backboards to the tune of a 30-13 advantage.

The second half was more of the same as the Buckeyes continued to impose their will on both ends leading by as many as 30 before the starters sat for good.  Micah Potter led the Buckeyes with 13 and Kaleb Wesson added 12 to go along with 10 rebounds for a double-double. All 13 players on the roster saw action with 12 of the 13 entering the scoring column.  In addition to the pair in double figures, Luther Muhammed, Kyle Young and Jaedon Ledee added 9 apiece and CJ Jackson chipped in 8. Ledee also added 7 rebounds as the Buckeyes dominated the glass the entire 40 minutes, holding a 56-35 advantage over the Braves, including 21 of the offensive variety. The Buckeyes shot 44% from the field, including just 5-25 from long range and bagged 22 of 32 from the stripe.  It was not all sunshine and roses for the Buckeyes who in addition to not shooting it from deep particularly well turned it over 21 times.  That can be somewhat expected as Coach Chris Holtmann played several different combinations throughout the course of the game which is typical in a game like this.

It was a solid start for Holtmann’s bunch and the young freshmen, in particular Muhammad, Duane Washington and LeDee look to be factors and key contributors for the basketball team this year. In a starting lineup that’s subject to change, Holtmann went with C.J. Jackson at the point, Muhammad at the 2, Andre Wesson at the 3 and Kyle Young and Kaleb Wesson along the front line. First off the bench were Potter, Washington and Keyshawn Woods but with the first official game next week, all of that could certainly be a fluid situation.  Before the game, Ohio State honored former head coach Eldon Miller, who is a volunteer assistant for Pembroke under his son Ben.  Several of his players were on hand to celebrate the occasion including broadcaster Ron Stokes and the elder Wesson, Keith.

The Buckeyes will get it rolling for real in Cincinnati against the Bearcats next Wednesday evening at 6pm on ESPN2.

Jason Harris

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