COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State University’s Men’s Basketball team started a tad-slow Tuesday night, primarily in the first half against Youngstown State, appearing to be heading for a chaotic end. But then the Nation’s 15th ranked Buckeyes pulled-it-together, getting back into the focus of matters-at-hand – specifically getting the ball inside to Kaleb Wesson.
The 6-foot-9 sophomore took control from there – the second half, that is, scoring 26 of his career-high 31 – rallying the Buckeyes to a 75-56 rout of the Penguins in Columbus on Tuesday night.
“When you got a guy like Kaleb Wesson, he’s a load,” Youngstown State coach Jerrod Calhoun said. “I think he makes the game easier for coach (Chris) Holtmann and the other four players who are out there playing with him. He’s a monster.”
The Buckeyes (10-1, 2-0 Big Ten) did shoot horribly in the first half and again were forced to rally against an opponent they should have dealt with early on.
The Ohio State University team made a mere 7 of 29 shots from the floor in the first half (24.1 percent) and trailed 25-22 by intermission before Wesson and his teammates got themselves together offensively. The game stayed close in the first half only because Youngstown State didn’t shoot much better.
“We had some good looks, but I don’t think we imposed ourselves offensively in the first half,” Holtmann said.
Wesson, hustling grandly, had a put-back to give the Buckeyes the lead three minutes into the second half – thus enabling then to roll on from that point – shooting 70.4 percent following the break.
Luther Muhammad and C.J. Jackson each had 11 points for the Buckeyes, now a winner of three in a row, after losing their only game of the season back on the 28th of November. Nov. 28.
Darius Quisenberry had 17 points, and Naz Bohannon added 11 for the Penguins (5-9), who have lost five of their last six.
The Penguins shot a lonely and dismal 36.4 percent for the game.
UNDER THE MICROSCOPE:
Youngstown State: The Penguins did take benefit to the fact that the Buckeyes poor shooting to start-off, helped in a premonition of hope – something a team should do …. But, and a blow of relief here, that faltered once Wesson came “into” the game and the Buckeyes started scoring in the second.
“That was as an efficient a half as I’ve seen,” Calhoun said. “We just had no answer.”
Ohio State: After nearly a trash-fire against Bucknell on Saturday, the Buckeyes took another opponent “way” too lightly and were getting (for the lack of a better word) “educated” for it. I see a talented team making too many mistakes against less-talented teams. Coach Holtmann has got to get those reins and yank them in. Everyone that the Buckeyes square up against needs, and deserves, full attention.
“We really have a long way to go, and I’m certainly concerned,” said Holtmann, who blamed it on a lack of maturity.
I don’t know if I agree with that … even immaturity can be “handled”.
“At halftime the older guys, the leader’s kind of got into us, saying we weren’t playing with a purpose,” Wesson said. “We were out there playing possessions just to play, because we had to.”
A STAR ON THE RISE:
Wesson recorded career highs in scoring in each of the past two games. He had 22 in the 73-71 win over Bucknell on Saturday.
But he only had five in the first half Tuesday and sat out for a good spat of time with two fouls.
“I had to regain my focus, and I had to get chewed out a couple of times (at the half),” he said. “It’s not something I expect to happen, but sometimes when you get chewed out, it just lights something in you. I feel like when that happened to me, I had to step up.”
CHRISTMAS GIFT LIST:
Wesson’s older brother Andre, an Ohio State forward, lost two teeth and chipped another on Saturday when a Bucknell player fell on him and his face made hard contact with the court.
Andre Wesson is scheduled to have dental work on Wednesday, but started against Youngstown State, picking up four points and five rebounds.
Ohio State: At UCLA on Saturday the 22nd.