(Photo courtesy arm-chairrecruits)
OMAHA, Neb. — In the land of Warren Buffet new faces for a revamped Buckeyes team came marching in town and did what they were supposed to do – win – and did so against a Big East Team (oooooo!) with a program that is, well, quite respected, and often in the NCAA tournment.
C.J. Jackson took a cross-court pass from Keyshawn Woods and nailed the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:10 remaining on the clock, and eventually also making a “pretty” hook shot in the lane in the final minute. This solidified the victory for the Buckeyes as they held off a charging Bluejays team of Creighton to finalize the win with a 69-60 score after fumbling a double-digit halftime lead Thursday night.
Jackson prior to his moments towards the end of the game had been 0 for 7 from the field with five turnovers before coming up “nicely”. His two baskets would be the big plays of the game.
“We need him,” Woods said. “I told him to stay confident and that we needed him to come up big down the stretch, and that’s just what he did.”
Woods scored 15 of his game-high 19 points in the first half as the Buckeyes (3-0) got out to a 37-25 halftime lead, but Creighton (2-1) stormed back to take a four-point lead before fading and losing for the first time in 25 home non-conference games since December 2015.
Duane Washington Jr. added an additional 12 points for the Buckeyes, who clinched the Big Ten’s fifth win in eight-game Gavitt Tip off Games. The Big Ten and Big East went 4-4 against each other in the previous three Tip off Games.
A lot of credit to Creighton,” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said. “We knew they would come out and respond in the second half and, boy, did they ever.”
The Bluejays wiped out their halftime deficit and led 55-54 on Martin Krampelj’s tip-in with 5:40 left, and it was 60-56 when Mitch Ballock hit a 3 from the corner. Duane Washington, Jr. stood up and was accounted for a 3 of his own, and after Krampelj missed a free throw, Jackson made his 3 from in front of the Buckeyes’ bench. Kyle Young smacked a dunk for a four-point lead with a minute to play. This was all after Luther Muhammad swiped at the ball and it went out of bounds off Davion Mintz’s leg, Jackson swam beautifully through the lane to make his hook shot. Ty-Shon Alexander led the Bluejays with 16 points and Mintz had 12.
“Really the end of the first half and end of the second half, those were two areas where they were extremely efficient and we weren’t,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. “If you take away those 12 possessions, defensively we were really good.”
THE BROADER VIEW
Ohio State: Coach Holtmann is still in the midst of playing his best combinations – this all following the loss of three starters from last year. The Buckeyes, with this win, has now had two straight road wins … a truly important fact that needs to be mentioned, and against quality programs. The first road win was against Cincinnati last week.
THE KIDS ARE LOOKING GREAT
Ohio State got impressive performances from freshmen Washington, Luther Muhammad and Jaedon LeDee. The three combined to go 8 for 14 from the floor for 20 points with nine rebounds and three steals.
“Our freshmen are dogs,” Woods said. “They’re gritty, they love defense, they love to win.”
I personally have enjoyed watching Luther Muhammad thus far this season. I look forward to his maturing with the Scarlet and Gray. In this game against the Bluejays Muhammad scored “only” four points out of four shots (one of which was for a three (missed)). But his hustle, enthusiasm, and decision making is a noted strength – I feel – that can only serve him well.
Ohio State hosts South Carolina State on Sunday in the Buckeye Classic on Sunday the 18th @ 2:00 p.m. which we all can watch on BTN.